Time is one of lifes’ most valuable advantages along with the acquisition of new knowledge. How do we find an efficient way to combine them both? The answer comes in the form of just-in-time learning. This is an innovative approach that gives learners access to the necessary resources exactly when they need them. 

The concept has gained more and more popularity and is quite beneficial for corporate training as well. Below, you will find what stands behind the term, some ideas of how to implement just-in-time learning in your company, and what benefits it offers. 

What is Just-in-Time Learning?

In a nutshell it can be said that just-in-time learning means learning on demand, where learners have access to the training they need when they need it. This is possible due to the improvement of learning technology and the limitless opportunities offered by the various types of online learning facilitated by technological growth.  

Only a few years ago, if we wanted to learn something new or add a skill to our portfolio, we had to wait for a special course on the topic to be organized, to make sure we are enrolled and to organize everything related to attending the course, which might include travel, accommodations, or being absent from work.  

Now, with the rise of the e-learning and the possibilities of its localization, we have access to a multitude of online training developed by experts all over the world.  

  • How does it compare to just-in-time teaching? 

If you have come across the term just-in-time teaching, you might be wondering how it is related to just-in-time learning. The truth is that these are completely different concepts and the only thing they have in common is the overall aim to maximize the benefits and knowledge gained by the learners. Just-in-time teaching, also referred to as JiTT, is a pedagogical strategy developed towards the end of the 1990s for university instructors in physics. It aims to enhance student motivation and learning in class by collecting feedback from the work done at home and linking it to the work done in class. The approach was first used in the physics department at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis along with the help of physics instructors from Davidson College and the United States Air Force Academy. JiTT was soon adopted by other faculties and was spread throughout various workshops, publications and presentations. The aim is to help the instructor organize the time in class in such a way that it maximizes the experience for the students. 

Therefore, it can be concluded that just-in-time learning and just-in-time teaching are two completely different approaches that share common terminology and aim at improving the learning experience, though in a different way.   

  • Where can we find just-in-time learning? 

The concept of just-in-time learning may sound like a modern trend in e-learning, however, it actually follows the natural behavior of a curious person, who needs to find something. If you are reading a book in a foreign language and you come across an unfamiliar word, you open a dictionary (either in paper or e-format) and check its meaning. If you want to cook your favorite dish but you are unsure of the recipe, you call your grandma and ask about it. In other words, you get new knowledge at the exact moment you need it. The development of Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) makes it possible to enroll into a course and learn new things whenever you want.  

Now, the idea of just-in-time learning has gained enough popularity especially for online company training and there is a good reason for it.   

Benefits of Just-in-Time Learning for Corporate Development 

Just-in-time learning is a perfect solution for corporate training, especially for quickly developing and expanding companies. Its main idea is that the employees will have access to the new knowledge they need at the moment they need it and not a month or two later, when it might no longer be relevant or necessary. Here are a few of the main benefits to consider, in case you are still wondering if this is the right solution for you: 

  • It makes learning faster – people have access to the information they need at the moment they need it. This speeds up the overall process and leads to early results. 
  • It facilitates access to information – the learners no longer have to wait a given amount of time in order to access the knowledge they need. Information seems more accessible and appealing to a larger number of people. 
  • It enhances productivity – the employees have the opportunity to learn what they need and respectively do their job better. This improves their motivation and satisfaction of the final product and hence works well for the company.
  • It improves knowledge retention – the possibility to double check the new information is invaluable. The learners have a better chance of acquiring new knowledge if they can do it at their own speed and if there is a chance to return and go over the new ideas once again.
  • It gives access to updated information – one of the ultimate aims of just-in-time learning used for company training is to provide real-time performance support and easy access to tips and tricks that can facilitate the work. This is not possible without having comprehensive and up-to-date information.

These are five of the main advantages of just-in-time learning, however, each company may add a few more depending on their approach and implementation of this innovative teaching technique.  

How to Implement Just-in-Time Learning Successfully?

In order to provide the best just-in-time learning for your employees, the company management has to develop a strong strategy of how to present the material efficiently. Here are a few principles that will make just-in-time learning a success: 

  • Determine which training resources are needed “just in time” 
  • Identify the good practices in your company and include them in the training 
  • Organize the training by topics, so that they can be easily recognizable 
  • Divide the training into smaller sessions as this is easier for the learners 
  • Use both skilled-based and knowledge-based training, give plenty of examples, and real-life scenarios

These are five of the main steps that will guarantee the success of your just-in-time learning. In addition to that, make sure that you get proper help in designing the training and use any external resources that you have at your disposal.  

Thanks to the development of the internet, search engines and mobile devices, just-in-time learning is all around us on a daily basis. People are constantly wondering how to do something or what does something mean and they rely on external sources from all over the world to give the answers at the moment they are needed. Therefore, just-in-time learning is one of the best approaches to teaching new skills and acquiring knowledge. The best thing about it is that it is applicable in almost every sphere of our life.

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