just in time training
Training & Learning

Just-in-Time Training: How to Implement it in 2024

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 that 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. Just-in-time training solves this.

What is just-in-time training?

Just-in-time training only includes the information that a learner actively seeks out for an immediate problem. It's like having a cheat sheet for your job. You don't need to know everything about a topic–just enough to get the job done well, and done now. This approach is highly effective for busy teams who need to stay on top of their game without getting bogged down in too much info.

With just-in-time training, learning becomes a breeze, not a chore. When learners can access the exact information they need at the right moment, it makes them more efficient, engaged, and confident.

employee training asset cover

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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 piece 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.

Just-in-time training improves accuracy

The problem with most training content is that it gets outdated quickly, which can lead employees to think training is a waste of their time.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

Just-in-time training 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.

Just-in-time training 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 23% of workers engaged at work and course completion rates at 20-30% on average, it’s clear employees need a better solution. Just-in-time training favors engagement because learners initiate and seek the training. They’re learning when they want to learn.

Just-in-time training increases knowledge retention

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

What types of companies and roles benefit from just-in-time training?

Just-in-time training is great for any size of company, from small businesses to big corporations. It can be especially helpful in fast-moving industries like retail, tech, healthcare, and manufacturing. Different job functions like sales, marketing, HR, and customer support, can all use this type of training to stay up-to-date and do their jobs better.

Let's dive into some real-world examples of how just-in-time training works across various roles.

Examples of just-in-time training

Timely product onboarding for retail staff

A department store gets shipments of brand-new products all the time. Instead of training salespeople on 20 new products once every six 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.

On-the-spot product knowledge for sales professionals

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 top of mind.

Instant troubleshooting guidance for technical support

In the tech industry, where products and software evolve rapidly, just-in-time training can be invaluable for technical support staff. When encountering a customer issue, support agents can access concise troubleshooting modules or guides right at the moment they need assistance. This approach minimizes downtime, improves customer satisfaction, and empowers support teams to resolve issues efficiently.

At 360Learning, we built a collaborative learning platform that makes just-in-time training easy to implement. The platform enables learning that delivers information precisely when the learner needs it. Employees can easily access and contribute to company-wide knowledge by creating courses and training material for colleagues. The platform also makes it easy to spot knowledge gaps across the organization by encouraging employees to identify learning needs through forums and feedback.

Screenshot of hybrid training paths in 360Learning's collaborative learning platform
360Learning's platform lets learners access just in time training as needed

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How 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 resources 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, your learning technology 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. 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 their expertise 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 to do this. With an array of backgrounds and skills, your employees are SMEs who bring unique knowledge and skillsets to the table. Give them the ability to create quick courses with an authoring tool. A few SMEs can even come together to co-author courses.

Screenshot of 360Learning's course authoring tool
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 independently or disturbing their own or others' 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 format. 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, extra motivation through a hit of dopamine.

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 in the moment of need.

Just-in-time training FAQ

1) How does just-in-time training differ from traditional training methods?

2) What’s the difference between “just-in-case” and just-in-time training?

3) Can 360Learning be used for just-in-time training?