Vocabulary Matters

This blog is excerpted from the Performance Matters Podcast. In this episode Bob and co-host, Conrad Gottfredson, sit down to discuss words. Particularly they talk “workflow learning” and “the 5 moments of need” and how these fit together into the larger performance-first picture. Listen to the full episode for definitions on targeted training and the EnABLE methodology.

Bob Mosher (BM): Welcome back to another Performance Matters podcast Bob Mosher here. And once again, I'm honored to be joined by my dear friend, colleague, mentor and hero in my life, Dr. Con Gottfredson. Con, how are you?

Con Gottfredson (CG): As always, it's great to be with you and to be able to discuss with the rest of the world some important thoughts.

BM: This episode is going to be categorized under the Methodology Matters series, because it's time for a stake in ground. In preparation for our ebook, which was released in July, we read our work from the past 10+ years and what we saw as our thinking evolve, as did the use of our vocabulary. The exciting part is that the word, or words, “workflow learning” are on the rise. It's becoming a global dialogue if you will. And of course, with those dialogues comes the blurring of words and the blurring of understanding.

So, we thought we would use this platform to take a step back and really break down some relationships and some confusion.

Let’s start with ourselves.

We were the performance support guys, Con, I don't know if you remember this back when we started this years and years ago. We even have a performance support community that we sponsor, but we were known as the PS, or the performance support guys. And we've kind of moved a bit beyond that, haven't we, in our thinking and understanding of that discipline?

CG: For sure, we stepped into performance support, because there was a gap. But it was important for us to also understand there's more than performance support when it comes to the 5 Moments of Need framework. And that’s what has always driven us, the 5 Moments of Need framework, we've just had to focus on areas where there were holes or gaps in our knowledge and understanding. And because we sometimes focused in on an area, it appeared that that was the only thing that was important to us; when in reality, the 5 Moments of Need and the entire world of Learning and Performance is important to us across those 5 Moments.

BM: Yeah, it's interesting, because that's where we saw the weakest muscle. I know it was mine when I came out of a training mindset. And I was migrating towards a performance first mindset.

So, let's talk about three labels to start this off: “the 5 Moments of Need”, “workflow learning”, and “performance support”, because those are at a high level independent but also, they stand self-reliant. Want to talk through those a little bit Con?

CG: Yes, let's do so.

The 5 Moments is a framework, it's always been a framework. It's a framework that was very helpful to me early on in my professional career. And we found that it's something that can help guide the range of what our view needs to be. And that's why we're not just performance support, performance support is certainly crucial at the moment of Apply, at the moment of Solve, and at the moment of Change, performance support is there. But it's not the only player that needs to be on the field. Certainly, our formal learning needs to be a part of that as well.

So, what I found, and what actually brought about the 5 Moments of Need, was that I was so focused in on learning New, and to some degree learning More, that I had lost sight of the moments of Apply, Solve and Change. And so, this is a framework to help us understand the scope of what we need to do. And then to help guide us as we've looked for the holes in our strategies, and how we go about ensuring that people perform effectively on the job and in ever-changing environments.

BM: And we have been very careful to emphasize that you design from the moment of Apply back, you don't get mired in that training first mentality, designing training, and then backfilling with a job aid or whatever you want to do.

Ok, let's move into “workflow learning”.

CG: Well, “workflow learning” is learning while working. And this is crucial distinction, because there are folks today who think that workflow learning is simply a micro-learning pushed into the workflow. And that's it. They believe if you can deliver a small e-learning module in the workflow, you then have workflow learning. But, it's learning as you actually do your work, that's at the heart of workflow learning, that's what it is.

And we found our way to this true workflow learning through the discipline of performance support. We look at the 5 Moments and we know, we have the moments of Apply, Solve and Change, and then Learn New and Learn More actually happen in the flow of work.

BM: So, workflow learning, let's dissect it. It is embedding learning and support in the workflow, while doing work. It's not available in an LMS, it literally is understanding and analyzing the workflow and embedding a tool, like performance support or an EPSS, in the workflow itself.

So, workflow learning is during those moments of apply, transfer, and sustain. And training is also still available. And, this can all be designed into performance support, or an EPSS.

So, we've got the 5 Moments of Need framework.

We've got workflow learning as a part of meeting three of those, but as you said, it can actually encompass all 5 of the Moments of Need.

And at the lower end of the food chain here, if you will, it's enabled through the design of performance support as a discipline and an EPSS as one of the potential tools.

CG: That's right. And, you know, Bob, leaners have always had, or done, workflow learning. It's just been haphazard. Because we haven't stepped into that arena, we've just left everything up to chance. But learners are remarkable, and they fight their way through it.  The problem is that it's inefficient, mistakes are made, and so forth. And so, what the discipline of performance support allows us to do, when we design it properly and deliver it with the right technologies, is to support that at their moment of need. Then we can be very systematic and intentional in supporting workflow learning in a more efficient and much more effective way.

Listen to the full episode for more vocabulary words explained by hosts Bob and Con.

Subscribe to The Performance Matters Podcast to stay up-to-date on all the latest conversations and guests in The 5 Moments space. You may also download our latest ebook for free here.

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