“Our aim is to make sure, together with the citizens of Amsterdam, that it is and remains an attractive capital.” That’s a great challenge for the employees of the City of Amsterdam, where an important spearhead is training employees and helping them to develop in their career. This is provided within the City of Amsterdam by the Amsterdam School. The Amsterdam School is the city’s centralized education department, and it supports employees and leaders in developing knowledge and skills.

Gemeente Amsterdam Logo

Lienke Govaars, continuous education and improvement advisor at the Amsterdam School: “At the Amsterdam School, we follow the 70:20:10 principle in our work.” This method assumes that 10% of what you learn comes from training, 20% from others (for example, through coaching on the job), and 70% simply by doing the work – so, from experience. Lienke: “We found out that we were focusing the most on that 20 and 10% with our training and coaching. And so we looked for a way to do more with that 70% – learning at and during work.”

The Amsterdam School’s question

Lienke: “So our question was very concrete: how can we offer more and better support to employees during work? With information that is relevant to them at that moment?”

During a lecture by Bob Mosher about the 5 Moments of Need® methodology, a colleague of Lienke’s came into contact with Xprtise. Lienke: “The 5 Moments of Need® model is based on 5 moments when employees are learning and thereby need information. This information can be offered in different ways. What I’ve seen so far is that there are many providers of methods or resources in particular. But a resource alone is not the solution. It’s much more interesting for us to look at the whole: how do you offer a complete learning package based on those 5 moments? And how do you ‘orchestrate’ all those different resources (classical learning, e-learning, tests, etc.) into a nice, effective offer to learn? Nobody ever offered me that until we came into contact with Xprtise.”

“Our question was very concrete: how can we offer more and better support during work? Whereas many learning solution providers are inclined to immediately offer a resource for this purpose, Xprtise looks much more broadly at how you can develop a complete (workplace) learning package based on the 5 Moments of Need®.”

An approach to arrive at a new workplace learning solution

To examine how the Amsterdam School can use the 5 Moments of Need® methodology to facilitate the “70” component, learning in the workplace, two different departments were chosen for an experiment: the Subsidy Office and the Enforcement Office. Lienke: “We chose the Subsidy Office and the Enforcement Office because those two departments work in a very different way. The Subsidy Office works in an office environment, mostly behind computers, whereas the Enforcement Office focuses on the outside and works on the street. You can imagine that the employees of both departments have totally different learning needs during work.”

Xprtise’s approach then consisted of several steps:

  • The organization of two master classes to teach the departments’ decision-makers about the 5 Moments of Need® principle and what could soon be done within the Subsidy Office and the Enforcement Office.
  • Analysis workshops with both offices to identify the current processes, to look at employees’ tasks and roles, and to determine which are critical and what information and knowledge is necessary to fulfill them.
  • The development of a proof of concept in which the necessary information and knowledge is incorporated in a first Performance Support draft.
  • The organization of an Experience Lab to inform the City of Amsterdam’s employees about the new learning strategies, and to show them how four other companies have set up Performance Support and how that works.
  • A demonstration of the developed Performance Support for both offices.

A “go” from both the Subsidy Office and the Enforcement Office to start using the developed Performance Support as a pilot.

The result so far

Lienke: “Providing Performance Support is the addition to the ‘70’ component that we were looking for at the Amsterdam School, and I’m therefore also happy that we’ll be running the two pilots for the Subsidy Office and the Enforcement Office after summer.”

Why the Subsidy Office?

Lienke: “We chose the Subsidy Office because it’s the right moment for this department to innovate. If we offer more support in this workplace, the error margin in the current subsidy trajectory will decrease. Namely, we use a single municipal subsidy system, but if you don’t know how something in that system works (for instance because you haven’t done it in a while), then we don’t have any support besides a thick handbook. It’ll be nice to have Performance Support soon to lead you through it the moment you need that.”

Why the Enforcement Office?

Lienke: “The employees at the Enforcement Office have to have a lot of knowledge at their disposal, but with so many (special) laws and regulations, it makes sense that you don’t remember everything equally well. Performance Support, in the form of a PDA, for instance, makes learning on the street very accessible because you can look something up quickly. Thus, enforcers can do their work better and faster without always having to go to a classroom to be trained.”

Gemeente Amsterdam Richting

The next step

The pilots at the Subsidy Office and Enforcement Office will start with a baseline measurement after summer. This will be followed by another measurement and an assessment of how often Performance Support is consulted, whether fewer mistakes are made at work, whether fewer questions are asked, etc. Lienke: “Based on the results, we can write a good business case for our new workplace learning solutions. The next step will then be to discuss the business case with the MT of the Amsterdam School to decide together whether to roll out this way of workplace learning within the City of Amsterdam.”

In addition, nine employees of the Amsterdam School will follow the 5 Moments of Need® Designer training. During this training, the employees will learn how to design and develop workplace solutions themselves. Lienke: “We’ve entered into this whole trajectory with Xprtise because as the Amsterdam School, we also want to develop and innovate in terms of learning. We want to stay up to date and move forward with how we can best bring ‘learning’ to people. It’ll be great to get together with a team of nine people ‘in house’ to develop a nice learning palette that brings together e-learning, classical training, Performance Support, and perhaps other tools or resources.”


  • 2 departments
  • 4 analysis days
  • >15 experts in the field developing together
  • 10 processes
  • 60 tasks
  • >30 existing educational materials
  • >100 topics in the current performance support system Askdelphi
  • 2 Proofs of Concept
  • Many enthusiastic reactions from colleagues
Stadsloket Gemeente Amsterdam 300X169

Would you also like to get started with the 5 Moments of Need® methodology?

Are you an L&D professional and would you, like Nienke from the City of Amsterdam, like to innovate in the area of learning and get started with the 5 Moments of Need® methodology?
Then get in touch with us.

“Xprtise’s approach is a journey of exploration for me, where we’re really working together. The collaboration is pleasant and informal, and it really feels like we’re ‘partners in crime’, rather than them being the advisor and provider.”

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