What is performance support?

Performance support can essentially be defined as giving your training programs a hands-on personal trainer to achieve business results. Smart organizations have discovered that they can complement and amplify their investments in training by offering their employees support to perform successfully on the job. Performance support enables learning at the time of need by embedding learning into the context of an individual’s work to help solve a specific business problem.


The complexities of the world today have made knowledge intensity a part of our daily working reality. Employees need access to continually evolving, just in time tools and on-demand information in order to do their jobs well. This means that the line between working and learning is disappearing. Business demands that employees can execute in increasing ambiguity and execute quickly.


Drawing from a favourite quote of Seymour Papert, “You can’t teach people everything they need to know. The best you can do is position them where they can find what they need to know, when they need to know it.


Effective performance support gives employees access to information to apply a skill, solve a problem or understand how to adapt to a new practice related to their performance. The information is accessible at the employee’s point of need and only requires a short amount of time for the individual to refer to the materials needed to get their work done. Whereas traditional training focuses on learning a new skill or knowledge, the goal of performance support is to accomplish a specific business task.

Four components of successful performance support:

1. Easily accessible:

Performance support learning materials need to be convenient and readily accessible in the time of need. You need to give your employees small, timely learning when they need it. We recommend creating an on-demand activity bank of digital learning content that they can access on their own, across various topics and roles.


2. Enjoyable experience:

Your employee experience is important for any learning initiative. Performance support content needs to be engaging in order to be effective. Create small bite-sized content that is quick to complete and designed beautifully to ensure you capture employee attention and inspire action.


3. Relevant and personalized:

Ensure the materials are relevant and personalized to each individual’s role and job needs. The problem with modular learning in large content repositories is that they can be hard to navigate, have content that is too general and drastically decrease the effectiveness of learning initiatives by leaving employees feeling disconnected from the material. To overcome this challenge, update your content regularly and ensure your learning materials are easy to navigate and applicable to the individual’s needs.


4. Achieve business results:

To ensure your performance support is impactful you need to design learning objectives that achieve business goals. Successful performance support identifies learning outcomes that are tied to bottom line business results, such as tying customer service training outcomes to sales results. After all, the goal of performance support is to get work done.



To summarize, performance support will help increase your business strength by providing your employees with the assistance they need, when they need it to perform successfully in their roles. Talk to us to learn how you can supercharge your training by implementing performance support strategies.


How have you utilized performance support for your organization? Tell us what has worked (or not worked) for you in the comments below.


This is part 1 of a 2 part blog series. Subscribe to our blog to get our next post on elearning for performance support delivered right to your inbox!

Mitchelle Boyle

Digital Marketing Specialist at Learnkit
Learnkit works with industry leading businesses and top academic institutions to create innovative custom elearning that delivers measurable, real world results
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