Using Blended Learning to Address the Five Moments of Need

The Five Moments of Need Model is a practical and useful approach that can be used to fill in the ‘learning’ gaps by analyzing the typical role of employees. Instead of focusing only on what the organization wants in terms of learning, it focuses on the specific needs of employees as they go about their work and addresses those needs by providing the requisite training. It is this very shift in perspective that makes it such an insightful and pragmatic model for delivering training.

Blended learning to address the five moments of need

The Five Moments of Need

Introduced by Bob Mosher & Conrad Gottfredson, the 5 moments of need are:

Learning for the first time (New)

Learning More (More)

Applying what you’ve learned (Apply)

When things go wrong (Problem Solving)

When things change (Change)

Using Blended Learning to Address the Five Moments of Need

A blended learning strategy can effectively provide learning solutions to employees as and when these 5 needs arise. Let us see how:

Learning for the first time (New)

Since learning for the first time involves introducing and teaching core concepts and ideas, it is best done via instructor led classroom training so that employees have direct face to face interaction with the instructor as well as with their colleagues. ILT sessions are still effective in bringing a sense of immediacy to the table and organizations must capitalize on this advantage while building core knowledge. If ILT is not possible, e-learning sessions in the form of webinars complemented with high quality e-learning material in clear and concise language (without any interactivity) can serve the same purpose. For example, a cloud based IT services provider imparting training about its products to new hires.

Learning More (More)

By now, core knowledge has already been driven into their minds. This moment of need is about expanding that knowledge base. In the example above, let’s say the new hires now must be trained to understand each IT product and its usage, how one product differs from the other and what are the advantages and limitations of each. E-learning modules with second level interactivity such as videos, animations and clickable graphics can now fill this training need, and learners can access content at will. Mobiles can also aid in the expansion of the knowledge by providing employees with small nuggets of information. Scenario based learning, gamification – all of these can be excellent and highly rewarding ways to address this moment of need, but the final choice of course rests with you and the amount of resources you can divert to training.

Applying what you’ve learned (Apply)

It is now time for action. Preliminary learning has taken place, and employees must now apply that knowledge – performance support at its very best. This is a critical stage which can make or break trust in employees towards your training, learning and development function. Here, the focus should be on bite-sized resources such as ‘How to’ videos and modules, FAQs, product summaries, etc. available over portable devices such as smartphones and tablets. Instructional designers must carefully analyze the work role of the target learners to gain an insight of all the potential learning needs that may arise. The actual graphical interface design should allow learners to access information quickly instead of directing them through many links, pages or mobile screens.

When things go wrong (Problem Solving)

This is again an extension of performance support. Problems that employees encounter could be routine or unexpected. Routine and common problems can be addressed through a collection of extensive online resources such as blogs and videos, each of which focuses on solving one particular problem titled with keywords that employees will mostly use to search. For example, “Troubleshooting issues with downloads” or “E-mail not accessible”.

As far as unexpected problems at work are concerned, social interactive features in the LMS are extremely useful. A platform which gives space for live chats, threaded discussions and sharing of experiences among employees who encountered similar problems enables employees to get access to the exact help at the time they need it.

When things change (Change)

Changes usually evoke resistance from employees, because of the ‘unknown’ factor and since they require coming out of the ‘comfort zones’. Often, it may also require employees to ‘unlearn’ things they knew earlier and accomplish tasks in new ways – a situation where the need for training is heightened further. An organization should support employees to rapidly adapt to changes – be it new products, technology, practice or process changes or new marketing initiatives that require alignment with other components of the value chain.

This must be done at various levels – starting from peer-to-peer information sharing, to meetings, email newsletters as well as display on the company portal home page; to a comprehensive mix of instructor led, online and mobile learning courses depending on the scale and potential impact of the change.

Mobile Learning case study

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