As learning & development professionals in your organization, you’re the one responsible for fostering the best employee outcomes possible. You’ve done thorough research, you’ve designed and authored a great training program, you’ve decided which delivery formats to use, you get it approved by the content experts, and now it’s time to deliver the training course. The training program is delivered exactly as you imagined, and these learners are perfectly capable of rocking out with their new learned skills.
Finally, you can take a deep breath and for a moment, revel in the success. Your learners are moving on to become productive and profitable employees- aren’t they?
During the transition between completing training and putting new skills to work, your learners are swiftly forgetting what they learned- and now they’re on their own. According to an article from Learner’s Solution Magazine, your learners lose 70 percent of what they’ve acquired in the first 24 hours, and by one week they’ve forgotten nearly 90 percent!
This transition period in the employment cycle is well-known as the “skills gap” and is a source of angst for many leaders. Due to the training retention rate, a well-prepared learner quickly becomes an unproductive (and expensive) employee.
Despite these staggering statistics, there is a way to preserve the knowledge developed during initial training and, as many of you know, it's called performance support.
Training and performance support are two different animals. They are required by learners during different moments of need, and they serve different purposes altogether. Training and performance support are meant to complement each other, as success is determinate on both.
The table below describes some of the key qualities of training and performance support.
Performance support isn’t new, and, in fact, we use it in our lives every day. Take, for example, my role as a mom of my 4-year-old son. I walk into his room to wake him in the morning and notice he’s burning up. I check his symptoms and learn his throat hurts, and he has a rash on his stomach; now what’s my next move?
As a mother, I need to decide if I take him to the doctor. But how do I do that? Thanks to today’s technology, I quickly enter his symptoms into my WebMD mobile app and investigate by searching the web, until I come up with a recommendation on what to do. From here, I have a good idea of the illness my son is experiencing, and whether or not I need to take him in.
Thanks to the easy-to-access mobile app and the instant searchability of the world wide web on my mobile device, I was able to identify quickly a solution to the problem I was facing. This is performance support as it happens in our daily lives.
Imagine your employees being able to access your organizations’ training information in the same fashion on a mobile app or online, instead of printed binders or PDF files they can’t easily find?
Let’s take a simple example of how this could be applied at work. A copy repair woman is sent out to service an old model copier that has an ink leak. She arrives at the office with her tools and experience to assess the problem and aims to solve it. This copier is a model she’s never worked with, and this ink leak is unlike any she had ever seen before. She feels stuck and unsure how to fix it.
She opens up her phone and selects her Training Materials mobile app. The app contains all training materials she had during her initial training, coupled with the ease of search. She types in the copier make and model number, and, voilà, every bit of information about that machine is included, as well as any notes or highlights she made during training. Problem solved.
Performance support for employees greatly enhances the results of your training.
By offering your employees the ability to access their training materials anytime, anywhere you are giving them the power of easy recall. Just as we use search every day in our lives, enabling search to your materials for performance support/ongoing training is a beneficial way to find what you need, right when you need it.
Don’t let the skills gap trip up your employees! Provide them with the right performance support after training, and then they are sure to excel the way you envision.
Sources: “Brain Science: The Forgetting Curve-The Dirty Secret of Corporate Training” by Art Kohn, learningsolutionsmag.com.