Free briefing paper on Performance Support from Kineo

I have Kineo included in my RSS reader … and although they don’t post with great frequency, when they do – they’ve got something quite worthwhile.
Case in point … their Kineo Reports page has a free paper (pdf file) titled, When Learning becomes Performance Support.

“Okay,” I said to myself. “What could possibly be new in all of this – especially in a 9-page brief?”

Wrong questions!  Although there is nothing necessarily new, the authors make some very good (and dare I say ‘common sense’) observations …. just a few:

“In our experience, many organisations are simply renaming their learning management systems or knowledge resources as performance centres, rather than changing the way learning is integrated into the workplace.” (page 2)

“The simple fact is that many organisations have gone for a simple approach of renaming their learning management system a performance support centre. This obviously misses the point as they just become a repository for traditional learning interventions – a case of Emperor’s new clothes. (page 4)

This is what you get when sold a huge system that was marketed as better than sliced bread … at a hefty pricetag.  ‘Gee, since we spent so much money on this thing.’  Renaming or retitling an LMS doesn’t solve any problem (and there are many problems with having such an albatross) and it definitely isn’t performance support.

A big challenge is getting us Learning Design professionals (use “ISD-ers”) somehow at the table with other execs (especially those that control the purse strings) … not to advocate for another huge expenditure of cash on yet another enterprise-wide system that promises the world only to deliver a small patch of dandelions … but to engage in conversations about what truly is performance support and why it is in their best business interests to give it a go.

Here’s another quote that struck me …

“Any performance support must be based on the behaviours of high performing staff.  You have to try to identify and model the knowledge and behaviours which makes them such high performers. The performance support tools must therefore be designed to help close the performance gap or improve average performance.”    (page 5)

It hit me because it seems that the formal learning environments (those courses and classes and curricula that are dumped into the LMS) strive – at the best – to bring everyone down to average performance … lowest common denominator kinda thing …

It is unreasonable to expect anyone to sit through a 60 minute web-based training program – no matter how ‘interactive’ it claims to be – on any given topic and become expert performers as a result of the experience.  The best one can hope for is to become merely competent …

And if that is the best that can be achieved, then performance support should be on every CLO’s, CIO’s, CEO’s radar … again, we learning professionals have to make the case and get to the table … and do so in the business language that corporate leadership understands and responds to. 


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About Rory

I make my home in the central part of the Garden State along with my family. When I'm not working as an Instructional Designer (focusing mostly on Web-Based learning ... and other eLearning technologies) or researching something, I'm found at home playing computer or video games. Among other things, I volunteer as a choir member and catechist for 8th graders at my parish.
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