Why Performance Support: 4 Observations About How People Learn

Modern learning must keep up with current and ever-changing learning habits. In addition to traditional eLearning courses, organizations are incorporating nontraditional learning—like performance support, mobile, and more. Performance support especially is a valuable way to provide employees with the information they need in the time of need.

Take a look at 4 observations that Jane Hart, Founder of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies, has noticed about how people learn. This content is an excerpt from the Performance Support: Insights From Jane Hart eBook—to read more, download the full eBook.

  1. On demand

When people are faced with learning or performance problems, they tend to look for quick and easy on-demand solutions, which they 
can just pull down as required. Rather than accessing a package of eLearning courses, as we tend to provide and push down to people in the corporate world, people prefer to pick out things as and when they need them. They’re moving away from the push down, packaged up approach and toward the on-demand pull approach.

  1. In short bursts

The time spent on learning is shortening. Learning is happening in short bursts. People tend to have brief interactions with one another and their social networks—as well as make use of small, snackable pieces of content. Jane says, “In fact, research shows that the average viewer’s attention span for videos on YouTube is just 63 seconds. In other words, people get what they want or need from the resource and then leave it. And in fact, if it doesn’t deliver what they want in the first few seconds, they leave very quickly too.”

People are avoiding long, drawn out courses that take time to work through. Or if they do actually access the courses, they choose the bits they want—they just dip in and out, get what they want, and leave. Their habits are changing from a long, sequential, linear approach to short bursts of learning.

  1. On all kinds of devices

Individuals are also making much more use of a variety of devices, smartphones, and tablets to access resources or interact with people. “The 2015 Internet Trends Report, which was produced by Mary Meeker, which is quite an influential report,” says Jane, “Showed that people are now spending something like 2.8 hours a day accessing data from their mobile devices with only 2.4 hours a day using a desktop.” Mobile use is now far exceeding, or beginning to exceed, laptop use of the Internet.

  1. In the flow of work

Jane also noticed that learning is taking place a lot in the workflow, as people do their jobs. Traditionally, people stepped out of the workflow only to go to a classroom or use a platform for training. Now, they’ll only do that if it’s absolutely necessary. Jane says, “What they want to do is find what they want when they need it, as they’re doing their jobs, and then just get on with their jobs. They don’t want to spend time adding to the workflow unless they need to.”

For more information on the value of performance support, along with sample resources, download the Performance Support: Insights From Jane Hart eBook by Trivantis®.