Performance Consulting: finding the best solution from the training, informal learning, performance support mix

When confronted with a learning or performance
problem, the normal and traditional response from L&D is to create a training
solution, probably in the form of an all-singing, all-dancing content-rich e-learning course.  For a long while I've compared this approach with using a hammer to crack the proverbial nut!

Last week I showed by the use of
three case studies (links below) that there are often other ways
to solve learning and performance problems – particularly by the use of collaborative approaches that involve new social media
(SoMe) tools – and that "solutions" may well contain a number of different
elements – training, informal learning and/or performance support – as show in the table below.

Social Media for Working & Learning 
aka Social Learning
Use of SoMe for: communicating – collaborating – sharing – networks
and communities
Formal learning/
f2f training/"e-learning"
Informal Learning
learning as you work
Performance Enhancement
improvement & support

using SoMe

  • to engage online learners
  • to engage learners in the classroom

using SoMe

  • to find things out by/for oneself
  • to learn with and from others

using SoMe

  • to rethink/improve work processes
  • to work collaboratively with others
Case Study 4: Using Twitter in a face-to-face workshop
Case Study 3 = learning from one another
in an organisation

Case Study 1 = working collaboratively across departments


Case Study 2 = working collaboratively in a tea

It also has to be said that non-training solutions are often far
less costly than training and can be achieved
much more quickly and easily, so for that reason alone should be given
much more consideration.

A number of people have asked me to talk more about the process involved in the Case Studies I described.  Let me first describe the
traditional training process
so that you can compare the two.   Once a learning/performance problem has been identified, the normal process is:

  • to carry out a Training Needs Analysis (TNA)
  • design training/e-learning
  • deliver and manage the training
  • assess test/course completions

However, the performance process involves:

  • carrying out a Performance Analysis (note: this can also be
    done even if a performance problem has not yet been identified)
  • devising an appropriate solution in conjunction with the people
    concerned- – which may contain elements from the 3 areas above
  • supporting the implementation of the solution – with the people
    concerned
  • (and where training is involved – working with training department to designappropriate training)
  • finally assessing the success of solution – in terms of how well it resolved
    the problem and what additional benefits there were

The key features of this approach are that:

  • the solution is devised together with the people concerned – and is NOT one imposed on them – they need to be part of the decision making
  • the solution is implemented together with the people concerned – ie NOT one created by others for them to use – they need to help set it up as well as use it so it works for them
  • the success of the solution is detemined by how performance has improved  – NOT by the number of people who have passed a quiz or completed a training course

The performance process needs to be led by an experienced
individual who has a very good understanding of business/working processes as well as the wide range
of SoMe tools and systems available (many of which
can be used across the 3 areas of the table above).  This also needs to be someone who can help devise creative and innovative solutions for specific problems and not automatically apply a one-size-fits-all "training" solution.  Hence we are looking at the emergence of a new role, that of the
Performance Specialist..

So what are the options for using the performance process in your organisation?  Here are 3 possible ways:

  1. Use in-house Performance
    Specialists
    – if there are experienced and interested individuals in the organisation, then they can take on this role.  If not, you could consider
  2. Contracted Performance
    Consultants
      -  the cost of bringing
    someone in to help will probably be offset by the reduction in costs of training.  Consultants like this will also be able to help upskill others in the organisation. (For more on this, see the C4LPT's own services in this area)
  3. DIY Performance Improvement – Otherwise just let workers get on and do it for themselves
    – if they are not already doing so!  As more and more individuals and teams understand social media and recognise its value for addressing their own productivity and performance issues, this is likely to become more commonplace.  I am actually producing a Guide for those who want to know about this DIY approach, and I'll write more about this in a future posting.

4 thoughts on “Performance Consulting: finding the best solution from the training, informal learning, performance support mix

  1. kellybriefworld

    I’m a consultant working with Palo Alto Networks; they have an excellent whitepaper on the subject of blocking social networking apps that you may have to worry about, “To Block or Not. Is that the question?” here: http://bit.ly/d2NZRp. It has lots of insightful and useful information about identifying and controlling Enterprise 2.0 apps (Facebook, Twitter, Skype, etc). Enjoy!

  2. Clark Quinn

    I have to agree with Jane, Kelly; it talks about the vulnerabilities without mentioning the benefits or the corporate equivalents. What’s the benefit of talking to overseas colleagues without tolls? What about Yammer, Present.ly or Status.net instead of Twitter? Why would you want to cut off your employees from their network before you ask them to do their best knowledge work?
    I agree that folks should be aware of the risks and have policies in place, but just arguing ‘they’re dangerous’ would hold true for email as well, yet we allow that.

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