These days, it’s not just jobs in technology that are evolving quickly. It’s almost every job out there. And this makes it difficult for traditional training to keep up with fast-changing development needs.
Most employees today face new problems that they need to solve – and solve urgently. And to solve them, they need relevant, accessible training and materials. So how do you make sure that your employees can access the knowledge they’re looking for, at the exact moment they’re looking for it?
That’s where just in time training (JIT) comes in!
What Is Just In Time Training?
The concept of just in time training is actually borrowed from Toyota’s famous lean manufacturing manifesto. It refers to only using effort when it’s needed, instead of ahead of time. This means gaining new knowledge or skills only when you need them, rather than in case you’ll need them.
Think of just in time training as “on-demand training”. It requires a flexible approach to learning. One that recognizes that people in different roles don’t need to learn the same skills, or access the exact same information, at the same time.
JIT training requires a mindset-shift among corporate trainers, but it’s by no means a novel idea.
Thanks to smartphones and the internet, we’re often practicing just in time training in everyday life. Think of how often you google the spelling of a word or look up a recipe. Instead of storing that information long-term, you’re accessing it when precisely you need to use it.
The Benefits Of Just In Time Training
Modern learners expect information to be available at their fingertips, the way it is in their personal lives. The benefits of on-demand training don’t end with meeting modern expectations, though.
Some of the direct improvements you can expect from just in time training include:
With up-to-date information available at the touch of a button, employees can do their jobs more accurately, and make fewer mistakes. Preventing rework is a key part of improving return on training investment, so this has a direct impact on your bottom line, too.
Cheap and fast updates
Just in time training can also save you eLearning development time. By adding updated content to existing courses, and creating bite-sized pieces of information, you reduce the need to revise entire courses when they become outdated.
Accessible training on the go
Do you want employees to be able to improve their knowledge and skills on their way to work, or during their lunch break? The brief and punchy nature of just in time training content makes mobile learning easier than ever.
Improved overall performance
JIT training might just represent the most direct link between training and improved performance. Because knowledge is available precisely when it’s needed, employees are able to use their learnings to improve their performance right then and there.
More confident and engaged learners
Just in time training puts the control back into learners’ hands. This makes for a more confident, self-assured workforce. Because employees know that the information they need will be at their fingertips when they need it most.
The proactive and self-driven process of looking up just in time materials also makes for more engaged learners, than passively absorbing training courses.
Improved knowledge retention
By using JIT training, employees only need to retain the most crucial and long-term information for their jobs. Anything else can be looked up as and when it’s needed. This means your employees benefit from less clutter and reduced information overload.
People learn better when they have to learn
This is a simple fact of human nature and works in your favor when practicing JIT training. When employees have an immediate need to apply a new skill, their focus, and determination to learn it will be stronger.
The Importance of JIT in Time-poor Industries
Just in time training is particularly beneficial to industries that must remain efficient and current to survive. This includes industries like Healthcare, where detailed information is often required urgently.
Within healthcare, information is required just in time when professionals are busy with tasks like:
● Looking up best practices for dealing with sensitive matters
● Researching side effects of drugs and treatments
● Comparing the details of different drugs and pharmaceutical information options
Of course, all of this information would be impractical to train upfront or to remember long-term. And it’s usually needed in a hurry. So, it’s better for employees to access what they need in a well-documented database, or through a just in time training program.
Then, in the Information and Communications (ICT) sector, fast-changing and complex technologies mean that software developers and other professionals often need updated information on the job. For example, new software libraries for Java are constantly being introduced, despite the language being decades old. How are software developers expected to keep up with these changes? JIT training!
Just in time training is also invaluable for professionals who need to look up problems they’re experiencing, and compare them to tested solutions. JIT training helps ICT professionals compare solutions for efficiency, speed, and longevity. In the long term, this can translate into significant savings for their organizations.
How To Apply JIT Training Successfully In The Workplace
So, you’re convinced that just in time training is “all the rage” for a reason. But here’s the big question… how do you apply it in the workplace?
1. Work toward developing an active learning culture
In an active learning culture, employees are not passive recipients of training. Instead, they actively seek out new knowledge and skills for themselves. Self-driven learning is an important mindset when it comes to JIT training.
2. Develop easily absorbed training material
Bite-sized (or micro) content is preferable, but it can be in any form you choose, like written content, infographics, and video.
For just in time training to be applied successfully, all information on your learning management system (LMS) needs to be searchable and well-organized. So make sure that you choose an LMS that allows full control over the structure, usability and visual appeal of your content.
3. Help learners access the subject matter experts
Now that you’ve got your content set up in bite-sizes, easy-to-find chunks, don’t use the LMS as a passive knowledge repository. Where possible, give learners access to trainers or subject matter experts through your LMS. This way they can ask questions by using direct messaging or forums, for example.
While most on-demand training will be asynchronous, providing access to experts can re-introduce an element of social learning into the training program.
4. Understand what learners need
Finally, don’t fly blind. You’ll know more about the sort of information your learners need on the spot by setting up analytics on your LMS. Gather data about how your employees use the content, what they look for most often, and take care to explore the analytics and data gathering features your LMS offers.
Use Your LMS To Facilitate Successful JIT Training
In our fast-changing world, embracing just in time training can be the difference between staying on the cutting edge, and getting left behind. Start incorporating just in time training today to build a workforce that’s confident and well-equipped to succeed.
Take advantage of the many benefits of JIT training for your business and sector by using a top-notch LMS. Using a platform that makes it easy and fun to access knowledge on-demand is key to effective just in time training.
Originally published on: 21 Feb 2018