Advancement in technology brings changes in the way we work. Over the past few decades, these changes have been rapid as well as huge in their impact. From the pen-and-paper traditional desk, to desktop computers, laptops and now, tablets and smart-phones- change has been constant. Every change brings with itself the necessary rigors of adaptation. Whether adapting to a new process or a technology, providing training for every change may seem difficult. This is especially so when taking into consideration ever-expanding numbers and geographical spread of users. So, are Performance Support Tools the answer or more rigorous and effective training should prevail?
When we asked our fellow G-Cubians this question, we had some very interesting viewpoints – emerging out of personal experiences and work-processes. Arvind Baccheti aptly says – Training and Performance Support Tools taste best when served together. They compliment each other and the best results are shown when Training is supported by tools, which can help out with on-the-job queries or problems.
Arun Rao puts in his views by stating that a Performance Support Tool, by definition should reduce time taken to complete a task. But sometimes, time taken to learn the ropes of the Tool itself must be taken into consideration. He presents a formula to measure the efficacy of a Performance Support Tool –
Time required to perform the task (to the desired minimum degree of efficiency) without the performance support tool MINUS time required to perform the task (to the desired minimum degree of efficiency) with the performance support tool = DTK (Difference in time to perform task)
Time required to train a person to perform the task without the use of the performance support tool MINUS time required to train a person to use the performance training tool to perform the same task = DTT (difference in training time)
In conclusion, he says, a high DTK & DTT would indicate an effective performance support tool.
The practical applications and examples of Performance Support Tools are many. From the simple Spelling and Grammar Check in Microsoft Word to the GPS Unit in the car – these tools definitely make life easier. Sayantani Kundu finds support in a self-developed tool. Being an Instructional Designer, she has compiled a list of basic templates of ID that come in handy and a ready reference when in doubt. This, she recommends, can be duplicated in any line of work – it is easy to develop as well as easy to understand.
Concurring to a united verdict, Performance Support Tools cannot replace Training (e.g. Spell Check can’t do much if one doesn’t know basic spellings!). But they certainly have huge utility within the training structure and developing effective support tools should be a constant endeavor for generating desired results from the training function.