Tag Archives: Information Management

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.

Emerging Technologies for Teaching and Learning – Quora.com

13 Jan

There are a number of emerging technologies for teaching and learning – blogs, wikis, twitter etc … However, one that has caught my eye recently is Quora.com

Quora works much like other social media tools such as twitter – in that people log on and add to the conversation. However, the twist with Quora is that the conversation is instigated by a question and people’s responses are answers to that question.

I think this twist makes Quora standout as both a teaching and learning tool. 

An instructor can post a question and a learner can respond. Other learners can read that answer and add their own take on the question. Clearly here is an opportunity to build a knowledge base and have a shared classroom experience online.

Check out Quora here:  http://www.quora.com/

New Employee Orientation

23 Dec

One of the first projects that I worked on at Fraser Health was developing new employee orientation material. Although material already existed through Human Resources, that material did not cover the technical issues that new employees may face when joining the company.

My challenge was to develop Information Management focused material that would speed up the on-boarding process, providing new employees with a checklist of “must haves” and “must do’s” as well as a more detailed “Getting Started” manual. To help the on-boarding process, it was suggested that a checklist should also be created for managers – e.g. what a manager should do prior to a new employee’s first day, what they should do on the first day, and what they should do at a later date.