Just-In-Time Performance Support: Not Just What, But When

The Importance Of Just-In-Time Performance Support

As the balance shifts and learners get comfy in the driving seat for their own learning, it’s time to reconsider the L word itself. Is everything we deliver about learning as such? In Kineo’s Learning Insights 2018: This Time It’s Personal report, our interviewees consistently said that it isn’t. They’re focusing more and more on supporting performance and providing information or tools for a specific need at a particular moment in time.

Learning Insights 2018: This Time It’s Personal
Check the insight, real-life stories, challenges, and successes collected from interviews and a survey with 200 L&D leaders across the globe.

This is nothing new: in last year’s report we talked plenty about ‘resources, not courses’ and even then we acknowledged it had become something of a hackneyed phrase in L&D. The difference is just how frequently this occurred as a theme – whatever the business size, context, or sector. There’s a deep understanding that ‘learning’ is only one of the ways in which we must support employees. To be enabled, empowered, and ready to do one’s job, it’s likely that one will need and use a series of resources too. And—like social learning—this is just an extension of how we all work naturally anyway.

As one interviewee said:

If someone wants to do something like raise a purchase order, I just share my screen and show them how. They’ll get help when they need it, not six months later.”

It’s a natural reaction – I need to perform a task, I’ll look for the simplest way to find out how. The chances are the simplest way won’t be looking back at the notes I took in my training course six months ago. Nor will it be repeating a piece of eLearning, in the hope that “somewhere within that 20-minute course was the answer you needed.”

To me, learning should be a variety of different experiences provided by different kinds of technology.” – Virginia Hanchar, MediaCom

So – a performance support resource can be anything that’s accessible and applicable exactly when it’s needed. And if that’s going to be a large focus for our L&D offering, we’d better make sure the resources we produce are good! Our recent guide, The Micro Manual, looked at using a variety of media and formats—PDF, video, audio, slide decks—for different needs, depending on the content and context. In this situation asking your learners what they need really will pay dividends. At the point of need will they be on a desktop? Using their phones? Will they be able to hear an audio recording or a video? Is a checklist appropriate – and if so, are they likely to print it? Context is vital before you decide what’s going to be the most useful.

Along with the resources themselves comes an understanding of how job performance improves, and the need for on-the-job development. In some cases a ‘look-up’ resource is sufficient – in other cases it may not be suitable to look up help each time, so the skill needs to be practiced and embedded.

Performance support may also include allowing the time to embed a new skill, feedback from a colleague or manager, and a way of tracking progress. More than one of our interviewees talked extensively about the need for performance and development pathways with clearly marked assessment, review, or practice points along the way.

Don’t just send people on a course, or log into eLearning – while these can help develop knowledge only application can develop capability.”

If you want to learn more about the future of corporate learning, download the eBook Learning Insights 2018: This Time It’s Personal.