Learning doesn’t have to, and shouldn’t, stop once someone graduates from a formal educational program. In fact, some of the most effective organizations are those that are able to promote continuous learning.
What can be challenging with many methods of instruction is a disconnect between the knowledge learned and its ultimate application. Just-in-time learning aims to, among other goals, eliminate this disconnect.
According to Shelley Osborn, head of Learning and Development at Udemy, just-in-time learning “provides knowledge at the point of action, where employees not only learn the solution but immediately apply it to their needs.”
Osborn offers four methods to help organizations implement just-in-time learning.
1. Provide Learning Resources that Are Easy to Access in Bite-Size Chunks on the Job
Just-in-time learning isn’t conducive to handing employees a large textbook and assigning them a few chapters to read. Keep in mind they also have their normal job duties to work on. Instead, provide manageable resources that can be easily accessed and digested on the job in small chunks.
2. Use Marketing Tactics to Motivate People to Use Just-in-Time Learning
As with any employee development initiative, engagement is the key to success. You need to sell your employees on the benefits to them of participating in the program. This could involve showcasing employees that have moved up in the organization thanks in part to their success with just-in-time learning, for example.
3. Tap Managers to Scale Just-in-Time Learning
“Managers play an important role in scaling just-in-time learning due to their frequent interactions with employees, ability to encourage behavior change, and the sense of accountability they provide,” says Osborn. Use these resources as force multipliers to help broaden the reach of just-in-time learning activities.
4. Redefine How You Measure Learning
“Keep in mind that course completion might not be the best measure when evaluating just-in-time learning since people don’t necessarily need to participate in an entire course to gather the most relevant information,” says Osborn.
Instead, consider using metrics that consider how the broader goals of the initiative are being met. Are employees able to more quickly solve new problems? How do employees and their peers and managers perceive the impacts of just-in-time learning on an employee’s knowledge and skills?
The modern workplace and corporate environment are dynamic places. It’s not realistic to statically rely on the education employees received in college or in periodic seminars.
Instead, employers and employee development professionals should strive to implement tools like just-in-time learning to help develop and maintain an agile and adaptable workforce equipped with the skills and knowledge to thrive day to day.