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What’s a Just-In-Time Learning Resource and Why Does Your Business Need One?

What makes a good just-in-time learning resource or performance support resource? This blog post from Learning Designer Robin Nicolls explores how learning resources can benefit your business.

Consider the following scenarios. Do you know if anyone in your business has experienced similar issues?

Coworkers using a laptop for some just-in-time resources

Scenario 1: Ling and his fellow employees receive training in a factory in Hong Kong for a new piece of production line machinery the company is investing in. Six months later, when the technology is introduced, Ling realizes he has forgotten most of what was covered in the training. He asks his colleagues to refresh his memory but finds that they haven’t retained the information either. They end up searching online to try to figure out how to use the new machines. This represents a huge waste of time and energy for both them and the company, as well as a serious potential safety issue.

Scenario 2: Décio is a project manager working in Rio de Janeiro. He’s about to attend an important meeting in 15 minutes to update a client on the progress of their project. He’s been so busy that he hasn’t had a chance to update his knowledge on the subject matter of the project. He tries searching online, but as the content is very specialized he doesn’t find much. In addition, he’s dubious about the credibility of what he is reading. As a result, Décio feels unprepared and anxious about the project.

Scenario 3: Delphine, a French medical researcher, is working with local experts at a site deep within the Amazon rainforest. Although she speaks excellent Spanish, many of the tools and species they’re discussing are highly specialized, and she doesn’t have the vocabulary to describe them. She has her mobile device, but there’s no connectivity whatsoever for her to search online for the correct Spanish terms she needs. The local experts are patient, but it’s slowing the work down and they only have a couple of days to get the task finished.

The Power of Just-In-Time Learning Resources

These are all situations in which just-in-time, performance support resources could be used effectively.
Most people now carry at least one smartphone device with them at all times, whether they have been issued with the technology by their employer or not. This has created opportunities for short, sharp digital learning content. These resources can enable learners to:

  • Seek performance support for tools and processes, replacing the need for long instruction manuals
  • Prepare last minute for meetings and events
  • Brush up and continually refresh work-related knowledge
  • Benefit from spaced learning, where learners revisit previous learning after a break in time, to enhance retention and long-term learning

What Makes a Good Just-In-Time Learning Resource?

Learning resources that are designed for mobile devices have huge potential to increase productivity, but remember that you may be competing with Google and other search engines as information sources.

A person using a mobile phone to access a just-in-time learning resource

Just-in-time resources must therefore be:

1) Up-To-Date and Accurate

Have you ever used a search engine to look for information, and been unsure of the accuracy and credibility of the content you find? This is one of the main advantages a just-in-time learning resource can have. As long as learners find accurate and helpful information using your resource, they’ll learn to trust it and come back again and again when they need help.

2) User-Friendly

Mobile users are accustomed to lightning fast connection speeds and intuitive user interfaces. Any resources you create must be easily accessible, and allow users to drill down to the information they need quickly and efficiently.

3) Self-Contained

Remember the example of Delphine, the researcher working in the rainforest? Performance support and just-in-time learning resources will often need to be complete and self-contained, without any need to connect to the internet, in order to make them useful as tools.

Want to know more? Check out the on-demand recording of our webinar ‘Digital Learning 101: The Panel – Learner Experience and Engagement’ for more tips on learner engagement.

Watch the recording