Clark Quinn's diagram how performance support is seen differently by L&D and the performer (click for the complete article)

Clark Quinn’s diagram how performance support is seen differently by L&D and the performer (click for the complete article)

Earlier today I wrote about how the word “training” (replacing “learning”) was back in style in L&D. Clark Quinn (a.k.a. @Quinnovator) then asked the question whether performance support was now considered training. My knee-jerk reaction was, “Hell no.” But then I thought how performance support is, or at least should be, a role for L&D. Whether it’s seen as formal or informal depends on the individual’s perspective (Clark’s excellent post on this topic is here > Reconciling Formal and Informal). And in this context, I find Clark’s question all that much more interesting.

That now brings me to the intersection of this topic and the concept espoused by Jay Cross, that perhaps a better way to look at formal versus informal learning is to consider whether it’s being pushed by trainers or pulled by those who need to learn something. Training is push and learning is pull. With this lens, the perspectives of L&D and the performer align: performance support products and tools may be created by L&D for the performers, but it’s the performers who draw on them, pulling them when needed.

Thinking then about the 70-20-10 construct where 10% of an individual’s learning results from formal training, performance support is clearly NOT in that bin and therefore must fit into one or both of the others. I suspect most will say it clearly fits into the 70% that is experiential learning – learning when needed at the time of need in the context of work (a.k.a. performance support). I’m not so sure.

I’ve come to understand a great many people think of performance support in terms of job aids or Electronic Performance Support Systems (EPSS). These would fall into experiential learning (70%), even though they may have been produced by the L&D organization. But what about communities of individuals who’ve gone through similar training and can now support one another where it’s needed, when it’s needed, and in the context of work? That’s something some of us in L&D are trying to accomplish using social media, and it reeks of performance support to me. In my opinion, at least some of that falls into the 20% bin that represents feedback and coaching.

Clark and I agree performance support falls outside the 10% that represents an individual’s formal training. I’ll let him weigh in on where he sees performance support falling, but as I described above, I think it’s both mentoring and coaching (20%) and experiential (70%). In the end, it may not matter as long as we actually DO something as an industry about performance support and stop talking about it. I’d still like to hear your opinion on this.

Thanks for reading!


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