In traditional L&D, it’s common to see the majority of our efforts spent on times when our learners need to learn something for the first time. It could be a new technology rollout, a new process employees have to learn, or a new product line the company will be selling. We spend weeks, if not months, developing training around these changes, roll out said learning initiative and then boom, on to the next “new” effort without stopping to identify if our initiative even worked. 

As L&D professionals, we often tackle new learning challenges from the lens of what Mosher and Gottfredson, theorists behind the Five Moments of Learning Need, call the “New” Moment of Learning Need or learning something for the first time. Whether it’s a new technology or product-line, most learning professionals find it easiest and most time effective to develop a one-and-done blanket training, whether live or online, that covers basic fundamentals, functions, FAQs, etc. What this creates is a “goldilocks effect” – for some it’s too little, for others it’s too much, and for a handful of people, it’s just right. 

What if, instead of focusing on the first moment of learning, we expanded our lens into the other four moments and developed assets for our learners when and where they need them?

The Five Moments of Learning Need and The OK-LCD Surround Action

With the Five Moments of Learning Need, Mosher and Gottfredson saw the possibility for L&D to shift our focus from delivering only formal learning to playing a role in what they call “informal intentional learning” and even “informal unplanned learning.” What they noticed from their research was that traditional training wasn’t enough for the pace of change everyone was experiencing. To guide the design of informal intentional and unplanned learning, Mosher and Gottdredson focused on characterizing the situations in which employees needed to learn in to the following Five Moments of Learning Need:

Think about the last time you learned something, were you learning it for the first time? Was it something you have never heard of or done before? Or were you building upon something you already knew? Maybe it was something you already learned, and you just needed a refresher on the application of it. Did you need to solve a problem and find a quick solution? It could have even been something you already knew, but it was a new way of doing it. Based on your answer, you could have been in any of the moments of learning, and as you can imagine, the learning asset that helped you the most was most likely the one that suited your specific moment of learning need. 

From what you can gather, whether you are rolling out a new technology, putting a new policy in place, or revealing a new product-line, your audience will run the gambit between all five moments of learning need. In the Surround Action of the OK-LCD model we are able to create meaningful learning chunks and figure out how to get all these different chunks in front of the learners when, where and how they are most likely to need them. Let’s take a look at what surrounding learners with the right assets for their moment of need would look like for a new technology feature rollout:

In looking beyond the first moment of learning need, we are able to create persona-based learning clusters that not only save development time due to their streamlined design, but more importantly, create opportunities to give learners what they want in their specific moment of learning need. 

Thinking about your next learning initiative, how can you design learning with the Five Moments of Learning Need model in mind? How will you surround learners with learning assets where and when they need them? Join the conversation on LinkedIn.