5 Moments of Need

The Journey from Framework to Deliverable with the 5 Moments of Need

Published On: June 13th, 2024
The Journey from Framework to Deliverable with the 5 Moments of Need

Written By: Bob Mosher, Founding Partner and Chief Learning Evangelist, APPLY Synergies

I was recently approached by a conference attendee who graciously thanked me for my presentation around the 5 Moments of Need (5 MoN) and Workflow Learning (WFL). They proudly announced, “I’ve heard you speak before and just wanted you to know that we’ve been doing 5 MoN at our company for years now.” I’ve heard this one before, so I pushed her a bit to better understand what she meant. Her response was very troubling: “We’ve taken all of our eLearning content and broken it down into microlearning chunks and made them available at the learner’s moment of need.” Oh boy, the old “at the moment of need” statement!

We get this one a lot! Although I greatly appreciated her enthusiasm, she was highly misinformed around the journey between the framework that is 5 MoN and its deliverables.  I feel that I’m partly to blame. I’ve been speaking at conferences across the globe on the 5 MoN for years now and clearly have not been as specific as I’ve needed to be. Let me clarify that 5 MoN is not something you do! It’s a framework of overarching workflow learning and performance support design principles: not a set of deliverables for an L&D team to create. That distinction makes all the difference! Let me elaborate…

As shown in the graphic above, there are 4 key words we need to understand to ultimately make any instructional approach work, and there’s a hierarchy involved. Let me take a stab at this, with some helpful definitions quoted from Webster’s Dictionary, and I’d love to hear your feedback:

  1. Framework: This is the broadest of the 4 categories. A framework is defined as a basic conceptional structure (as of ideas)”. Its main purpose is to provide understanding vs. doing. We know plenty of frameworks in our industry: 70:20:10, Kirkpatrick and Phillips 5 Levels of Evaluation, etc. Understanding 5 MoN isn’t enough to enable you to design 5 MoN solutions, but it’s an important step in that process and, as many of you know, Dr. Conrad Gottfredson and I have spent the past 20+ years trying to help our industry and those we serve understand it! One of the advantages of a well-articulated framework is that most anyone, L&D or otherwise, can understand it. That’s step one on the road to “doing”.  The below graphic depicts the current 5 MoN framework:
  2. Discipline: A discipline is “a rule or system of rules governingconduct or activity”. In L&D’s case, these are the rules governing the design approach(es) we use. To take 5 MoN closer to doing, we need to follow 2 instructional disciplines: Workflow Learning (what used to be Performance Support) and Training. WFL and Training have distinct rules that make one unique from the other. Most understand Training, but Workflow Learning has been widely misunderstood. Here’s our current description: “Workflow Learning is embedding learning and support in the workflow to be accessed WHILE working supporting all 5 Moments of Need.”
  3. Methodology: Now we’re getting into the heart of it. A methodology is “a body of methods, rules, and postulates employed by a discipline a particular procedure or set of procedures.” It operationalizes the discipline(s) we’re using. There are methodologies to design WFL, and there are methodologies to design Training. For example, many of you may be familiar with ADDIE – Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, and Evaluate. In the case of 5 MoN, we follow a design methodology known as EnABLE (outlined below).  ADDIE alone does not create 5 MoN deliverables.  It’s a subset of the EnABLE methodology, but it’s not enough.
  4. Deliverable: Now we’re talking!! This is DOING a 5 MoN solution, and probably the most misunderstood aspect of this framework. A deliverable is “to hand over a product to another that produces the promised, desired, or expected results.” L&D’s performance impact on the businesses we support is measured here—not at any level above this. We have done a terrible job of understanding this definition when it comes to Training alone. We have unfairly tried to tie Training to performance results, and that’s just not possible. In the 5 MoN framework, we produce 2 deliverables: Targeted Training and a Digital Coach. Targeted Training meets moments 1 (New) and 2 (More), but it does not support the moments of Apply, Change, and Solve in the workflow. A Digital Coach is at the heart of the deliverables for these three moments and it is the first thing we design using the EnABLE methodology. This allows Targeted Training to do what it does best: take employees away from their work to learn tasks that have a critical outcome if done incorrectly. (More on both of these deliverables in other resources I’ll outline below).

Hopefully this clarifies why “taking all of our eLearning content and breaking it down into microlearning chunks” is NOT “doing” 5 MoN!  5 MoN is one of the most powerful frameworks I’ve ever known, but knowing isn’t doing. Frameworks aren’t enough. We need to work through the layers of understanding and application outlined above, which make 5 MoN the approach that L&D should be applying to all our work if we want to have a measurable impact on performance!


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