12 Types of Work-Based Performance Support Tools You Can Use Today

Plus Examples Of How To Get Started With Some Of Them

Mobile Strategy, Pedagogy and Learning, Research Comments (2)

The enterprise is seeing the great potential of mobile applications.

Companies are discovering how mobile and other new technologies can equip and support employees in new and creative ways and, ideally, improve the bottom line. In fact, a recent Gartner study stated the increased need is creating an insatiable demand for development capability as they said: “Demand for mobile enterprise apps will outstrip development capacity five to one.”

What is causing this demand? The tremendous versatility and a capability of performance support tools using mobile and other devices such as watches and glasses. And the integration with IoT presents even greater potential. Delivering information at the time of a need for employees during their workflow can be powerful and effective when using human-centered design and sound development skills.

There is a wide range of performance support tools and in the recent Float whitepaper, “The Rise of Work-based Performance Support Systems in the Digital Age.” It showed this diversity in a list developed by George R. Maughan. In his article, Electronic Performance Support Systems and Technological Literacy, he describes a dozen tools that can be implemented as effective performance support. This list, although published well before the technological tidal wave happening today, still provides a strong foundation for the different ways effective performance support can take place in today’s enterprise.

Performance Support Tools

Let’s look at some of these performances support tools and see how they can be delivered in mobile and hands-free approaches.

1. Cue Cards

Performance Support Tool

Source: Quizlet

This style can be effective. They typically use it as reinforcement training and can include flash card frameworks. Picture a sales representative that opens a flash card mobile application between sales calls and then tests themselves on key content they have learned in previous formal training. Game elements such as points, badges, and a leaderboard can be added to this application to increase engagement.

2. Explanations or Demonstrations

Some companies have created their own video libraries to share with employees. These videos are typically short and are not high in production value. The content is king and users can learn the information they need targeted bursts. In a collaborative approach, it can encourage employees to create their own videos and upload them to the library.

3. Coaches or Guides

Smart glasses can provide a new perspective on highly skilled tasks. For instance, surgeons are using smart glasses to train interns different techniques by allowing them to see the procedures from the surgeon’s eyes. Instead of a student standing across from the surgeon and watching the procedure upside down, they can watch on a monitor, even remotely.

4. Searchable Reference

It can complicate the process of onboarding a new employee and be frequently confusing. Companies are having success combining their onboarding information in one easily searchable application so new hires can navigate their way to a good first day on the job. HR documents, training modules, important contacts, checklists, and maps of company locations all can be included in a helpful application that makes a strong first impression on a new employee.

5. Checklist

Performance Support App

Source: Tenants In Action

This can be the first go to the application as there are many off-the-shelf products for consumers and the enterprise that provide mobile checklist applications. Checklists are a long-time performance support standard so the content most likely already exists. Safety inspectors, repair technicians, and even surgeons are using mobile checklists to enhance their work skills. See products like Wunderlist and Evernote for easily available applications that can be tailored for the enterprise.

6. Process Map

They can develop decisions trees for mobile applications so that users can solve problems with several touches towards a solution. For instance, if an HVAC technician was repairing a furnace, the application could ask him a series of questions about the circumstance before him to drill down to the most applicable solution.

7. Tips

Tips are ideal for mobile as they can be short and concise and appear on screens as small as a smart watch. Pertinent performance support tips can appear on device screens and smart glass field of vision to provide real-time tips even in augmented reality contexts. A building inspector could move around a location and receive information on her smart glasses from beacons placed around the facility.
Sales Performance Support

8. Assessments

Training has long used assessments to measure worker performance, and mobile is no exception. But, the variety of device affordances can provide new approaches to assessments by utilizing voice recognition or the camera to aid in the testing. No longer does testing have to be a long series of multiple choice questions. Ask a question and then have the user answer verbally. Or take a picture of the right response.

As you can see from some of the descriptions above, performance support is entering a new and vibrant age. Mobile devices and wearables are creating whole new delivery methods and learning possibilities to the worker on the move. What creative ways are you seeing mobile being used in the workplace? Share your ideas and examples in the comments below.


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Scott McCormick is a founding partner of Float. Building on more than 30 years of experience in training, eLearning, and mLearning efforts for Fortune 500 companies, Scott helps companies embrace new learning strategies and deliver results. Scott is in charge of client relationships with global leaders in healthcare, manufacturing, hospitality, and insurance, and is instrumental in building new business and contributing to Float’s thought leadership efforts. Scott is featured in Float’s latest book, “Mastering Mobile Learning,” available from Wiley and ASTD Press.

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On January 20, 2016
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2 Responses to 12 Types of Work-Based Performance Support Tools You Can Use Today

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