Are You Ready to “Tier Up”? Flip Traditional Training Approaches for the “On-the-Go” Workforce

by Greg Luckock on October 30, 2013

Benjamin Franklin said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn. These words of wisdom have become the very foundation upon which formal training is built; however, informal training completely flips these principles for mobile workforces.

Formal training is focused on skill acquisition—a support model where the learner is initially reliant on an instructor. As the learner begins to apply the new skill, less instructor support is necessary. In the formal classroom setting, instructors often take the approach “Tell them what you are going to teach them; show them how to do it; watch them do it.”

Conversely, informal training focuses on skill application. Informal support models – like performance support systems – offer support to the extent required by the learner to properly apply the skill. Some refer to this concept as “progressively helpful hints,” and it is the foundation of a solid, tiered performance support system. From the learner’s perspective, this translates to “Let me do it; show me how to do it; tell me how to do it.”

In my last blog post, I wrote about Raytheon Professional Services’ mobile performance support program for an “on-the-go” workforce that needs rapid access to vital information as they perform their work. Let’s revisit the example I shared of a field service technician and how a tiered performance model can support the repair process:

Tier 1: “Let Me”

Tier 1 support takes on the feel of a “gentle reminder” that unobtrusively helps the field service technician get the job done. In Raytheon Professional Service’s Tier 1 mobile performance support application, the technician receives an easy-to-follow, step-by-step procedure that walks him or her through the proper repair procedure.

Tier 2: “Show Me”

What if the technician has a problem completing a step in the repair process? Tier 2 offers the technician a “progressively more” helpful hint. For Tier 2, the Raytheon mobile performance support application offers:

  • A quick training video vignette that demonstrates how to properly complete the step.
  • Additional guidance materials, such as associated technical drawings.
  • A way to track the completion of training videos and report them back to the learning management system (LMS) to update the technician’s learning transcript, if required.

The goal is to offer just enough additional support to allow the technician to complete the necessary step to move toward completion.

Tier 3: “Tell Me”

Finally, what happens if the technician still can’t complete the process step – even after viewing the training video vignette or receiving additional information? Tier 3 offers an even more helpful “hint.” The application enables the technician to tap into a pool of existing tacit knowledge—ranging from collective peer knowledge to the individual expertise.

Using mobile connectivity, our technician can:

  • Search topic-specific discussion threads in forums.
  • Review posts, ask questions, and even post photo or videos problems to get feedback.
  • Use the optional, voice-activated headset to invite a master service technician to “look over his or her shoulder” and walk the on-site technician through possible solutions.

The master technician sees everything the technician sees through a live video stream that can even be captured and annotated to emphasize key points in their dialog. The objective of Tier 3 is to mitigate any remaining roadblocks in the way of successful resolution.

Any environment that is focused heavily on process and/or is compliance driven is ideal for a tiered performance support system. Are you ready? Tell us about your biggest on-the-go challenges.

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