just in time training
Training & Learning

Your Organization Needs to Embrace Just in Time Training: Here’s How to Implement It

Imagine you’re at the grocery store and have a sudden urge to cook shepherd’s pie for dinner. You whip out your phone for a quick list of ingredients, but instead, you land on a lengthy video that goes into the history of the dish—in the days of yore, shepherds repurposed leftover meat and threw in potatoes because they were affordable when concocting this recipe.

Interesting, but not relevant, quick, or helpful.

Traditional training courses are somewhat like the video. They usually involve one-way streaming of information and drown learners in details that they have no use for at that moment.

When learners can’t apply new information, they forget 75% of it in just six days. That’s a waste of your training resources and an employee’s time.

In contrast, just in time (JIT) training only includes the information that a learner actively seeks out for an immediate problem. When learners access the exact information they need at the right moment, it makes them efficient, engaged, and confident.

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Benefits of just in time training

Just in time training makes work easier for employees. Whether they need to know how to upload a piece of content or find the capital of Cambodia, having ready access to information makes your team feel confident in their tasks and will improve their overall process. In essence, JIT training is like Google. It’s there when you need it to answer your most burning questions.

Conversely, traditional training relies on memory recall from a distant training session. It can be more challenging to pick out the nugget of information you need at that present moment. Instead, learners can free up space in their memory (and calendar) and rest assured that when they need a specific bit of information, they will be able to find it with the help of just in time learning.

Improves accuracy

The problem with most training content is that it gets outdated quickly, leading employees to think training is a waste of their time. But when just in time training is combined with a Collaborative Learning approach, it means that subject matter experts (SMEs) continuously improve and iterate training material to remove inaccuracies like outdated documents or procedures. As a result, employees get the most up-to-date information, leaving little room for guesswork and errors.

The problem with most training content is that it gets outdated quickly, leading employees to think training is a waste of their time.

For example, a department store gets shipments of brand-new products all the time. Instead of training salespeople on 20 new products once every 6 months, they could be trained on each new product right before it gets to the store. That way, the learning for each product is fresh in their minds right before it’s rolled out, so they aren’t overloaded with details about future merchandise that won’t arrive for months.

Makes learning accessible anytime, anywhere

With 80% of the global workforce in deskless jobs, it's clear that employees want to be able to learn at their convenience. With JITT, learners have information at their fingertips, and they can access it whether they are working remotely, eating breakfast, or commuting.

For example, a sales professional working in the field may want more information about a product feature right before a pitch meeting. All they need to do is look up a two-minute video that talks about the particular feature, and, voila, they are ready with the information.

Boosts employee engagement

Let’s face it: learners get bored sitting in front of a screen (or an instructor) and receiving information that they may or may not use in the coming days. With only 15% of workers engaged at work and course completion rates at 20-30%, it’s clear employees need a better solution. JITT favors engagement because learners initiate and seek the training. They’re learning when they want to learn.

Increases knowledge retention

Our brains are wired to forget the information we don’t use. According to the Forgetting Curve, when we don’t have the opportunity to think about or apply new information, we start forgetting it within the next hour and retain even less the following day. Forgetting “conserves energy,” so we can process and apply the information we actually need.

JITT is particularly beneficial in helping learners remember critical information because it is delivered in bite-sized, digestible chunks. Learners can easily remember small pieces of information, especially when they are relevant and immediately applicable to the task. This type of learning by doing boosts knowledge retention, and learners can reuse the information when facing a similar task in the future.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Successful Employee Training Program

Our brains are wired to forget the information we don’t use.

Ways to implement just in time training modules

Organizations can use just in time training to their advantage by setting up eLearning modules in their learning management system. That way, learners can access the right nuggets of information at the right time.

Promote an active learning culture

Active learning means learning in the flow of work through human interaction and collaboration. When you facilitate discussions, encourage learners to react to course content, and leave peer feedback through in-course comments, it all contributes to an active learning culture.

But it takes work to promote an active learning culture—imagine scheduling company-wide discussions and peer feedback workshops for every piece of content! Ideally, the learning technology you use will support this type of collaboration in an organic manner so that active learning becomes a natural and daily habit.

Lean on mobile learning solutions

Your employees rely on mobile devices for pretty much everything. In fact, it’s estimated that 42.5% of the total global workforce will be mobile in 2022. Plus, Americans check their phones 344 times a day, so it’s safe to assume that learners want course content available through a mobile learning solution. On mobile, they can access information without facing the barriers of location or time.

For example, let’s say your people ops manager needs a refresher on interview procedures. They need to look up the information before their first interview of the day, but they're running late. So they watch an online training video on their commute (or over breakfast if they are working remotely) and are ready before they start work.

That’s why mobile learning is especially well-suited to JIT training—it empowers learners to look up information on their mobile devices in an instant.

Adopt microlearning to deliver digestible training

Attention spans have diminished, and learners prefer short kernels of information. Talent development professionals advise that training content should be limited to 10-13 minutes.

Tailor your training programs to this type of microlearning via short videos, checklists, and exercises so that employees feel motivated to access and complete courses.

Encourage subject matter experts to create quick courses

All the information your learners need is likely available in a colleague’s head. Make use of this valuable institutional knowledge by asking SMEs to share and collaborate with co-workers.

An SME doesn't have to be in a position of authority or even part of the L&D team. With an array of backgrounds and skills, your employees are SMEs who bring unique knowledge and skillsets to the table. Enlist them to create quick courses with an authoring tool. A few SMEs can even come together to co-author courses.

An example of just in time training used with Collaborative Learning.
An example of how SMEs can quickly create content that can be used in the time of need.

With the right LMS, learners can request courses with a Learning Needs tool, and co-workers can upvote the content, which helps prioritize training needs and fill skill gaps.

Create a company wiki with short videos

A company wiki is a storehouse for all your company information and processes. Whether it’s onboarding or training, new hires can quickly get up to speed by searching for resources without wasting a co-worker’s time or disturbing their flow of work.

You can use a wiki tool like Notion or Confluence to import existing content and create new resources to facilitate online JIT training.

Gamify your training to give learners a fun experience

Gamification—using the competitive or rewarding features of games—gives just in time training an edge by presenting it in an engaging, fun manner. Employees want to enjoy learning, and a quick game or quiz to get the answers they need provides a change of routine and, as an added bonus, a hit of dopamine. Dopamine activates the pleasure center of our brains, which in turn motivates us to repeat the experience that gave us a pleasurable outcome.

So, use leaderboards, points, and ranks to gamify your training. It will improve learning outcomes and motivate learners to seek the info they need.

Use an LMS to give your just in time training the extra spark

A learning management system helps you work smarter, not harder so that your course creation process becomes as easy and efficient as just in time training. Choose a tool that makes both asynchronous and synchronous training available just in time.