How to Write for Performance Support


Christopher King
Learning Strategist and Performance Support Coach


May 27, 2020 - 1:00 PM


May 27, 2020 - 2:00 PM

How to Write for Performance Support

What’s the difference between technical writing and writing for learning? Do you find yourself writing help files, FAQs, video tutorial scripts, or internal wikis and blogs? Trainers call this informal learning. This ‘just-in-time” learning is often unplanned and based on a real need. There’s an approach for organizing this vast assortment of content, called Performance Support, and it needs your skills.

Performance Support should be written for use in the moment, focused on directive action-oriented instruction on how to do something. Sound familiar? While you might not think of technical manuals as learning materials, even STC includes “providing instructions about how to do something” in the definition of Technical Communication. But Performance Support isn’t just about step-by-step instruction. Performers need context and concepts – the things they need to know or understand in order to perform.

Join us for a bit of cross-pollination, where we look over at the other side of the office to find out what Trainers are doing and how you can help. We’ll define Performance Support, discover the Performance Support pyramid, explore the state of the art, and review a methodology that neatly captures the growing overlap between technical communication and training. We’ll survey the many ways you can help training boil down their instructional text and get focused on supporting people in their moment of need. These days, you should consider the training department an ally, or a source of new projects, or even a new client!


Chris King is a trainer, a Performance Support guy, an invariant communicator, and a Learning Provocateur: pushing organizations to consider learning interventions that actually improve performance on the job, change behaviors in the workplace, and wake up zombies in the workforce.

As an innovator and an establishment-questioner over the last 25 years, he has led teams, developed learning solutions and programs, linked learning to strategic goals, written more guides and manuals than he cares to remember, and generally pushed boundaries. Chris has an unconventional eye for training and consulting, leveraging his credentials as a Project Management Professional, a Certified ScrumMaster, a 5 Moments of Need Designer, and a LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® certified facilitator, to refine and modernize the typical approach to learning development.

At CEEK, he leverages his skills to help organizations redefine and pursue organizational wellness, furthering our mission to wipe out zombies in the workplace. Chris is a nationally known speaker, presenting at conferences around the country since 2005. He serves on the Executive Board of the Training Officers Consortium as the Chief Technologist. He is also a Dad, husband, musician, and outdoorsman.

Frequently Asked Questions

When do education events take place?

Webinars are held every Wednesday afternoon from 2-3 PM EDT/EST (GMT-4/5).

A majority of online courses are held Tuesdays-Thursdays between 10:00 AM-1:00 PM EDT/EST (GMT-4/5), as to not conflict with webinar times.

When will I receive the GoTo Webinar/GoTo Meeting instructions for an event?

Registered attendees will receive the GoTo Webinar instructions three (3) hours before the webinar begins.

Registered attendees will receive the GoTo Meeting instructions one (1) day before the online course begins.

To participate in a webinar and an online course, you must be able to access GoTo Webinar or GoTo Meeting, STC's online meeting space. Check system requirements for GoTo Webinar and GoTo Meeting prior to joining. GoTo Webinar and GoTo Meeting are a standard web seminar tool (no separate download required) and all you need is a reliable Internet connection and phone line, or a computer with VoIP capabilities.

I registered for an online course, what are my next steps?

Once you register for an online course, you will receive a confirmation receipt that day. A majority of our online courses uses Moodle, STC's course management site, which attendees will receive the login instructions two (2) days before the course begins.

If you cannot access Adobe Connect and/or Moodle (as needed), then you will not be able to successfully complete an online course.

I registered for a webinar, but will be unable to attend. Will a recording be available?

If a registered attendee is unable to attend a webinar that day, they will receive an email with a link to the recording, and an evaluation link along with the PDF of the presentation.

I registered for a webinar and/or an online course, but cannot attend at that time. Will I receive a refund?

If a registered attendee is unable to attend a webinar and/or an online course, the cost is transferable to a future event, but is not refundable. Online registration closes one-two business days before the education event begins.

I want to take a specific course that isn't listed online. Will it be offered in the future?

STC rotates its courses every year as we try to offer the most popular ones within the first half of the year. Online courses are subject to change or are offered more than once per quarter. If a course is not listed, STC will offer it again in the following year.

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The Society for Technical Communication advances technical communication as the discipline of transforming complex information into usable content for products, processes, and services.