Implementing Just-in-time Learning – Here’s How to Get Started

Learning in the corporate context has become very time-agnostic in recent years. Due to the drastic speed of change in the technological and business environments, knowledge and skill sets are evolving faster than ever. This requires employees to constantly update their knowledge just to stay on top of the tasks at hand. With the amount of knowledge and the complexity of tasks people undertake each day, we can no longer expect to be able train them everything prior to the work. On one hand, the amount of knowledge required is cumbersome for any L&D department to administer. On the other hand, getting employees to digest it all is impossible due to the problem of cognitive overload. However, a just-in-time learning strategy provides a good alternative to support the employees. Here are some tips on putting it to practice and starting to learn on demand.

Just-in-time learning combines well with mobile

If you had to choose one medium for accessing training content to rely on continuously, that would most likely be mobile. Our mobile (smart) phones are always with us, regardless of where we are. Therefore, mobile learning provides a great medium for just-in-time learning. In fact, a lot of the behaviour has been baked into our routines already. When we need to solve problems, we turn to our mobile search engines. If that doesn’t help, we might instant message our network for help. All this is essentially learning on demand, we just don’t recognise it as such. Hence, mobile is the best platform to power us up to learn just-in-time.

Here are a few things to remember about mobile learning design.

Learning content should be quick-to-consume – insert microlearning

When delivering just-in-time learning, two factors are of great importance: the speed of accessing content and the speed of consuming it. Mobile learning helps a lot with the ease of access. But to add to that, you should make your content easily searchable as well. Providing a mobile gateway to the content is not enough if the learner cannot find the information they need quickly.

Microlearning, on the other hand, can help a lot in the speed of consuming the content. When learning at the point of need, your employees don’t have time to go through traditional long-format courses. But they do have a few minutes to watch e.g. a microlearning video on the topic. There, you should chunk your content into easily digestible, concise pieces with a single learning objective.

Here are a few tips on building effective microlearning content. 

Using social learning to address the needs the L&D department cannot

As mentioned, the amount of knowledge needed for the purposes of just-in-time learning is potentially enormous. And let’s face it, it’s highly likely that your L&D department doesn’t have the resources to respond to every need. However, embracing the natural behaviour of “phone a friend”, you could leverage social learning tools. Whenever an employee encounters a problem that there’s no documented answer to, they could ask the experts in the organisation. In an internal, public forum-like setting, all these problems and answers could be recorded. Therefore, employees facing similar problems in the future would already be able to find solutions and best practices.

Overall, just-in-time learning is a very natural way of learning things. In the VUCA world of today, it’s also required to keep in pace with the change. If there’s no structured approach in place for it, it will happen on employees’ own terms. That effectively gives away the organisation’s control and understanding of what kind of learning is happening and further needed in the workplace. Therefore, organisations should consider formulating a strategy for learning on demand. These tips  provide a good baseline for starting the process.

Are you looking to implement just-in-time learning in your organisation? We can help you formulate a structured approach and strategy for it, as well as provide tools and methods for the implementation and execution. Just drop us a note and we’ll get back to you. 

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