Adopting a Performance Support Mindset: Defining your PS Strategy

In my first article of the Performance Support series, I suggested that the way that people are learning has changed. Gone are the days of learners having the ability to take off of work to attend multi-day training sessions. We’re now in an era of instant gratification where learners are finding content in a quick video or 160 character tweet. This means as learning practitioners we have to move towards a more performance support based mindset that emphasizes giving learners the right amount of support, complexity, and detail right at the time when they need it most.

Adopting Performance Support is not going to happen overnight, its a long journey that can take years to implement within your organization.


Creating a Performance Support Strategy

After attending the eLearning Guild’s Performance Support Symposium in 2015, I was all fired up and ready to start implementing it within my organization. I learned very quickly that this would not be an easy feat.

I knew that I had to start somewhere so I started to break things down into smaller steps. Before I knew it I had developed an entire strategy around Performance Support.

Below are just a few items to consider when starting to implement performance support:

Creating a PS Strategy

Business Objectives

Its very likely that performance support is a new concept that you will be introducing to your organization. In any case, you will need to relate it to your businesses overall objectives and goals.

Some questions to consider might include:

  • What problem is the organization trying to solve?
  • Whats the overall goal?
  • How does PS help you reach that goal?



Performing an audience or learner analysis is one of the most important steps a learning practitioner can take. It will give you a better idea of your learner’s background (education, demographics, skills, etc) and allow you to shape your message in a way that resonates with them.

Some questions to consider might include:

  • Who is the audience?
  • What are their needs?
  • What do they know?
  • What do they need to know?
  • What tasks do they have to do to perform?



Getting stakeholder buy-in within organizations is a gift! I was fortunate enough to have a wonderful mentor at The Predictive Index who could truly get anyone behind her ideas.

Some items to identify include:

  • Who are the stakeholders?
  • How involved will they be?
  • How do you plan to get their buy-in?



Next, you will need to think about who your subject matter experts are and how you’ll be working with them.


  • Who are the SMEs?
  • How often will you be interacting with them?
  • How will you be meeting with them?
  • Will they be reviewing content?



We all know that content is king! You should begin to think not only about the content you will be creating but also any historic content that you may be using.

Think about:

  • What type of historic content will you be dealing with?
  • What type of content will you be creating?
  • How will learners get access to the content?
  • How will you keep track of your learning content?



Now that you have a better idea of the content you will be creating, it’s time to think about the design and development process you may be using.


  • What is your workflow for creating content?
  • Will you have reviews?
  • How will you deal with change management?



Technology not only impacts your development process but it can also impact how your learners as well.


  • What type of technology will your learners have?
  • What type of expertise do your learners have with technology?
  • What type of tools will you be using?
  • Do you have to purchase any new tools?



I know many training programs that have failed because they never identified what success looks like. This will vary across organizations based on the businesses larger goals and objectives. Be sure to identify success at the beginning of your project, this will help to prove it’s worth over time:

  • What does success look like?
  • What types of evaluation will you use to measure your performance support?
  • What type of metrics will you gather?

Again, the above list are recommendations on how to get started with performance support within your organization. Remember, every company is different! You may have a variety of things you might have to consider that I haven’t mentioned. But this list should help you hit the ground running!

Ready to learn more?

Check out my Adopting the Performance Support Mindset session this month at Learning Solutions.


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