Re: Performance Supports

A response to Chapter 15, “Performance Support,” in Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology


Imagine you are an instructional designer in the not-too distant future, where the use of performance support is commonplace. How might these tools be used outside formal course instruction to enhance learning?  How might these tools be integrated into a formal course design to enhance learning?  How might performance support be used before or after the formal leaning?  Provide an example of each.


Performance support is “a tool or other resource, from print to technology supports, which provides the just right amount of task guidance, support, and productivity benefits to the user—precisely at the moment of need” (Rosenberg, 2017, p. 133). As an instructional designer, performance support creates a bridge from the classroom to the workplace. These tools can be used outside formal course instruction to enhance learning, saving precious employee hours that might be lost in training classes (p. 133). For example, in lieu of some classroom courses, we have inserted the multi-device app, Skillpill, into the overall instructional design plan for management training at Waltech, Walmart’s big box technology offering.[1] Skillpill is a microlearning app that provides customized content via “learning videos, sophisticated learning apps, support templates, gamified techniques, or social learning tools” in order to improve learners’ engagement and increase desired behavior by up to 10-20% (“Skillpill Digital Tour”, n.d). This Inventory Sidekick is an example of an embedded resource—employees don’t have to try to fit training into their scheduled because the device shows them how to do their work (p. 133).

All Waltech, employees must complete a yearly, half-day team training designed to improve communication, make the workplace more enjoyable, set personal and store goals, and help employees understand their own strengths and weaknesses (University of Minnesota Publishing, 2016). The class consists of some lecture and group discussions, augmented by gamified scenarios dealing with interpersonal skills, plus online personality quizzes, where the performance support tools are supplied through our partnership with Skillpill. Group discussions are facilitated by the instructor after participants utilize the gamified scenarios and personality tests. These technological supports are essential to engaging the learners within the classroom setting. Since much of the instructional technology is outsourced through our partnership with Skillpill, these classes are cost-effective, easy to update due to the myriad numbers of course options, and instruction is scalable to the number of participants who rotate weekly through the program (Rosenberg, 2017, p. 135). Student acceptance of this blended model of teaching is very high (p. 137).

At Waltech, employees use an Inventory Side-kick performance support device as they stock the shelves (Rosenberg, 2017, p. 134). As part of our learning design plan, this performance support tool is integrated into their “New-Hire Hello” course, which takes place in the classroom, during the first week of employment. Then, after training, the Inventory Side-kick aids in the management of store inventory, which though complex, is a “clear and repetitive task” (p. 136). This device is helpful because maintaining inventory requires a “standardized and reliable output” and necessitates good record keeping and monitoring of employee work (p. 136).

[1] FYI: I totally made that store up.

Rosenberg, M.J. (2017). Performance Support. In Reiser & Dempsey (Eds.), Trends and Issues in Instructional Design and Technology (pp.52-60). New York, NY: Pearson.

University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing. (2016, March 22). Types of Training. Human Resource Management. Retrieved from This resource is licensed under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 License.