Workflow Learning: Enabling The 5 Moments of Need

Learning and Development (L&D) is being pressured more and more to show a return on investment (ROI) for the dollars spent in “training.” The only way we’ll ever be able to truly show ROI is by moving our efforts and deliverables into the workflow, where measurable impact occurs.

In this webinar, Bob Mosher, CEO and Chief Learning Evangelist of APPLY Synergies, a 5 Moments of Need company, discussed the methodology behind The 5 Moments of Need and Workflow Learning (learning while doing), and how it can help us have a different level of conversation with those we serve—while helping us influence the effectiveness of the business in remarkable ways.

Watch the recording below to see all Bob’s examples.

Why Does Workflow Learning Matter?

Based on years of surveying learners, Bob has determined that the top ways workers learn are:

  • Trial and error in the workflow
  • On-the-job training
  • Coaching
  • Mentoring

If your learning deliverables don’t include any of those methods, you’re missing key ways to support your learners.

But how do you go about implementing workflow learning?

How Can You Approach Workflow Learning

First, you need to shift your mindset and approach training differently. Don't let a stakeholder say "We need 5 days of training on this." and create a lengthy course covering EVERYTHING. The traditional perception of training needs to change by hosting a different dialogue.

Second, understand that ADDIE doesn’t create workflow learning. You need a new design approach.

And finally, when it comes to workflow learning and performance support, governance and maintenance of content are essential. You need to work with the subject matter experts to ensure that everything stays up to date. No one wants to look up a process at the moment of need and find a year-old, outdated job aid.

Benefits of Workflow Learning



When performance support is embedded into the workflow, training time is cut in half, workers achieve competency faster, and they can sustain continuous improvement long-term.

What IS Workflow Learning?

Workflow learning is embedded learning and support in the workflow to be accessed while doing the work.

This is done by designing performance support and an EPSS (electronic performance support system) as a complement to targeted training

What is an EPSS?

"An orchestrated set of electronic services that provide on-demand access to integrated information, guidance, advice, assistance, training, and tools to enable high-level job performance with a minimum of support from other people.”

Gloria Gery

Designing for the 5 Moments of Need

The 5 moments of need can be broken down like this:

Formal Instruction

1. When learning for the first time
2. When wanting to learn more.

Performance Support

3. Why trying to apply and/or remember
4. When something goes wrong
5. When something changes

In order to effectively create performance support materials, you need to understand your learners’ day-to-day workflow, you need to know which skills have the most critical impact, and have an organized plan of the entire learning experience and performance plan.

4 Workflow Learning Design Principles

  1. Embedded in the workflow and readily available at the moment of apply
  2. Contextual according to specific roles and varying access needs
  3. Just enough in the form needed to effectively perform inside the business process
  4. Trusted and curated content to support a common language and enable meaning and reliable performance

Implementing workflow learning requires a different approach—and doesn’t mean you need to completely give up formal instructional design and eLearning—but can provide great benefits to your learners.


We can help you deliver personalized training, performance support, and curated content from subject matters. Contact us to learn more about the Rockstar Learning Platform or sign up for a free account.