Performance-Based Learning and Assessment: When Theory Becomes Experience

Performance-Based learning turns knowledge into experience.

When students leave school most have lots of knowledge and little experience – then as they work and apply their knowledge they gain experience. When employees participate in personal development training that includes Performance-Based learning as part of the course design, participants leave with knowledge and experience.

Performance-Based learning combines knowledge with application.Performance-Based Learning

BMC believe the best approach is to develop Performance-Based exercises using cues and situations from the learners’ environment. While tailoring training examples takes a little more effort, it pays off for the learner and the client. New skills are understood and adopted with greater success because the learner is familiar with the situations we use.

In addition, Performance-Based learning paired with appreciative inquiry provides participants the opportunity to learn in a safe environment and to integrate new skills with existing knowledge / habits in a meaningful way. Three behaviors to evaluate include:

  • Learning: What knowledge, skills or awareness was shared?
  • Behavior: What behaviours were changed or adopted and/or beliefs influenced?
  • Results: What will happen as a result of the training – is it the desired behaviour?

Performance-Based Assessment Options

Evaluation using any method improves participants’ engagement during training.

Options for in-class assessment include:

  • Self-assessment
  • Peer-assessment
  • Instructor assessment and/or evaluate self assessment
  • A combination of all the above

Performance-Based learning throughout any professional development & career training empowers the learner by helping participants assess and therefore be able to qualify and quantify their own learning.

Because participants receive immediate feedback they are able to make frequent small adjustments. This offers them reward that are connected with their newly learned skill, and frequent small adjustments helps them achieve greater overall success and behaviour adoption. In addition, frequent self and/or peer assessment encourages participants to participate during the training.

Group Discussion

Performance-Based learning and assessment often includes group discussion.

Within group discussion, participants hear questions and stories from other participants, therefore, everyone learns from each other. Participants also get to see how others ‘think’ and that in most cases – every problem will likely have multiple valid but different solutions. This reinforces the concept of different points of view which is helpful when they return to their duties and work with peers and/or clients.

Group discussion combines the benefits of self-assessment and respectful peer-assessment.


Performance-Based learning and assessment translates to greater retention and faster adoption of the new materials.New theories become experiences which increases participants ability to apply the information when they are on their own.

Happy communicating and learning.

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About Bruce Mayhew
Bruce Mayhew is a Leadership Coach, Keynote Speaker and Corporate Trainer who builds strong client and co-worker relationships that give clients a competitive advantage. Our training and development programs include: ■Generational Differences ■Effective Business Email Writing ■Email Etiquette ■Phone Etiquette ■Behaviour Event Interviewing (BEI) ■Mindfulness ■Using Linkedin to Build Client Relationships ■Objective Setting Made Easy

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