Aug 152012

Performance Support: The Fall and Rise of Performance Support

Performance Support: Marc My Words: The Fall and Rise of Performance Support

Performance Support:  By Marc J. Rosenberg, August 14, 2012


performance support

“Performance support is all around us, from the apps on our phone to the GPS in our car; from a demo on YouTube to that little card we all carry in our wallet that tells us how to retrieve messages from our answering machine. Performance support is a growing part of life and work. It’s time to make it a central part of our workplace learning strategy. No, better yet, it’s time to make it a central part of our business strategy.”

We are confronted with insurmountable opportunities.” – Pogo


In 1989, I was working with consultant Gloria Gery and a great team of learning technologists at AT&T to figure out our next step in electronic training. The next generation of what we then called computer-based training (CBT) felt incremental; we were looking for something bigger. We debated, tested ideas, and ran scenarios. And then it hit us – electronic performance support systems (EPSS) – or, simply, “performance support.”

We already had a project on the table: create a CBT course on test design and development for instructional designers and SMEs. What if we put the instructional component on the back burner, and, instead, turned the product into a “tool” (today, we’d likely call it an “app”) that not only trained, but provided a comprehensive knowledge base on the topic, along with an “advisor” that helped users make the right decisions about test development and delivery. Thus, the Training Test Consultant was born.

The project was both a success and a disappointment. It demonstrated a breakthrough paradigm shift in the training world, and Gloria went on to help define performance support globally. Everywhere we went it really looked like this new field was taking off big time.

But enthusiasm didn’t fully translate to real traction

performance support

Tom McDonald’s Comments:

This is dead on that individual long term learning and application only occurs with ongoing, individual, performance support.

The research is solid that “85% of sales training initiatives have little to no impact on performance after 90-120 days.”

Two things solve this problem, long term:

(1) Integrating training (ongoing, individual, coached learning) with implementation (ongoing, individual, coached application)

(2) Appropriate, ongoing, personalized, performance support  [see (1) above]

There are no shortcuts to connecting, learning and application to strategic, individual and organization objectives.

The differentiation is the proven technology that enables this performance improvement process to be the most effective and efficient, consistent with defined individual and organization strategic objectives



To Discuss how these Solutions will add value for you, your organization and/or your clients, Affinity/Resale Opportunities, and/or Collaborative Efforts, Please Contact:

Tom McDonald,; 608-788-5144; Skype: tsmw5752

performance support, McDonald Sales and Marketing, LLC