The ‘Moments of Need’ Model explained

There are a lot of different situations in which your employees need training or support from the learning and development staff. The choice between training or performance support depends on the situation. Bob Mosher and Conrad Gottfredson defined five “Moments of Need”:

  1. NEW: when you use something for the first time
  2. MORE: when you want to learn more about a subject (deeper or broader knowledge)
  3. APPLY: when you apply what you’ve learned
  4. SOLVE: when you encounter a problem
  5. CHANGE: when you need to do something in a new way

Formal training

The first two moments of need will be primarily fulfilled by formal training. Formal training can include instructor led trainings, e-learning, … As you can see in the image below, you need to stimulate the transfer from the learning situation to the real work situation to achieve on-the-job competence.

Image 1. Learning to competency

Image 1. Learning to competency

The red area in the chart is the knowledge learned in those formal training sessions. As you can see the knowledge rapidly decreases if it’s not used after the training. The knowledge needs to be transferred to the work situation. You can address this issue in the formal training so the transfer is easier to make. You can do this in two ways:

  • Get as close as possible to the work situation in your training sessions.
  • Explicitly ask how the new knowledge/skill will be used in the work situation.

Performance support

After the formal training, in the ‘transfer’ and ‘sustain’ parts of the chart, you can support the transfer through a performance support system. This system can be as simple as a number of Quick Reference Cards for certain procedures or can be as large as a complete service desk that’s available 24/7. However large your system is, it’s important to keep the performance support documents up-to-date, because your employees will use these in four moments of need: more, apply, solve and change. That makes it at least as important as the formal training.

Let us guide you

As learning consultants, we can assist you in guiding and supporting your employees in all five moments of need. We can support you in all types of training and development activities like developing and delivering formal training (ILT, e-learning…), creating and implementing a performance support system …


  • Mosher & C. Gottfredson. (2011) Innovative Performance Support: Strategies and Practices for Learning in the Workflow. MacGraw-Hill Companies.
  • Learning Solutions Magazine


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