Businesses value employees who are able to independently learn, make decisions, and perform their jobs effectively. In the past, traditional learning methods such as instructor-led training might have been satisfactory for setting employees up for success. This is no longer the case.
Today, continuous learning during daily business activities is essential. It’s the fuel behind the long-term productivity and development of employees.
So why aren’t more companies providing learning opportunities that fit seamlessly into their employees’ workdays?
Many organizations still use learning solutions that take employees out of their workflow. Some use a mixed approach by combining eLearning modules, personal instruction, and on-the-job training. This mixed approach still removes employees from their day-to-day work. Employees are challenged with transferring information and skills from traditional training to their often very different work tasks.
There’s a better way to provide ongoing training, and it involves identifying employees’ moments of learning need.
What Are the 5 Moments of Learning Need?
Conrad Gottfredson and Bob Mosher discuss the “Five Moments of Learning Need” in a Learning Solutions Magazine article. These are needs that businesses should satisfy in order to help employees apply their knowledge, solve problems, and easily adjust to changes in the organization. They are:
- New– Learning something for the first time.
- More– Expanding on what has been learned.
- Apply– Acting upon what has been learned. This can include planning, remembering, or adapting.
- Solve– Using knowledge to solve a problem in a situation when something didn’t work out as expected.
- Change– Learning a new way of doing something. This requires giving up practices that are comfortable for practices that are new and unknown.
So, how can business leaders provide learning tools that will help employees be productive in all of these “learning moments” at different times?
The 5 Moments of Learning Need in Action
The first two moments of need (“new” and “more”) can most likely be satisfied through traditional learning solutions. However, it is very likely that more learning will occur at the moment of “apply,” when employees can learn while completing daily tasks and are not forced to stray from their normal workflow. Social knowledge networks are often used as a real-time resource for applied learning, providing answers and information whenever and wherever employees need them.
Of course, learning how to complete a task correctly isn’t enough. Employees must be confident in their knowledge in order to solve unanticipated problems. More importantly, when employees are unsure of the solution to a problem, they should know where to find the information they need. A social knowledge network empowers employees to solve arising problems quickly by learning from one another’s mistakes and successes.
The final moment of learning need, “change,” might be the most challenging to fulfill. When organizations face change, employees are often uncomfortable abandoning what worked in the past. Letting go of what is comfortable and adapting to something new can be a very different process for every individual.
The best way to allow employees to dive into the change is to encourage them to learn and adapt in their own workflow. A social knowledge network can be a tool for transitioning by sharing information about the change. When an individual employee’s knowledge becomes the knowledge of all, change throughout the organization can occur faster and more easily.
Individuals become stronger assets when they are able to learn, solve problems, and make changes on their own by finding answers and gaining hands-on experience. This kind of active learning requires that employees have instant access to a resource with up-to-date, useful, and accurate information and solutions. Providing a tool like this for your employees can be a great way to meet these five moments of learning need.