Tag Archives: Formal learning

Making an Argument for Performance Support

5 Apr

I work within a department (Information Management) that deploys tools to fix problems. As an Education Consultant, my job is to ensure that the workforce have the skills/knowledge to use these newly deployed tools. And that usually means organizing formal training, typically held in a classroom or more recently as e-learning.

As we all know, formal training has been a mainstay of corporate training programs for years. But my recent experience of coaching Outlook users has made me think more about the value of performance support instead.

Prior to coaching, these Outlook users attend a formal one day training course on Outlook (my coaching session is offered as a follow-up to the course).

Interestingly, the coaching sessions often turn into something other than a review of the training course. Rather, the discussion between the user and myself tends to focus on how to use the tool more effectively in their job.

Over the coaching sessions, I’ve found that most users spend their time either in their Inbox or the Calendar. Depending on how they use the tool, I begin to explore solutions to their productivity problems (whether it is ebbing the flow of junk emails or finding the next available time for a meeting between Directors).

This approach, I regard as performance support in that I am trying to help the user solve a performance problem not study it. It is also rewarding for the user, as they have the opportunity to directly tackle their specific problems with the tool.

Of course there are pros and cons with this approach to training (especially in regards to cost and time), but I think performance support deserves further attention.

An account of how to be a performance support consultant can be found here:


Another great resource on performance support is Internet Time Alliance. I found this blog post by Harold Jarche particularly insightful.

Powerful example of integrating formal and informal learning

31 Jan

Here is a good video from the Learning Technologies 2012 Conference about integrating formal and informal learning (the video is a little long but stick with it):

I find the idea of integrating and informal learning together very powerful and the resulting engagement of learners is excellent.