Designers of just-in-time training … must anticipate learners’ questions and problem areas, then devise short, to-the-point materials that resolve or address each of these issues and present that information in an engaging manner. … Learners might find that the immediate reinforcement of a new skill—performing it or meeting with a client to present product info moments after completing the training—enhances their ability to retain the new knowledge.
Online and mobile eLearning are ideal platforms for delivery of just-in-time training, which is sometimes called just-in-time learning. Just-in-time training refers to information delivered to learners at the moment they need it and to the location they need. Just-in-time training can replace or enhance more traditional training usually delivered in one or more longer sessions.
A related concept is microlearning—creating highly accessible, very short, focused training on individual procedures or concepts. The two are often discussed (and delivered) together. Delivering short, focused content on demand is part of a general trend toward giving learners greater control over how and when they consume eLearning content.
In this short article, I present the reasons you should consider just-in-time training, some approaches to designing and delivering it, and the benefits.
Deliver short content in a variety of formats
Requiring learners to sit through hours of scheduled training or complete lengthy asynchronous online courses often wastes time and can damage employee morale, particularly if a significant portion of the course material is not relevant to the learner. Some training teaches employees to perform tasks that they won’t need to do for weeks, months—or ever. Adopting a just-in-time training approach allows learning designers and developers to replace some of what has been taught in traditional eLearning or in-person courses. Instead of in-depth modules covering multiple concepts or skills, the just-in-time modules are short and punchy—and narrowly focused. They might be videos, simulations, diagrams, games, or step-by-step instructions; the just-in-time approach works with any format. Learners access only the segments they need.
Just-in-time training should be available in thoroughly indexed, searchable apps or websites. With searchable, accessible modules, learners can find the lessons they need, watch or read the material in a few minutes, and get on with the task. Crucially, they can do all of this without interrupting their workflow or being burdened with unnecessary information.