Saturday, July 25, 2009

Pointing to the Five Moments of Learning Need

By Jay Lambert

I can remember a project a few years ago where the subject matter expert (SME) fought and fought to include his 20-step process (complete with details and charts) in the course we were developing. He eventually persuaded his boss and won out, so we built the process into the course. Feedback from the learners was not positive and ranged from comments like "what is this and why in the world would I need to know it" on down to, shall we say, less positive remarks.

Obviously a better needs analysis should have been conducted.

And so upon further investigation, the truth of the matter finally came out. Only a small percentage of people really needed to know the full details of the process; most just needed to know that it existed. The course should have simply provided a brief introduction and a link to where to find more information on the company's intranet if necessary. But the SME was so enamored with what he had created that he wanted to share his joy with the rest of the world.

I'm sure that most of you have encountered the same SME.

There are two purposes to this story. The first is to highlight again how important it is to understand what content really needs to make its way into an eLearning course and what is just extra "nice to know." The second purpose is to ask ourselves what should become of that "nice to know" content.

This is where Bob Mosher and Conrad Gottfredson’s great research on their
Performance Support Blog comes in. They've identified 'Five Moments of Learning Need' and matched these needs to their most effective delivery method. Not surprisingly, only two of the five needs call for training development.
Gottfredson’s 'Five Moments of Learning Need'
Note that only Needs 1 and 2 ("when learning for the first time" and "when learning more") require training. The rest is simply information that people need to know at a specific time -- the "what if this happens" scenario. Deeper dive information, such as in-depth details of a process, certainly falls into Need 3 ("when remembering and/or applying what's been learned"). This content can be presented as job aids, as part of an electronic performance support system (EPSS), or simply housed on the company intranet somewhere as long as people know where to find it when they need to do so.

The Moments of Learning Need came in handy recently when we encountered the same SME (different person, but same approach).

After determining that the eLearning course's objective was to provide a reasonable overview and then knowledge of where to go for more information as learners need it, we pulled out the Moments of Learning Need as part of our discussion/intervention with the SME. And he accepted it (people like documented research). The extra details were put on to the company intranet where they could easily be maintained and referenced. And a nice targeted course was developed that included an activity of how to find the extra details when necessary. This is all the learners needed and thankfully all they received.

We'll definitely be keeping the Moments of Learning Need document close by.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Google Calendar in Lectora

by Jonathan Shoaf

I'm a big fan of Google and I use Google's online applications on a daily basis. I've found the Google Calendar to be easy to use and easy to access at home, at work, and on the go. When I was recently asked to teach a class on how to use Google Calendar I started thinking about how to integrate it with Lectora. Having a calendar in your training can be useful for a variety of reasons. Embedding a calendar in your Lectora training can be done through Lectora's External HTML object. This lesson shows you how to do this.


This lesson assumes you have a Google Account and that you have created a Google Calendar. To set up an account go to

1. Start in Lectora

First, create a blank project in Lectora or create a new page in an existing project.

2. Grab Code Snippet from Google Calendar

Log-in to Google Calendar. Click on the down arrow next to the calendar you want to embed in Lectora.

In calendar settings, scroll down the the Embed This Calendar section. You could use the code in the text box to embed the calendar in the Lectora project. However, we want to customize the code so that it is the correct size for our project. Click on the link Customize the color, size, and other options.

For this project the width should be adjusted to 600 and the height should be adjusted to 450 so that the calendar will fit correctly on the Lectora page.

When you have entered the width and height, click Update HTML then select and copy the code from the text box (see below). You will paste this code in Lectora in an upcoming step.

3. Paste Code Snippet into Lectora

Go back to the Lectora program. From the Add menu choose Object then External HTML. You'll see the following dialog box.

Give the object a name, in this case "Google Calendar". The object type should be set to "Other". Next is the important part. Paste the code block from Google Calendar in to the text box for Custom HTML.

Next, go to the Position and Size tab to adjust the width and height. Based on the settings we gave the calendar in Google, the width should be 600 and the height 450. Click OK to accept the changes.

Finally, position the External HTML in your Lectora project. You should see something similar to the following screen shot. Notice the Google Calendar is not visible in edit mode. It will not be visible until it is previewed in a web browser.

4. Preview in a Web Browser

Previewing the project in a web browser will result in something similar to the following screen shot. The calendar is interactive so the user can change the date, view mode, and see details on events.