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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Performance Support in 2015

The Big Question for May is Learning Technology 2015 – it asks what we expect workplace learning technologies to look like in 2015.  I definitely want to include Performance Support as part of the discussion. 

In a post on my CTO Blog, I talked about Match Performance Support,the performance support that goes along with many matching solutions such as in eHarmony. A lot of people miss that we are being tasked to do so many different kinds of things and are doing them infrequently so we basically are not very good at it.  Examples in matching were:

  • People to Projects
  • People to Jobs
  • Students to Tutors

In each of these, it has the classic characteristics that point to Performance Support:

  • Infrequent 
  • Complex
  • Important to get right

I would claim that as knowledge work becomes more complex and we move towards being concept workers, we are being asked to act like experts even though we aren’t experts.  See Does Deliberative Practice Lead to Quick Proficiency?

I think we are reaching a time when we are going to see an explosion of Performance Support.  You will get help when you:

  • Try to find the right project, start the project, perform the project, complete the project
  • Hire someone
  • Sell a house
  • Improve customer satisfaction (data driven).

This is going to first take the form of hundreds of thousands of different little applications that each provide performance support for particular tasks.  We are already seeing this in terms of lots of startups aimed at particular elements of knowledge work.  But these will be getting better.

I also think there’s a really interesting opportunity to create an online Performance Support builder that could make it easy to build out simple performance support tools.  Crowd source creation of the tools.  There’s a nice business there.

Anyone want to fund that business?

Let’s check back in five years and see how I did?

Please add your predictions to the big question.

Other posts (via eLearning Learning) on Performance Support:

  1. Performance Support- eLearning Technology, August 26, 2008
  2. About Declarative and Procedural Knowledge and the Expert-Novice Divide- ID Reflections, October 17, 2009
  3. Are Web 2.0 tools designed to support learning?- IDiot, January 27, 2009
  4. Harvesting Learning’s Fruit: A Downstream Training Investment- Living in Learning, September 4, 2009
  5. Conceptualizing the Performance Ecosystem- Learnlets, April 9, 2009
  6. 10 Strategies for Integrating Learning and Work (part 1), June 15, 2009
  7. Whatever Happened to Performance Support? — Informal Learning Blog, December 29, 2008
  8. A Better Learning to Performance Model and Job Aid, August 22, 2008
  9. Not by performance support alone, August 2, 2009
  10. Organizing for Performance Effectiveness, June 1, 2009
  11. Performance Support Lab - PS Links, July 11, 2009
  12. The Future of the Training Department, October 21, 2009
  13. Integrating Learning and Work, June 16, 2009
  14. It’s the performance, or, what every manager should know about Bob Mager, March 8, 2010
  15. Performer Support and the Moment of Change, September 18, 2009
  16. 7 Informal Learning Services for the Training Function, April 2, 2009
  17. The Science Behind Learning: Cognitive Tips and How Tos for Corporate Training, February 28, 2010
  18. On-job support is critical, December 19, 2008
  19. Upgrading - A PERFECT time for Performance Support, February 16, 2010
  20. Life Support Can Be Expensive- aLearning, March 27, 2010
  21. Work Context: The New Classroom- Living in Learning, March 22, 2010
  22. 21st Century Learning Strategies- Spark Your Interest, April 15, 2010
  23. PDR Design Model Supports Shift to Learning Design in the Work Context- Living in Learning, August 23, 2009
  24. When it's just so obvious NOT to train it's painful to watch it happen- Performance Learning Productivity, June 12, 2009
  25. New skills for learning professionals- Informal Learning, July 1, 2009
  26. Beyond the course- Learnlets, December 1, 2008
  27. Transfer of Learning - Theories and Implications- Designed for Learning, October 31, 2009
  28. Checklist of Social Learning Strategies- Engaged Learning, January 12, 2010
  29. Deeper Instructional Design- In the Middle of the Curve, November 13, 2008
  30. Scope of Learning Responsibility- The Learning Circuits Blog, March 3, 2008
  31. Pointing to the Five Moments of Learning Need- Integrated Learnings, July 25, 2009
  32. Content Organization Cheat Sheet- The eLearning Coach, November 30, 2009
  33. How not to train- Good Practice, July 28, 2009


Gary Wise said...

