Performance Support is information that can help a user perform a task and it may be referenced while the task is being performed or about to be performed. Training on the other hand, is provided in preparation for a future task that needs to be performed and is usually not designed to be referenced while performing a task. Performance Support can be accessed when required, on-demand, in support of performing a task or just-in-time of need and it can its sequence may be controlled by the person performing a task.
Performance Support is increasingly becoming a necessity since it is not humanly possible to commit the information from an extensive training to memory, particularly for complex job-tasks in today’s workplace nor it is possible to provide prior training on each task or skill. Mobile performance support systems can help an organization reduce training costs while increasing productivity and performance at the same time.
What is Mobile Performance Support?
In today’s times, mobile devices, tablets and smart phones have made Performance Support more practical and effective. Mobile touch and voice-based user interfaces make access to information readily accessible while working on a task that may be performed while sitting, standing, walking, driving, etc.
For example, a GPS provides step-by-step and concise guidance on how to get from point A to point B. Smart phones and tablets are portable devices that have high resolution screens to present graphics, text, audio, and video based content. Since the screen size is smaller than a desktop, these devices make an ideal platform for delivering concise, step-by-step information.
Newer devices such as Google Glass provide a hands-free access to information needed to perform a task and have the potential to revolutionize performance support technology in many fields.
Jason Haag says, “Mobile learning should not be merely viewed as a replacement, an alternative, or as a new addition to existing training delivery methods. It should be thought of as a complimentary way to augment or enhance all types of learning.”
Some popular types of Mobile Performance Support
Performance support content should be easily accessible and concise (remove extraneous information). Mobile devices are a great medium for delivery of performance support in academic as well as corporate sectors, where information can be accessed quickly and the task completed. The most common types of mobile Performance Support are job aids, FAQ’s, small tutorials, chat apps, and demos. Mobile devices can support Performance Support in many formats such as HTML5, PDF, Audio, Video, text message or native mobile app. Instancy Authoring Tools may be used to create web and mobile performance support content and reuse elements of eLearning content for performance support.
When technology is combined with information, content can be delivered when and where it is needed via job aids. Short text messaging (SMS) and apps can be used to send tips and knowledge checks. The availability of mentors via mobile devices is yet another form of Mobile Performance Support.
Many football players use iPads to share game play videos and demonstrate tactics used in the game. These chunks of content can be delivered at any time day or night. Supporting apps enable players and coaches to highlight areas, ring players, and also write notes on screen.
Mobile Performance Support has been used for maintenance procedures so that maintenance technicians are able to access and complete Maintenance Procedure Cards (MPCs) on a hand-held device.
Just-in-time performance support and coaching are highly popular in the fields of healthcare and medicine. Job aids and reference tools for nurses, doctors, and other healthcare workers are widely used today.
Performance Support can complement eLearning and in many cases it can displace need for formal training. A shift is underway in favor of performance support. Performance support offers critical information at any time, to enable an individual to make better informed decisions and reduce errors in performing tasks. Performance analysts, information designers, knowledge-management system architects and mobile app developers have a great new opportunity to harness the full potential of performance support technology to help improve the productivity while dramatically reduce the time and cost of training.