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“EPSS are primarily applicable in the workplace to promote learning and offer immediate performance guidance” (Ahmad, 2009, p. 8). Researchers agree that performance support systems can help improve communication and, ultimately, performance (Ahmad, 2009; Bayram & Crossman, 1997; Chang, 2007; Gamson, 1994; Marion, 2002; Raybould, 1995). Nguyen and Klein (2008) showed that participants using an electronic performance support system performed significantly better than those receiving formal training. It makes sense that aided task performance yields better results than unaided (Frank Nguyen, Klein, & Sullivan, 2005; van Schaik, Barker, & Famakinwa, 2007). The most effective performance support is context specific and provides assistance with a given task in a given situation (Tessmer & Richey, 1997).

In this researcher’s experience, the hardest aspect of designing a truly effective electronic performance support system is ascertaining when each employee is working on which task—in other words, the information needed to serve up the right kind of support. With the use of microblogs and consistently answering the question: What are you working on? Peers can easily read what people are working on and when and offer their support. Questions posted on a microblog are more straightforward in terms of performance support but only if they are answered in a timely fashion.

In addition, the perceived most effective aspect of an EPSS is the advisory, job-oriented or problem solving components (Chang, 2004). In fact, packaging and bringing expert knowledge to users is a key goal in creating an EPSS (Hile, Campbell, & Ghobary, 1994). Perhaps this is why EPSS generally focus on bringing content to users as opposed to connecting people to more seasoned colleagues, or experts. However, a microblog can bring not just content to employees when they need it but it can actually connect them to the expert to talk to. Performance support systems have not fundamentally been viewed as systems that can bring people, not just content together. Ultimately, a performance support system can be used as a cognitive tool for employees in organizations (Wild, 2000).

This is a section of a research study, to read more, go to the Table of Contents.


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