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Why You Should Start With Performance Support

The 70-20-10 model tells us that most of what we learn in our work life is not through courses, but by dealing with our daily assignments. Many organizations do very little or nothing to cover informal learning. In this article I will describe the benefits of doing so with help of Performance Support Tools, and how it can give learning a boost.

The 70-20-10 model was created by Morgan McCall and the Centre for Creative Leadership. The model describes how learning takes place in organizations. It shows that just 10% of what we learn comes from what is often our main focus, formal learning through courses. Either as traditional classroom education or as e-learnings.
As much as 70% of what we know was taught by doing. There are great examples of that both in and outside of our work. Take gamers for example, who has YouTube tutorials at the side of their gaming because they know they will need to get their questions answered quickly. Or think about the last time you learned something new at work. It is more likely that it came as a result of finding answers to a problem you ran into rather than something you learned during a course.


Some support is always helpful when things go sideways. Photo by Neil Thomas on Unsplash.

Why You Should Start With Performance Support

Performance Support Tools is teaching aids with the purpose of helping employees in their daily work, and in the very moment they need help. They are made to guide the employees through their assignments.

PST’s are easily available and often built into the workflow of those who need support, and therefore helps the organization to give the best support possible. It can also help to increase both the employee’s competence level and their rate of completed tasks.

Why Should Organizations Invest in Performance Support Tools?

We humans are more forgetful than we want to admit. If someone asks you what shirt you had on yesterday, you would most likely be able to answer that in the blink of an eye. To answer what shirt you had on three weeks ago is another thing. Below, you will find a diagram that shows Hermann Ebbinghaus forgetting curve. If the curve is correct, we forget up to 80% of what we learn in the course of 30 days – If the knowledge is not maintained.


We also know that a big source of knowledge at workplaces is courses. Most of what is taught by formal learning, which often is just held a few days every year, will be forgotten. So why is it that the way of learning that we invest the most time and money in?

In combination with forgetting what is not maintained, there is another problem – We distort our memories. Every time we try to remember something, we create a new impression of how it really was. We forget the details and come up with new ones to solve the problems or assignments we have in front of us. The consequences that the organization could face is that, with time, every co-worker has their own way of doing a task – and none of them correlates with what is decided.

How Do You Get Past This?

A great way to face this challenge is to mix formal with informal learning and offer a solution that treats “Learning as a continuum”. It is also important to be open for new ways of learning, e.g. to make it easier for new employees to quickly get started in a new organization. Think about how we search for knowledge outside of work, with Google as our best friend, in contrast to how you do it at your work place.

Also read: How to Prepare Your Workplace For Millennials

This is what you could do: 

  • Identify the parts of the formal learning that you want the learners to remember and use Performance Support Tools to empower the learning. 
  • Reuse parts from the formal learning and make them available after the course. By doing so, what was taught in the course can be refreshed when faced in real life. 
  • Design your PST so that it can be used individually – without the need of putting the knowledge in a context, as courses usually do. 
  • Make the PST available where it is needed to give as fast support as possible: built into a software, at areas with machine equipment, in a process map or behind a search function. 
  • Build process maps that describes work methods and with help connected to them that shows how the activities are done. 
  • Have in mind that the content will change. Make it easy to edit and update the learning material when needed. In that way, the content will always be relevant and have good quality.  

By doing this, you can reduce the costs of the formal learning, as well as increasing both the productivity and quality of the work that is done. With the help of great solutions for Performance Support, hundreds of organizations in Scandinavia has improved the efficiency of their work days. Contacts us and we will help you to achieve just the same.

Also read: “Good Enough” Can Be Perfect in Daily Learning


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The Author

At the blog, we share inspiration and knowledge about digital learning and Performance Support, and inspiring cases from our customers.

Feel free to contact the author if you have questions or want to discuss the article.

Morten Spaniland InfoCaption

Morten Spaniland