Point-of-Work Assessment (PWA)

Every organization owns a dynamic Learning Performance Ecosystem where the workforce learns AND works to perform tasks by functional role. The most significant component of every ecosystem, regardless of business discipline, is where measurable business outcomes are generated –


My focus for the last dozen years (of the 35 I’ve been in Corporate Training) have shifted from designing and developing training solutions to agile and impactful LEARNING PERFORMANCE SOLUTIONS. This shift from training to performance is based upon a simple fact –

Measurable business outcomes & value
are generated, compromised, or lost at
POINT-of-WORK…not during training  

Point-of-Work represents ground zero for all positive and negative business outcomes. Optimizing outcomes at Point-of-Work requires a “strategic re-think” that targets the new ground zero to apply holistic discovery methods to assess CURRENT STATE performance to define targets for answering “What, Who, How, When, Where & Why” performance restrainers exist. 


PWA discovery findings serve to pinpoint, prioritize, and road map solutions at the Points-of-Work to optimize and accelerate productivity for sustainable and measurable business outcomes.

Current State Performance Benchmarks and Solution Road Mapping enable L&D strategy, tactics and technology to address Point-of-Work Solutions require holistic pre-design discovery to accurately identify current state performance gaps, challenges & causes. This discovery effort establishes accurate performance benchmarks and identifies root cause performance restrainers critical to mapping recommendations that involve a blend of learning, support logistics, and potential technology-based solutions.

 Does your L&D team possess these enhanced
discovery, bench-marking, road mapping, and technology skills? 

The PWA represents a repeatable, scalable methodology designed to assess the interdependent moving parts (performance attributes) found within every ecosystem that enable or restrain performance at Point-of-Work. Following are four example scenarios where applying PWA methodology is appropriate:

  • Assessing L&D team readiness to adopt a Point-of-Work Solution Discipline.
  • Responding to individual training project requests targeting performance gaps
  • Addressing larger, enterprise-wide initiatives impacting workforce performance
  • Integration of new enterprise technology impacting processes and workflows

PWA benchmarking examines six categories of performance attributes that serve as Ecosystem Discovery Targets. (See Figure 1 below) Note that traditional Training Needs Assessment (TNA) only addresses a portion of the People/Capability attributes…in other words… only 1/6th of the learning performance ecosystem is assessed by TNA tactics. The PWA methodology additionally addresses the other 5/6ths of the ecosystem.

Figure 1

These Ecosystem Categories are common denominators and cross-industry in nature; thereby making the PWA methodology both business-discipline and industry agnostic.

How Much Chaos Comes with PWA Adoption?

Successful adoption of PWA methodology is not a dramatic leap in skills and capabilities as much as it is willingness to see the entirety of the learning performance ecosystem through a Point-of-Work lens. There are two primary objectives:

  • First Objective – Use PWA discovery results to Change the Conversation and Shift Expectations beyond default training solutions using current state performance restrainers confirmed across the learning performance ecosystem. (See Figure 2 below from an actual PWA discovery effort.) Note that “Training” represents only a fraction of the attributes within the People/Capability category; therefore, in this example, the transfer of knowledge and skills only contributes something less than 20% to impacting performance issues. That fact alone stimulates a new, broader conversation about solution options above and beyond training.

Figure 2

  • Second Objective – A blended Recommendation Solution Road Map to facilitate collaboration among the Strategist role and the ID/DEV teams for finalizing detailed design parameters. These parameters are further defined by targeted, task-centric and role-specific assessment based upon PWA findings. The PWA promotes integration of 7-Right Things (See Figure 3 below) that inform intentional design guidelines while preserving compatibility with existing agile design methodologies like:
    • ApplySynergy’s 5 Moments of Need
    • 70:20:10
    • DRIVER

7 Right Things
Figure 3

Click here to download a 7-Right things_Infographic H (004)

Should Your Team Adopt PWA Methodology?

If your best training efforts are not consistently accelerating productivity and sustaining measurable workforce performance results at Levels 3 & 4, the answer is an emphatic YES!

  • The concept of enabling continuous learning is rapidly gaining traction; however, the continuity of learning opportunities are accelerating closer to…if not within…active workflows.
  • It’s important to recognize the Learning in the Workflow and Workflow Learning are NOT the same thing. The PWA accurately identifies the performance attributes for both to support intentional design using several top-notch design methodologies.

What Skills Do We Need?

  • PWA is a pre-design methodology leveraging performance consulting discovery skills.
  • Creation of a performance strategist role capable of assessment at the operational level in the ecosystem is often a common role/skill addition.
  • Consider any candidates with business savvy with solid questioning and active listening skills have the potential to utilize the methodology.

What Are Our Next Step Options?

For further clarification and discussion, Living In Learning offers a free virtual overview presentation of the paradigm shift toward addressing a dynamic learning performance ecosystem given this year at national conferences (DevLearn and Learning Solutions 2019) and two local ATD Chapter events that highlight:

  • The different conversation L&D should lead with stakeholders to shift thinking
  • Adopting a Point-of-Work Assessment pre-design methodology
  • Assessing learning performance attributes at Point-of-Work to define current state targets
  • Application of tenets of Intentional Design that adapt to existing agile design methodologies for solutions addressing Moments of Need in the workflows. (See DRIVER – An Agile Solutioning Methodology)
  • Productivity Acceleration Technologies for both tactical performance support in the workflow & strategic performance insight support to accelerate critical-thinking and enable informed decision-making.


Click Contact to initiate a no-cost overview presentation and exploratory conversation.

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