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How to Simplify Learning With Mobile Performance Support

Did you ever watch the old game show “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?” Adult contestants attempted to answer grade-school level questions to see how much they retained from elementary school. It was painful to watch. The game relied on the premise that adults forget most of the information taught in elementary school. It's easy to imagine sitting in the game seat thinking, “Ugh, it’s on the tip of my tongue!” You know the feeling? When you know what you know, but you just can't find the words at the right time?

It’s the same feeling you get when your coworker’s husband is walking towards you at the holiday party. “Ah, what’s his name, what’s his name?” When you first learned his name you could probably recall it without a problem. But how many times a year do you see Sally-from-Accounting’s husband? Even hearing the first letter of his name might make it jump right back into your mind, but it’s tough to retain the information without support. And that's precisely it.

Learning is not a “one and done” event.

Unfortunately, organizational learning has become an overwhelming event—a three-day instructor led training (ILT) session or a series of eLearning modules that pile on tons and tons of (debatably useful) information. You learn the material, then you are sent on your way. No matter how amazing the content, when you're sent on your way, the newly learned knowledge rarely follows. In statistics, this concept is also known as the long tail, which is related to the number of occurrences far from the head. In this case, all of the knowledge accumulates at the head. This "head knowledge" becomes lost as time carries on if it's not retained or used as part of the job. Check out the relationship between knowledge and time after a learning event. Often, knowledge plummets!

Now for the good news. Formal learning doesn't have to be ineffective; it just needs some post-event TLC, using mobile. A mobile after-party, if you will.

When a "it's on the tip of my tongue" moment happens, you now have mobile performance support at your fingertips to get you back on track. Perhaps you are in pharmaceutical sales and have just left a meeting feeling less than stellar about your performance. You can immediately access the information and confirm the specifics you need to nail the next pitch. You can even quiz yourself a couple of times to ensure that pesky list of side effects has made friends with your memory.

Create a pull learning environment.

Performance support creates a pull learning environment, where the learners can quickly access the specific information they need on the fly. Take a look at the graph now, after adding in the effect of performance support.

This reinforcement also helps boost soft skills. Who doesn’t want more confidence and better presentation skills? A sales rep can brush up on information before entering a client meeting and enter that room knowing that they're going to rock it. And if at some point they begin second guessing themselves, they have all the knowledge they need to back them up, right on their mobile device. It never hurts to have a partner in crime!

Mobile performance support shortens your timeline to competency and helps you maintain a high level of knowledge. The results: improved ability to acquire knowledge at the point of need, a better positioned product or service, increased opportunities, more closed deals, reduced time to execution, and much more.

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Sydney Nordquist

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