The Five Moments of Need

Performance support professionals understand that there is no “one best” method of delivering training.  In addition, an individual’s requirements for that support changes over time based on the circumstances in which they find themselves.  Effective performance support recognizes the need to tailor delivery methods for maximum returns.  In their research into performance support and the changing needs of learners, Bob Mosher and Dr. Conrad Gottfredson have identified what they term “The Five Moments of Need”, and they offer their insights into the best methods to match those needs with the most effective delivery for that moment in time.

Mosher and Gottfredson’s Five Moments of Need:

  1. When learning for the first time
  2. When wanting to learn more
  3. When trying to remember and/or applying what has been learned
  4. When something goes wrong
  5. When something changes

These moments are grouped into two phases, the Acquisition of Knowledge, and the Application of Knowledge.    The first and second Moments of Need, when learning for the first time, and when wanting to learn more, are associated with the Acquisition of Knowledge, and Mosher and Gottfredson offer that these needs are aligned with the more traditional formal, structured, learning methods of including instructor-led training, and web-based training.  In the remaining three Moments of Need, learners benefit more from performance support methods, including just-in-time information, job aids, mobile performance support solutions, FAQs and other less formal learning approaches.

The challenge we face is to evaluate the effectiveness of our training programs to consider ALL 5 Moments of Need, and respond with the most effective and efficient solutions when and where they are needed.  We often do not identify a weakness in our approach until employees consume valuable resources from colleagues or the help desk because they do not have the correct type of performance support for that moment.  A well designed and executed performance support system delivers the correct amount of training, at the correct time, in the correct format to meet you’re the specific needs of your business, and maximizes the return on your training solution investment.

How are you using uPerform to meet these moments of need for your end users?

“You can’t teach people everything they need to know. The best you can do is position them where they can find what they need to know when they need to know it.” Seymour Papert, Ph.D.