Jun 182012

Learning Need: Are You Meeting All Five Moments of Learning Need?

Learning Need: By Conrad Gottfredson & Bob Mosher,June 18, 2012, Via Learning Solutions Magazine

Learning Need: “It simply isn’t acceptable to throw learners over the classroom and/or eLearning wall into the workflow and then hope that what we did during the online or class event will magically transfer to successful job performance. It doesn’t. We know full-well that learning doesn’t stick unless you put in place provisions that support performance in the workflow.”

Learning Need: In our first article in the Performance Support series we suggested that our industry has been a bit lost in the context of taking learners on the journey to sustained, successful on-the-job performance. (Figure 1)

Figure 1: Faster time to competency through embedded performance support

Many organizations still struggle to break free from a traditional formal “learning event” paradigm that focuses only on the train stage in the graphic above. Consider this, though: Isn’t it our core mission to develop learning solutions that ensure people can perform effectively when they are called upon to act? (See the Transfer and Sustain stages in the graphic above.)

Think about how your organization is approaching training today. Are your sights squarely on the moment of apply, when people are in the workflow performing the work of the organization?

In the past we might have been able to ignore this vital moment and still somehow stumble into successful on-the-job performance. The nature of the world today simply won’t let us do that. It demands that we turn our attention to the workflow and deliver the support employees need to not only be competent at their work, but to also sustain that competency in an ever-changing environment.

Yogi Berra, Yankee baseball legend and sometimes philosopher, once said, “You’ve got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going ‘cause you might not get there!” Although his statement is a bit challenging to sort out, it actually describes this fundamental problem we have been writing about. Our profession has been myopically focused on learning solutions that take people out of their workflow to learn. The minute someone takes an eLearning module they stop doing their work, even though they may still be sitting at their workstation. The same holds true with a live Web class or regular classroom instruction. Some organizations claim a blended learning approach that consists only of blending eLearning modules with classroom instruction, perhaps with some on-the-job coaching mixed in. All of this involves work stoppage and is still removed from those moments when learners are actually doing the work of the organization. In the figure above, they still face the challenge of transferring what they have learned to optimal performance in their own work environment and then to flourishing in their work through collaboration, adaptation, and innovation.

ELearning, instructor-led training, and on-the-job coaching are certainly important avenues for formal learning, but if all your organization is doing is developing and delivering learning solutions through one or a blend of these delivery modalities, then your approach is short-sighted. There is a high probability that many of your learners will falter in their performance when it really counts—when they are performing on the job. And those who achieve on-the-job competency will have most likely required more time than needed to get there.

Our work must have as its primary focus the objective of optimum on-the-job competency, at every changing moment. The only way to get there is by first understanding the full journey learners need to make and then by taking the necessary steps to provide the support needed along the way.

Ask yourself this question: To what degree is my organization addressing the entire journey performers make from the beginning stages of learning through the full range of challenges that can occur at the moment of apply, when learners are called upon to actually perform?

To answer this question accurately, you must understand the five fundamental moments that comprise the full spectrum of performance support needs. These “Five Moments of Need” provide an overarching framework for helping learners become and remain competent in their individual and collective work.

Here they are:

  1. When people are learning how to do something for the first time (New);
  2. When people are expanding the breadth and depth of what they have learned (More);
  3. When they need to act upon what they have learned, which includes planning what they will do, remembering what they may have forgotten, or adapting their performance to a unique situation (Apply);

learning need




To Discuss how these Solutions will add value for you, your organization and/or your clients, Affinity/Resale Opportunities, and/or Collaborative Efforts, Please Contact:

Tom McDonald, tsm@centurytel.net; 608-788-5144; Skype: tsmw5752

learning need, McDonald Sales and Marketing, LLC