Rebecca Lane

By: Rebecca Lane on June 20th, 2021

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What Are Your 5 Moments of Need for Employee Learning?

I went on a hike outside of Knoxville, Tennessee the other day. Although, hike might be a generous term since, as a Colorado-raised girl, it was more of a nature walk.

Somehow this collection of trails turned itself into a maze as I met a new fork in the road around every corner. In those moments, I needed assistance. I could have used a sign naming the different paths, a simple trail marker, or something to indicate the difference between the abnormal amount of intersecting trails.

Hike Fork in the path

As members of the Learning & Development (L&D) team at your company, you are responsible for marking those trails for your employees. It is your responsibility to provide employees with the support they need to perform their jobs. But when exactly do your employees need that support?

That’s where Bob Mosher & Conrad Gottfredson’s 5 Moments of Need come in. The 5 Moments of Need framework helps your L&D team develop performance support assets that can assist employees at different moments in their jobs. 

At ScreenSteps — a knowledge base software company — we use the 5 Moments of Needs to help L&D teams provide their employees with performance and learning support. We do this by providing tools that make it easy to create and share help guides, workflows, and other documents.

Below, I explain how to identify the 5 different moments where you can support employees’ learning and performance.

What are the 5 Moments of Need?

The 5 Moments of Need framework was created to help L&D teams identify the learning opportunities for employees. It enables both traditional classroom training as well as workflow learning, where employees are empowered to learn while performing their jobs.

The 5 Moments are:

  1. Apply
  2. Solve
  3. Change
  4. New
  5. More

When you look at your training challenges through all of these 5 Moments of Need, your employees have a better chance at learning and understanding your company’s policies and procedures.

Here are the 5 Moments of Need and where they are used to provide training opportunities.

1. Apply

You use “Apply” when your employees need to apply the information and skills they learned in the past. Apply requires employees to have enough contextual knowledge on how to go about a task. Employees use resources to help them right at the moment they need to perform in their job.

2. Solve

When something goes wrong, employees need support resources to help them troubleshoot the problems. They use past experience and learning to figure out how to resolve the situation.

3. Change

In Change moments, employees have to unlearn old behaviors and adopt new behaviors or processes. This happens when you update policies or procedures in your company.

4. New

This is when you are teaching something new. Your employees don’t have any background knowledge or skills to build on. Here you help employees learn the core concepts of your business and develop a new skill set. The “New” Moment of Need is best categorized as onboarding a new employee.

5. More

The “More” Moment of Need is used when you are teaching someone who has some background on a subject, but who needs to expand their knowledge. When teaching someone More, you don't need to spend as much time filling in foundational concepts because they already understand them.

How you can provide support at a Moment of Need

The 5 Moments of Need provide in-the-moment training. Your employees can encounter these moments at any point in their workday. There are a variety of options for addressing these moments. Some of these options include:

  • Traditional classroom training
  • Virtual training
  • Links
  • Guides
  • Workflows
  • Checklists
  • PDFs
  • Decision trees
  • Self-serve courses

When you use the 5 Moments of Need, you aren't focusing on covering the information — you are focused on helping your employees do what they need to do.

When do they need this information? How are we going to help them perform? What's the task we really need them to do? What is the skill we need them to use?

That is why you want to focus on what you want your employees to accomplish and the simplest path to help them do that. Essentially, you are providing them with the bare necessities. Those simple instructions may mean they enter another moment of need.

For example, a call center agent could be helping a caller. When they pull up the customer's information they are in a moment of Apply. But then the caller doesn’t have their account number. The agent is now in a Solve moment as they try to help the customer find their account number.

By designing learning assets and performance support aids you can help the agent successfully perform in these situations.

The key is you are providing employees with the resources they need, when they need them so they can accomplish the goals your company has set.

Use the 5 Moments to extend your training beyond the classroom

Too many businesses use classroom training to address all 5 Moments. This puts too much of a burden on the trainer and requires too much memorization by the learner.

If you design performance support assets to support employees at the moments of Apply, Solve, and Change, then you can cover less information in your classroom training while improving training outcomes.

So, where do you begin to create learning resources for the moments of Apply, Solve, and Change?

At ScreenSteps, our knowledge base software helps address the 5 Moments of Need, specializing in Apply, Solve, and Change. It helps you create, store, and share documents to provide the in-the-moment support they need without having to recall what they were taught during a formal class.

Employees are initially trained on how to use ScreenSteps software. Then they are able to handle any task using the help guides you store in your ScreenSteps knowledge base. This is because your employees have the answers and assistance at their fingertips.

No matter if you have a knowledge base or simply want to create learning assets for your employees, here are tips on how you can create help guides to address all 5 of these Moments of Need.

How to Write 5 Moments of Need Articles

About Rebecca Lane

Content Marketing Manager