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5 Moments of Learning Need


This post was originally posted on the GovLoop blog on August 19, 2015. View the original here.

How many times have you read something, or taken a training, and almost immediately forgotten what you learned?

Don’t feel too bad! The fact of the matter is that we lose 77% of what we learned within 48 hours. Fortunately, there are proven ways to help you retain knowledge.

Research from Bob Mosher & Conrad Gottfredson shows that there are five moments of learning need that capture both formal and informal learning tracks and needs. These learning moments help you move from competency to mastery of a subject area by combining formal, informal, social and real-time learning strategies.

New & More
The first two occurrences refer to formal learning procedures, when you are learning something for the first time or learning “more” (i.e. advanced training).

In the workplace, an example of “new” is employee orientation training. You may have a combination of e-learning courses (think required security training) and instructor-led classes (from a manager or colleague).

“More” training will occur when you need to learn additional skills/processes in the workplace. For instance, there is legislation that requires new supervisors to take a refresher training every couple years. The same is true for Contracting Officers Representatives (CORs) in government.

The other three moments of learning refer to informal learning opportunities.

Let’s say you went through a training on how to do a task and now you actually have to do it on the job. You have to apply what you’ve learned in real-time, but if you can’t remember something small, you need to look up how to do it again. Wiki pages, quick reference guides or user manuals are all tools to help you succeed.

When GovLoop works with government agencies to develop training, we also try to make those learning experiences as relevant and applicable as possible. For instance, we designed a multi-week online training where innovation teams learned about a portion of an implementation plan each week, then worked collaboratively to write that section together.

Coping with change is a major challenge for learning. Strategies to learn in times of change include in-person and online communications (conversations, emails, press releases, chats, brown bags, Q&A sessions) and mentoring or coaching.

We might also recommend that you leverage our courses on GovLoop Academy in this way. If your boss asks you to step into a new role where you will be regularly briefing a project team, you may want to watch our Public Speaking course. If your job is starting to feel overwhelming or you are getting an itch to make a shift in your career, you’ll also find courses on ProductivityWork-Life Balance and Self Awareness.

How does one respond when faced with a problem at work? Learning needs to happen with routine problems and random malfunctions. Typical learning tools used are a help desk or coaching, quick reference guides, emergency protocols, or online troubleshooting systems.

The five moments of learning equate to numerous training opportunities. In addition to formal training, informal training is important to help retain knowledge. At GovLoop, we offer different formats of information to help people in their quest for knowledge. Here’s a breakdown of our resources you can use.


If you’re a training or learning professional, remember the words of Seymour Papert from MIT: “You can’t teach people everything they need to know… The best you can do is position them where they can find what they need to know when they need to know it.”

And remember, GovLoop has tons of resources (all for FREE!) to help you with your learning needs!