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Just In Time Learning: Practical Guide For Enterprises

Rachel Maltese
Updated June 15 2021
Just in time learning
Rachel Maltese
Updated June 15 2021

For most of us, our early experiences with formal learning focused on accumulating knowledge in an order decided by our parents, teachers, and schools. And, when we asked what the purpose of a particular skill was, there wasn’t always a ready answer, but many of us did ultimately grow into adults with at least an occasional use for algebra.

While it was essential that our childhood schooling provided us with lots of information all at once, learning new skills as an adult can – and often should – be approached differently. Especially in the workplace.

 

Jump to:

 

 

What Is Just-in-Time Learning?

Just in time learning is a strategy for corporate training and learning in the enterprise. Unlike structured or scheduled training, just-in-time learning doesn’t occupy an employee’s valuable time with training activities until relevant to their job role. Not only does just-in-time learning frame training as a need-based activity, but it also promotes the idea that training be readily available exactly when the employee needs it. That way, an employee doesn’t have to waste time waiting for training, just as they also don’t have to waste time with training that isn’t relevant to them. Just in time learning helps to encourage meaningful professional development along deeply individualized paths.

 

 

Why Is Just-in-Time Learning Important for Your Organization?

There are many ways in which Just in Time learning can benefit your employees and enterprise.

 

  1. Just In Time Learning Increases Efficiency

Because just in time learning focuses on skills on an as-needed basis only, it can help both your staff and your company be more efficient. Just in time learning ensures that no employee has to sit through training that isn’t relevant to their job, reducing wasted training hours. Additionally, because just in time learning happens immediately at the point a skill is needed, employees are more readily able to retain information. Work tasks reinforce the training and less time and money has to be spent refreshing training and skills.

 

  1. Just In Time Learning Reduces Information Overload

Information overload is a problem for everyone in our modern, 24/7, perpetually online world. Reducing information overload for employees is a key way for enterprises to boost workplace satisfaction and get the most out of their staff. Just in time learning allows employees to stay focused on specific work tasks they know they will be responsible for. This helps to reduce cognitive load and improve overall performance.

 

  1. Just In Time Learning Boosts Employee Engagement

Just in time learning empowers employees to ask for what they need to do their jobs and develop their careers. Additionally, just in time learning means your staff never has to sit through a training session that isn’t relevant to them. Combined, this means that employees experience a workplace that values their time, responsibilities, and skills. In turn, this can boost employee loyalty, commitment, and work ethic.

 

  1. Just In Time Learning Saves Money

With all this talk of efficiency and commitment, it should be clear by now that just in time learning can save your enterprise money. With just-in-time learning, training dollars don’t go to waste by training employees in skills they’ll never use. Similarly, employee hours (which you’re paying for!) are never wasted by spending time on irrelevant training. Just in time learning is inherently cost-effective.

 

  1. Just In Time Learning Gets Results

Perhaps most importantly, just in time learning gets measurable results as employees use their new skills almost immediately. This allows you to see the value of your training dollar in action and preserve skills without the risk of deterioration.

 

 

How Can Your Organization Implement Just-In-Time Learning?

By now, you’re probably thinking that just in time learning sounds great. But offering employees on-demand, personalized training may sound like a complicated proposition to implement. You needn’t worry, however. Consider these next tips for your own just-in-time learning experience.

 

  1. Review Your Current Training Activities

Before you can implement just-in-time learning in the enterprise, it’s important to do a full inventory of your current training efforts.

What training is being delivered on what subjects? How are employees being selected for assigned training? What sort of feedback have they provided on this training? And what training materials does your organization already have?

The answers to these questions will help provide a critical starting place for your just-in-time learning efforts.

 

  1. Assess Overall Training Needs

Now that you know what your organization is already doing for training, you’ll need to look at what’s missing.

Some questions you may want to ask include: Is there training you’ve always intended to provide but haven’t yet gotten to? Are there new technologies you’re planning to implement that will require new learning? Does your industry have compliance needs that require formal training?

Use this opportunity of starting your just-in-time learning journey to think about a training wish-list for your staff.

 

  1. Organize Current and Future Training Resources

One key to just-in-time learning is having training resources that are readily accessible. When an employee realizes they need training on a specific skill or task, just in time learning requires that they know how to access this training.

Does your workplace have an in-person or virtual library of training materials? Is there a particular staff member responsible for corporate training? Are training materials organized by task, by department, by client, by skill… or by some other factor?

Just in time learning works best and you create structures to organize your training resources that don’t just account for what is available today, but also what you might include in your training tomorrow.

 

  1. Make Sure New and Existing Training Materials Are In Bite-Sized Pieces

Because just in time learning focuses on presenting information on an as-needed basis, it’s important to make sure existing and new training materials are broken into bite-sized pieces. Information is more easily absorbed in small pieces and employees are less likely to tune out. Easily digestible training information allows employees to move back and forth between acquiring new skills and putting them to use methodically.

 

  1. Include Practical Examples In Your Training Materials

Practical examples are particularly useful in training materials that are a part of just-in-time learning programs. They help employees understand how to implement new knowledge, keeping it relevant and preventing it from being theoretical, abstract, or otherwise in-essential.

 

  1. Utilize Peer-to-Peer Training

Some training in your organization – usually related to compliance issues — may need to come from outside experts. But many of the experts you need for employee training are already working for you. This is especially true when implementing just-in-time learning. Employees who have mastered key skills are often those best suited to train newer staff members. Their skills and institutional knowledge make them particularly valuable in the practice philosophy of just-in-time learning. Using employees as trainers or to produce training materials, can also help your organization preserve institutional knowledge that can survive staff turnover.

 

Why Video Is Essential To Just In Time Learning

Video is a particularly great tool to use as part of your just-in-time learning program. Video accommodates multiple learning styles and commands attention. And studies show that employees vastly prefer video-based training to only having access to written materials. With the right video platform, video can also contribute to the just in time learning mission by offering:

  • An easy way to organize training materials that can be accessed by any authorized person from anywhere in the world
  • Lean-forward, interactive features – such as choose-your-own-adventure video paths — to further boost employee engagement in training activities
  • Quizzing, to help you evaluate training efficacy and job readiness
  • Easy-to-use video creation tools to develop new peer-to-peer training resources
  • Captioning and translation subtitles to make sure no one is left out
  • Analytics to help your organization understand which topics and videos are the most popular and which resources are underutilized

When looking for a video platform to support your just-in-time learning initiatives, you’ll want to make sure it has all the capabilities listed above. But don’t stop there. Be sure your video platform will work well on any device – from mobile phones to tablets to laptops and desktops – so that employees can learn on the go, no matter where they are or how they are accessing the internet.

 

Conclusion

Just in time learning is quickly moving from an interesting option to an essential feature in today’s workplaces. Its nimble, cost-saving, engagement-boosting nature offers huge benefits to enterprises while also pleasing employees. And, it’s perfect for keeping your organization evolving and your employees developing, especially in these uncertain times.

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