This blog is excerpted from episode 36 of the Performance Matters Podcast where Bob
Mosher and Sue Reber, APPLY’s director of practice, discuss how to get started
on building workflow learning using the tools you currently have—no new
Bob Mosher (BM): I am honored today to be joined by one of my dear colleagues
in this journey, a rock star in my opinion, Sue Reber. Sue—welcome, good to
have you here.
So, Sue you’re a seasoned instructional designer (ID). When we talk about
shifting to a performance-first mindset, what do you think are the common switches they are having
challenges to flip?
Sue Reber (SR): It’s a
misunderstanding of what performance is and looking at it from the feeling like
you can get to performance from knowledge alone.
BM: I love that! You know it’s
funny, I was having a conversation with an organization that we are working
with, and they mentioned, as I was going through this, “Wait, wait. We can’t do
this because we have so much they need to know before they can do.”
Isn’t that amazing? And I said,
“What do you mean?” And they said, “Oh, my gosh! There’s just so much our
subject matter experts feel that these learners have to know before we
dare let them touch or do anything.” So they have this—listen to this—three- to
five-day “knowledge” course. They spend three to five days covering SOPs and
processes and legalities and all these things.
Why do we come at it from this
“know first” thing? Why don’t we get that that’s meaningless without context?
SR: Yep. This the most common
thing I hear; I think people are afraid. They feel they are providing
the context. They think, “If I give you all of this knowledge, then I’m providing
you with the context for you to be able to do the job.” That’s what I see.
BM: That’s really a remarkable
insight. Because to us, context is the workflow. They are equating context to
knowledge alone, without that context of the workflow.
BM: You and I are both in
agreement, if I am going to build eLearning, I need an eLearning authoring
environment. I’m not going to build eLearning with PowerPoint.
Bob: But, for an EPSS—organizations
have the capability to build and implement an EPSS within their organization
right now, with almost any tool. Right?
SR: Right. I think that if you
flip that switch and think about what is it that people need to do, and really
break it down into job tasks, you can build and implement that EPSS capability
into anything. You can build it in Word. You can build it in SharePoint. We’ve
built it in tons of different things.
BM: But how do I make sure that I
make those things do what an EPSS can do?
SR: That’s all about the design.
Right? The design is critical and you have to think it through—especially if
you are not going to use a traditional EPSS software. You need to really think
about what is it that people need to be able to do, how do they need to be able
to get to it—to what they need to do—and how can you make sure that they only
have what they need and they are not buried in details that they don’t need—but
that they can get to those details.
BM: So, it’s principle-based. We
have to understand those principles to have these tools do what they do.
SR: Yes, I think so.
BM: So, how does an organization
evolve their way to a fully functional EPSS technology framework? If I’m the
leader, what’s my plan in getting there, knowing that’s the end game but that I
may have to take some baby steps to get there?
SR: I think you have to start
where you are. And pretty much, it’s that way with everything, right? What can
I do with what I have? You need to really dig into what is an EPSS, what do I
mean by that, what can it do, how can it help me? You really need to understand
what the principles are behind performance support.
Then, once you really have that
down, and that really does take some research and thinking through things. Maybe
you’re going to take a look at your existing programs and instead of looking at
the training and thinking in terms of training, you’re going to look at what do
people need to be able to do. And you’re going to maybe pick some small, little
piece of that and you’re going to develop a proof of concept using the software
that you have, whatever it is, whether it’s SharePoint or Microsoft Word, or
it’s PowerPoint—which I wouldn’t recommend—Confluence, Microsoft Teams,
SmartSheets, pretty much whatever you have—figure out how you can best use it.
You, however, need to understand that there are limitations because you are not
using performance support software.
You are then going to use that proof
of concept and share it. I would share it with the people doing the work. See
what they think about it. And that’s going to help you make your business case.
And then once you have your business case, maybe you’ll be able to build out
the rest of the performance support. And implement it. And gather the data like
how is it affecting how we do the work. And then you can begin to scale it.
Listen to the full episode to hear more on Sue’s best practices and experiences
around using what organization’s have on-hand to build impactful performance-first
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