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(In my last two posts, I talked about creating job performance aids–JPAs–for the benefit of learners/workers.  In this post, I’ll talk about making all of your JPAs easily available through on online Job Performance Support System.)

The ultimate in job performance aids is an online performance support system like the Help functions that accompany all software applications.  These put performance aids onscreen in just a few clicks.  Those call center representatives who sound like they are reading from cue cards are probably reading from their monitors.  By clicking on your answer to a question, the rep is presented with another cue card.  The rep isn’t a mindless script reader, by any means; there are many moments where the script just doesn’t apply.  Most of the time, however, the rep has easy access to a context-relevant performance aid.

The nice thing about an online performance aid used during a face-to-face encounter is that the customer is unlikely to know that the performer has a “crutch.”  This eliminates the embarrassment factor, which makes the performer much more likely to use the “crutch” in the first place.

Will online job aids eventually eclipse traditional policy and procedure manuals?  Definitely!  Paging back and forth through a bulky manual is inconvenient, time-consuming and possibly embarrassing.  Plus, the performer’s eyes will need to repeatedly go back and forth between their monitors and their paper manual.  Even if the manual is online, the performer will often need to scroll past a lot of irrelevant information to find what they need.  There is no comparison between that and a well-done online performance support system.

There are many high-end products in the online performance support system market and these would probably be the best choice if you are supporting  a good number of performers.  A lower-cost option would be Adobe’s RoboHelp product.  It costs nearly $1,000, though, and that may put it beyond your reach.

Even if you have no tool other than PowerPoint, you can create your own online support system to house on your intranet.  Just create a series of slides with menus and instructions or scripts and use hyperlinked buttons to take the performer through the steps.  You’ll learn how in our next two posts.