Tony, you're speaking to my passion when you go down the "performance support" road. Robbing a phrase from Sprint's VP of Training, Dave Fogelman - "PERFORMER SUPPORT" has me stoked about the future...and by 2015 it will have been here for several years. I like Dave's description of "performer support" versus the traditional perrformance support because it shifts the emphasis from the learning asset - to the learner [concept worker] in their work context. Learning and actual work are converging at an accelerating rate. Formal training does not have a prayer of keeping up. Embracing PS is a key success factor for learning in the future.

Those "little applications" you mentioned are the way of the future. I think our challenge is going to be managing our exploding stash of shrinking learning objects. I see tagging and other taxonomic metadata as critical to apply now so we wind up with a manageable content future. If I was a learning systems vendor, I'd rather be schlepping Electronic Performance Support Systems (EPSS) than LMSs. I'm convinced EPSS platforms and/or EPSS-like accessibility by learners in their moment of learning need have a big play in the future.

Tony Karrer said...

Gary - great points. I'm not really up to speed on the specific differences between performance support and performer support. I'd love to see Dave's description - any pointer to it?

Do you think this will really be an exploding stash of learning objects - or will it be an exploding stash of performer support objects?

Gary Wise said...

I'm hard-pressed to define the difference between a learning object from a performer support object (PSO) - because I'm not convinced it matters. Is it formal or informal learning? I won't go into my naming label rant on what "kind of learning" it is.

Not to cop out on an answer though, I think both are going to increase because the whole concept of re-use implies that even traditional linear "courses" can be comprised of dozens of objects to serve a formal linear learning option...and at the same time the "objects" could serve as PSOs directly accessed in an informal manner.

I don't think Dave Fogelman developed anything beyond his breakout presentation at
Learning 2008 where we sat on a Performance Support panel together with Disney and Bank of America.

The emphasis of performer support includes the traditional definition of performance support. I like performer support because the knee-jerk thoughts of job aids and quick reference materials from hard-copy to online falls short of what a true portfolio of performer support might include.

I lump job aids and such into performer support right along with social media, communities of practice, blogs like yours, social networking & bookmaring to human PS like mentoring and coaching.

For me [and I perceived Dave's emphasis] was not so much aimed at defining what performer support actually was so much as to whom it was directed....with the intent of driving performance.

It puts the learner as the focal point driven by moments of learning need within the work context. Some solutions are best suited through social media where others may be a simple as a laminated quick reference card hanging on a lanyard around the worker's neck with the employee ID. I feel it is more appropriate because it broadens the scope of the solution and is shaped by the needs of the learner...the performer.

jay said...

Performance Support is vital, and it's not just for infrequent events. Holistic designers always face the trade-off of stuffing knowledge into people's heads (training) or embedding it in the job (performance support). This is one reason I'm dropping "learning" for "working smarter." Also, performance support is becoming ubiquitous: bookmarks, tags, search, online help, and so forth are all performance support.

Patrick Kilby said...

Hi Tony, my name is Patrick Kilby and I am a masters of instructional design student with Walden University. I was directed to your blog and I have to say it's great to hear what may be coming in the future. I'm afraid I don't have any massive insights to add to your blog but I did want to say how important I think the matching applications will be in the future. I myself am a success story for Eharmony so I know how powerful these search functions can be. It would be incredible as a manager to be able to match people based on what they can do best without having to cross the HR red tape and fight with the information that we are and aren't supposed to know about our people. Keep up the good work!

Tony Karrer said...

Patrick - thanks for stopping by and commenting. Hope you will continue to do so. It's great to have exchanges around these things.

NABM 2011 Organizing Committee said...

The discussion on performance and performer support has provided some good insight in what will be required by employees in the future.

Regarding a statement made by Patrick K. on 5/16/2010: "It would be incredible as a manager to be able to match people based on what they can do best without having to cross the HR red tape and fight with the information that we are and aren't supposed to know about our people." Although I agree with this approach and potential for optimizing the human capital within an organization, I can also see the downside of this practice. The possible downside could be that employees are not challenged to learn something new if there is always someone available who has the exact talents needed to complete a project.