“My brain is like the Bermuda Triangle…information goes in and then it’s never found again.” I don’t remember who said that, but with a little bit of performance support, I would.
Performance support is the immediate help given to someone, when they need it the most. In an organization, performance support includes providing employees with the knowledge they need to complete a particular task, exactly at the time of need. It is not full-fledged training or learning; rather, it is snippets or chunks of useful information that employees can access to help them complete the task at hand. This “information” or “knowledge,” is provided by the organization via a performance support tool.
One of the most versatile performance support tools available today is the mobile device. Mobile devices are already being used by some organizations to provide mobile learning (mlearning). However, unlike mlearning that has not taken off as quickly as anticipated, performance support via mobile devices – also known as mobile performance support – is popular and has proved its worth.
Here are 5 reasons we believe that a mobile device is performance support’s new best friend.
#1 Almost everyone owns a mobile device: It’s as simple as that; and what better way to provide support to employees than on their own personal devices. Because employees are already familiar with how to access information on their devices, providing performance support on them will cut down the time taken to access information – drastically.
#2 Faster Internet Speeds: Fast internet speeds give employees access to information, quicker than ever before. 80% of adult internet users own a smartphone, and 47% own a tablet; and with high speed internet connections available on mobile devices, the number of mobile internet users has almost reached that of PC/laptop internet users.
#3 The perfect device to access bite-sized chunks of information: Performance support is not about conducting a complete training program. Rather, it is about providing bite-sized bits of relevant information to carry out vital tasks effectively. Small chunks of information fit easily and compactly within the small screen sizes of mobile devices, making it easy to read. Even a simple text message containing valid information can provide performance support.
#4 It’s easy to update content on mobile devices: No longer do employees need to wade through loads of content – today content curation makes it ridiculously easy for employees to quickly find what they are looking for. There is always a danger of training going out of date, but information on mobile devices can be updated easily, as and when needed, ensuring employees are privy to the latest and most relevant information at all times.
#5 Mobile devices are convenient and user friendly: The success of performance support directly depends on how convenient and how user friendly the performance support tool is. The tool has to be easier to carry around than a dozen files – or books – or even a heavy sheaf of papers. It should also be easy to use, navigate around, and access. The mobile device fits the bill perfectly.
If we all had the ability to retain all of the information that we absorbed, we wouldn’t need performance support. According to an article by the University of Waterloo, 70-80% of a one-hour lecture can be lost by day 2 of training, leaving only 2-3% of the original training available for recall after 30 days! This does not mean that training is unimportant; nor does it mean that an organization must choose between training and performance support. There are several tools out there to get employees to perform better – but mobile devices are performance support’s new best friend.