In Electronic Performance Support Systems, published in 1991, Gloria Gery defined EPSS as:
an integrated electronic environment that is available to and easily accessible by each employee and is structured to provide immediate, individualized on-line access to the full range of information, software, guidance, advice and assistance, data, images, tools, and assessment and monitoring systems to permit job performance with minimal support and intervention by others.
Also in 1991, Barry Raybould gave a shorter definition:
a computer-based system that improves worker productivity by providing on-the-job access to integrated information, advice, and learning experiences.
From a business perspective, a former Nortel Networks executive, William Bezanson (2002) provides a definition linked to application usability and organizational results:
A performance support system provides just-in-time, just enough training, information, tools, and help for users of a product or work environment, to enable optimum performance by those users when and where needed, thereby also enhancing the performance of the overall business.
 EPSS v. Online help
An EPSS must be distinguished from a traditional online help system. On-line help usually supports a single software application and is not necessarily focused on the entire range of job tasks (which may involve multiple applications), but just that specific software. With online help, cross-referencing is often not available and the information provided is limited and rarely combined with procedures or complex tasks. Perhaps most critically, on-line help cannot be customized to the user or the job task; in fact, the same software screen may require different inputs depending on the user and job task.
 EPSS v. e-learning simulations
EPSS must also be differentiated from e-learning simulations that replay a series of steps on-demand within a software application. Simulations are more closely associated with... [continues]
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