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Clive Shepherd


The More Than Blended Learning


Trusted nodes - When

performance support

trumps learning

This year I have worked with clients on a

number of projects in which the sole

focus has been supporting employees in

adapting to a change by providing

resources that they could access at the

point of need - a process that we

normally call 'performance support'.

In a world of immediate access to

information at any time of day and night

and wherever you happen to be, we no

longer expect to have to acquire all the

knowledge required to do our jobs. Yes,

we still need to understand fundamental

concepts and principles, and to develop

key skills, but the rest we can look up as

we need it.

Performance support is not quite the

same as learning

The purpose of training or any other

learning experience is to bring about a

long-term change in knowledge, skills or

attitudes - and that's not an easy thing

to do. Depending on the requirement,

we need to apply just the right strategy

to help our learners make lasting

connections in their brains.

This process takes time and success is

never guaranteed.

Learning and teaching activities aim to

build lasting knowledge and skill. When

future problems occur, the individual

can access their memories to help them

decide what to do. They can then take


With performance support, we are not

concerned with long-term retention. It

doesn't matter whether the users of our

support systems remember anything -

just that they're able to get the job

done. So, if we have an immediate

problem, we access the support system

to find out what to do and we take

immediate action.

Performance support is not completely

separate from learning. You could

regard it as knowledge that exists

externally to ourselves, as a sort of

'outboard brain'.

Clive Shepherd


The More Than Blended Learning


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