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Harnessing the Five Moments of Need to Drive Technology Adoption

If you are in the Learning and Development (L&D) space, you may be familiar with The 5 Moments of Need® for creating and sustaining effective on-the-job performance of employees and work teams by Bob Mosher and Conrad Gottfredson. Over the years, many large organizations have embraced The 5 Moments of Need as an organizing framework for their learning solutions, and the approach continues to evolve over time. The model focuses on the five moments when employees need learning or performance support to do their jobs. These moments are when:

  • Employees need to learn something NEW.
  • Employees must APPLY what they’ve learned on the job.
  • There is a CHANGE to what the employee needs to do on the job.
  • Employees must SOLVE a problem and need help.
  • Employees want to learn MORE to do a new job or to do their job better.

Traditionally, learning solutions for technology adoption tend to focus on the NEW moment. Many organizations plan elaborate training solutions to get employees up to speed before go-live. Organizations may also provide employees with performance support (help) content that they can use as they APPLY what they have learned on the job. However, often the moments of CHANGE and SOLVE are not part of the learning solution, and employees are left on their own to try to learn MORE in the future.

In his article, “Becoming an Effective Learner in the Age of Digital Evolution,” GP Strategies’ Matt Donovan talks about the need for a range of resources to be able to meet learners’ five needs, explaining that, “Developing a range of resources requires a learning network, and learners need to think strategically about their networks. These networks need to include support for innovation and skills mastery.” So, a network is needed, but what does that look like? Back in the Before Times, it might have looked like a group of people working together in a common physical work space. Having colleagues available was a convenient way to get help SOLVING a problem or learning MORE. Currently, many of us do not have this option.

Fortunately, new technologies have emerged that provide companies with new and creative ways of extending their solutions to meet the five moments. In fact, solutions are extending beyond what Donovan refers to as a learning network to meet even broader needs of the organization. Digital Adoption Platforms (DAPs) now offer capabilities that meet The 5 Moments of Need for employees while also driving business results for employers. For example:

  • NEW learning can be integrated into the flow of work to address knowledge gaps at the time of need. Rather than forcing everyone to take learning before go-live, organizations can use DAPs to ensure employees receive training at the time they need to perform tasks.
  • DAPs’ context-sensitive help capabilities can ensure that learners have access to the right performance support content at the right time as they APPLY what they have learned on the job.
  • As systems and processes CHANGE, DAP solutions can push new learning and performance support content to employees, effectively eliminating the need for formal training as Cloud updates are rolled out.
  • In the absence of the colleague next door, employees are challenged to find assistance when they need to SOLVE problems. DAPs now offer the opportunity to facilitate problem solving through threaded discussions, distributed content authoring, and other knowledge facilitation.
  • The last challenge for DAPs is to support employees’ needs for MORE learning. In many cases, organizations rely on a learning management system to fill this role, but as the format for learning evolves beyond the traditional course (classroom or eLearning), DAPs provide excellent capabilities to provide this learning at the time of need. In addition, learning can be pushed out based on data collected by the DAP related to content usage or data provided from other sources, such as enterprise systems.

What I find most promising in looking at digital adoption platforms and The 5 Moments of Need is the promise of DAP technology to reframe the conversation about how we support employees who are adopting new technology. Mosher and Gottfredson recognize that the five moments are really about performance support, not learning—what does the employee need to do their job?

Looking at DAPs through the lens of performance support, not learning, there are many interesting opportunities. For example, many DAPs now include guided performance, where the DAP technology walks users through task performance. Other DAPs provide robotic process automation (RPA) capabilities, freeing employees to work on more value-added activities by automating basic job tasks. While some of these capabilities are still on the development roadmap, others are available today. Keeping them in mind as you are thinking about how to drive adoption of new technology will help keep you ahead of the curve as you design your user adoption solution.

About the Authors

Linda Lamppert

Linda Lamppert has worked for over twenty-five years in the field of human performance technology helping clients improve the overall performance of their organizations and employees. In addition to a strong background in instructional systems design, she has over twenty years of experience designing and delivering solutions for companies implementing traditional ERP and cloud-based systems. Linda’s solutions typically include blended learning approaches, training and systems documentation, online performance support, documentation of policies and procedures, business process reengineering, and change management. Most recently, she has been focusing on the people-related challenges associated with global process and system transformations as well as integration of mobile and micro learning strategies to streamline platform adoption.