Just-in-time learning, also known as just-in-time training, is a method of training employees in which they receive their training right at the moment it is needed to do the job at hand.
This type of training is often utilized when the task at hand is straightforward or when the training can be done in a concise, easy-to-digest format. Employers can create training materials to suit differing needs. For example, one employee may need a full “how-to” on a new skill, while another one may simply need a checklist or refresher to ensure he or she has completed all the steps.
Benefits to Just-in-Time Learning
This type of training can have many benefits. Here are some of them:
- Retention of information. Having less time to forget the training before putting it into practice means the training will be more effective and lead to productivity improvements sooner.
- Less time spent away from work. This type of training takes employees away from their work for less time, since the training delivered is just what is needed and not a lot more.
- No waiting. There’s no need for employees to wait weeks or months for a trainer to be available.
- No travel needed. When set up online or on the company server, there’s no need to leave the worksite for multiple days to get the training.
- Cost effective. Once the materials are created, they can be reused over and over.
- Empowers employees. This puts employees in charge, allowing them to take the training they need and skip the training they don’t. They feel empowered and in control of their work day. Additionally, employees feel empowered to learn more as soon as they’re ready, which can in turn help them feel as though the company is investing in their future.
- Assists in cross-training. This type of training can be used help to get more employees cross-trained on different roles.
- Good refresher. This can be a way for employees to refresh their skills for tasks they do not complete often.
- Improves accuracy. Employees can be more accurate and productive when they have access to get their questions answered immediately. They’re less likely to hide the fact that they don’t remember how to complete a task if they’re encouraged to (and have access to) look up details in the moment.
- Easy to keep current. Your training materials can always be kept up-to-date because they’re stored in a central (likely online) location, ensuring that when someone is accessing training, it’s always the current version.
- Employees can take ownership. You can involve employees with creating training materials as a means of sharing their knowledge, which can both empower employees and reduce the costs involved in creating the materials.
Possible Drawbacks to Just-in-Time Learning
If you’re considering implementing just-in-time training, here are some potential drawbacks to consider:
- Investment required. This will require an up-front investment in training materials to be utilized later, on demand, by employees in various locations.
- Limited scope. Is only truly applicable to training that can be done from anywhere. Thankfully, with technology enabling training to happen on most mobile devices, this list of training that would qualify is growing.
- Requires immediate, easy access. Employees must have access to the training platform, whether that’s a website, a mobile device, or some other means.
This is a concept we all know intuitively. We use it all the time instinctively whenever we stop to look up how to do something online or ask someone for advice before starting a new project. We apply this type of learning in our everyday lives, and it makes sense for employers to use it too, whenever it’s applicable.