Performance support tools (PSTs) are used by learning and development professionals to encourage “just-in-time” learning. These job aids are most often delivered as some form of content, though augmented reality and professional coaching are also becoming popular. Still, for most organizations, content is king when it comes to on-the-job learning.
In this post, I want to share types of performance support that learning professionals deliver. These don’t have to be developed by trained learning professionals, and don’t only support formal learning. Peer-to-peer and social learning is necessary in many professions, so organizations are investing in programs and technologies that allow anyone to create content that helps someone else excel at their job.
This is especially beneficial when employees work in dangerous or hazardous environments and accuracy is critical. Key performers know the right words to say, the order of operations, etc. and can be the ones best suited to create these tools.
Take a look at these three examples of content-based PSTs that anyone in your organization can make.
Infographics are highly visual, information driven storytelling. Most are eye-catching, easy to scan, and tell a story. But, you may wonder why you would tell a story using an infographic instead of text?
Research shows that visual information is more memorable and that 90% of information transmitted to our brain is visual. So, if presented with the same information in the form of both text and visuals, the brain will be more likely to retain the information communicated through the visual.
Now that’s a compelling reason to create a visual.
You may or may not have heard of microvideos. The term has been floating through professional learning communities as one of the biggest and latest trends in video learning. It may not be the most technically advanced of all learning experiences, but when done well it seems to be highly effective and accessible, making it an attractive option to deliver learning.
Last year, we hosted a guest blog post by eLearning professional Josh Cavalier, who defined a microvideo as a small collection of “micro moments” (i.e. thought, image, concept, or idea) delivered in a video that’s six to sixty seconds long.
These short, pointed videos leverage the viewer’s sensory and working memory without being cognitively demanding, making it a perfect option as an on-the-job support tool. And with video recording and editing tools like Camtasia, anyone who can operate a computer can make a video.
Most people at some point have layers of sticky notes on your desk or work station with tips and reminders about workflows, processes, or workarounds. Reference documentation, or a simple guide, can compile that information in a more organized, searchable way to help you and your coworkers be more successful with their everyday tasks.
Quick reference guides can be in the form of a SharePoint article, a PDF, a Word doc, or a printed handout, but the benefit is the same—the content quickly gives the learner what they need to keep working. For example, a technical writer is publishes new guides once or twice a year. A quick reference guide can quickly reinforce publish and printing parameters to ensure that the work is done as efficiently as possible across an entire team and that the quality of the printed piece is high with every update.
Check out these tips for making better looking visuals for your technical guide.
At the end of the day, so much of PSTs has to do with efficient and effective communication to increase productivity and quality at work.
So, whether your organization chooses to hire learning professionals to develop performance support tools or rely on your high performers to share their knowledge, consider the above tools as tried and true solutions.