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What is Performance Support, and how can it be used?

According to the 70-20-10 model, most learning in the workplace doesn't happen through courses but in daily work. Most organizations do little or nothing to support this "informal" learning. In this article, I describe how Performance Support can enhance learning.

The 70-20-10 model was developed by Morgan McCall and the Centre for Creative Leadership and is a theory that describes when and how learning occurs in the workplace.

According to the model, as little as 10% of learning happens through courses and training, known as formal learning. Yet, organizations often focus on this the most—either through traditional classroom training or webinars.

Social learning accounts for 20%, which includes learning through interactions with others, such as collaborations or feedback.

The majority of learning, around 70%, comes from experiences. In everyday life, this might mean cooking, playing a sport, or playing a musical instrument. In professional life, it might mean facing a challenge where you find a solution on your own.

When we learn through experiences or social learning, it can be classified as informal learning. We then absorb knowledge or information in a more unstructured and spontaneous way compared to formal learning. Informal learning is usually tied to an immediate need or interest, such as solving a task or a problem.

Additional reading: Five moments of learning need


When things go wrong, it can be helpful to have extra support. Photo by Neil Thomas on Unsplash.

What is Performance Support, and how can it be used?

Performance Support is instructional materials, tools, resources, or assistance that help employees in their daily work. It serves as a guide for performing tasks, solving problems, or fulfilling workplace responsibilities more effectively, reducing the time to learn a new skill. The material should be reliable and easily accessible so employees can access it as needed.

Performance Support can vary in design and format; examples may include:

  • A searchable database with content that can assist employees in their work.
  • A checklist or infographic that can be used as support for advanced tasks or work processes.
  • A live chat with knowledge experts to quickly provide support when an employee encounters a problem.
  • A mobile app or instructional video with step-by-step guidance for a work task.

Additional reading: What are Performance support tools and how can they be used?


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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