The increasing pace of technological advancement has created a parallel demand for highly-skilled workers. Technology continues to evolve beyond the capacity of traditional educational institutions and training methodologies to keep pace.
Just-in-time training is a response to the need for highly targeted and easily adapted lifelong learning experiences.
The Growing Demand for Skills Training in The Age of Acceleration
As the story goes, the Agile Manifesto was signed in February of 2001.
Nineteen years later, we can look back on the rapid advancement of technology, enabled by Agile and similar philosophies as the beginning of what Thomas Friedman calls “the age of acceleration.”
While Agile methodologies were envisioned to bring changes in the way developers work, their biggest effect may be felt by training and HR professionals.
Increasing acceleration drives a parallel rise in demand for specialized training. Unfortunately, attempts of the training industry to keep pace with this demand have largely fallen short over the last two decades.
The need for skilled workers trained in new tech so far outpaces the capabilities of education institutions and traditional training methodologies that it has led to a global skills gap.
From early experiments with online classrooms to the very public failure of the partnership between San Jose State University and for-profit MOOC platform Udacity, most new approaches to teaching have done little more than use new media to deliver the same outdated and static approach to teaching.
The reason for the failures of Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) is complex, but one major lesson learned over the last twenty years of experimentation is that the most effective training strategies are:
- Adaptable to the pace and learning style of individual learners.
- Designed with the experience of the learner in mind.
- Precisely targeted to deliver only the information that’s needed.
What is Just-In-Time Training?
The future of education involves applying the principles of Learning Experience Design (LXD) to implement what’s known as “just-in-time training.”
Just-in-time training focuses on the learner’s immediate needs and learning style to empower individual learners to acquire the exact knowledge they need at the moment they need it. This reduces burden on training professionals and educators and allows time spent in classroom training sessions to focus on coaching and reinforcement rather than repetitive instruction.
Just-In-Time Training Boosts Efficiency and Employee Morale
When an employee possesses a base level of competency going into their job role, subjecting them to in-depth mass training like an online course or another traditional teaching model is often more of a burden than a help.
Building from the foundation of institutional education and other pre-employment instruction, employees can use just-in-time training modules to skill up or to refresh the knowledge they need for a specific task. This approach is ideal for maintaining a current skillset in rapidly developing spaces like tech.
Just-In-Time Training is More Effective and Less Costly
Just-in-time training reduces the overall training and development burden on a company. It also places control of the learning experience in the hands of the individual learner by targeting specific skills needed to complete a task.
Though in-person classroom time is still valuable, just-in-time training increases the efficiency of classroom time dramatically. Learners in a just-in-time training environment are encouraged or required to self-evaluate at the beginning of a training session or immediately before beginning the training session. This leaves time spent in the classroom free for coaching and reinforcement.
Just-in-time training modules are organized to fit the specific needs of a learner at one of the five moments of need:
“When people are learning how to do something for the first time (learn new)
“When people are expanding the breadth and depth of what they have learned (learn more)
“When they need to act on what they have learned, which includes planning what they will do, remembering what they may have forgotten, or adapting their performance to a unique situation (apply)
“When problems arise, or things break or don’t work the way they were intended (solve)
“When people need to learn a new way of doing something, which requires them to unlearn deeply ingrained skills and relearn to adjust to new practices, requirements, and so forth (change).”
Keeping sessions short, sweet, and to-the-point, just-in-time training allows learners more control over their learning path than a traditionally structured course or classroom training.
Just-in-time training provides a self-directed platform for learners to maintain their skills. Simultaneously, it reduces the training overhead for companies by targeting training to specific needs and relieving the need for HR departments to manage the training process of individual employees.