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Develop performance support tools

“What are performance support tools?”

“What are the benefits of performance support tools?”

“What best practices should learning designers follow when developing performance support tools?”

“What common mistakes should learning designers avoid when developing performance support tools?”


Have you ever completed a formal training or attended a seminar and then later realized that you had forgotten some vital information you just learned? Or maybe you were overloaded with information and it was difficult to grasp how to apply concepts to your job? Learning designers can develop performance support tools to aid learners in task completion by providing bite-sized nuggets of information in easily digestible formats. These on-the-spot tools can help individuals improve their productivity and performance anytime, anywhere.


Through this lesson, you should be able to develop a simple performance support tool.



What are performance support tools?


Performance support tools (PSTs) are digital or print-based resources that help learners apply key knowledge and skills to a given task in a moment of need. These just-in-time support tools are designed to make information readily accessible, helping individuals overcome challenges or achieve desired outcomes through bridging the gap between learning and application.


The choice of tool to develop depends on the needs of the learners, the nature of the tasks, and the circumstances within the organization.


While there are various performance support tools that organizations and individuals use, some common performance support tools include:



What are the benefits of performance support tools?


Performance support tools provide several benefits to organizations and individuals. Here are some key advantages:

  • Improved efficiency and productivity: PSTs improve efficiency and productivity in the workplace by offering learners simplified bits of information at the point of need. This reduces the amount of time individuals spend searching for information pivotal to a task.

  • Enhanced learning and training: These tools reinforce key concepts from previous formal training and serve as an ongoing guide as learners apply knowledge to tasks.

  • Reduced number of errors and mistakes: PSTs can help learners avoid common pitfalls often faced in the workplace, especially while working on complex or infrequent tasks.

  • Faster onboarding and skill acquisition: These tools minimize the learning gap for individuals new to a task, offering a positive jumpstart in their development to acquire the skills needed to complete a task.

  • Standardized work processes and procedures: PSTs create standardization to work processes and procedures, establishing consistent guidelines for completing a task.

  • Mobile and accessible training: Many of these self-paced, asynchronous learning tools are designed to be mobile and accessible, allowing individuals access to key information on the go anytime, anywhere.

  • Reduced budget costs: Instead of budgeting for lengthy, traditional training programs, learning designers can develop simple, cost-effective tools that focus on specific needs.


What best practices should learning designers follow when developing performance support tools?


When developing performance support tools, learning designers should consider the following best practices:


By adhering to these best practices, learning designers can develop performance support tools that are relevant, engaging, and flow with the current system, ultimately enhancing the learner’s overall performance and productivity.


What common mistakes should learning designers avoid when developing performance support tools?


When developing performance support tools, learning designers should avoid the following common mistakes:

  • Providing resources in a format that is hard for learners to locate information

  • Overloading learners with too much information

  • Including information that is not comprehensive enough

  • Limiting access to information or making it not readily available

  • Creating multimedia that does not adhere to key design principles

  • Implementing tools that do not flow with the current process or procedure

  • Failing to measure the overall effectiveness and impact of performance support tools

By avoiding these common mistakes, learning designers can develop performance support tools that make tasks easier for learners to complete.


Performance support tool practice project: Effective communication


For this practice project, you will develop a job aid that customer service representatives will reference to help them implement best practices for effective communication. Please complete the following:

  1. Use ChatGPT or a similar generative AI tool to generate a first draft of content and instruction for each section of your job aid. For instance, enter the following prompt in ChatGPT: “Act like an instructional designer. Write content for a job aid that customer service representatives will use to implement best practices for effective communication.”

  2. Review and revise the AI-generated content until it meets the needs of the intended learning audience (customer service representatives).

  3. Create a free account at Canva.com and select a template for a job aid / infographic.

  4. Copy and paste the content in the template. (Tip: With Canva, you can easily adjust the font, colors, and placement of text and images. Take this opportunity to become familiar with the many features of this easy-to-use tool.)


Summary and next steps


Performance support tools (PSTs) are digital or print-based resources that can significantly improve a learner’s ability to complete a given task. These on-demand tools are designed to assist in time of need and offer a number of benefits to organizations and individuals. When developing performance support tools, apply best practices and avoid common mistakes to ensure effectiveness. Ultimately, performance support tools deliver individuals and organizations the support they need toward the pathway to success.


Now that you are familiar with performance support tools, continue to the next lesson in LXD Factory’s Develop series: Gather client feedback.

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