Just-in-Time Technology

Many L&D and HR professionals are discovering the benefits of Just-in-Time Learning Technologies for their employees but, the big question is: how to best implement them? This trend is in part prompted by the shift from mandatory to self-service learning:  From the “you have to do this” to “look at this if you find it useful”.

As a result, L&D departments need to ‘market’ the content better (e.g. make it more engaging).  Similarly, they need to associate or tag the material with particular challenges – in order to increase the relevance of digital learning materials. So, when looking at Just in Time learning you need an understanding of user motivations and their access to the learning objects. What you’re ultimately trying to provide for employees is convenience: ease of accessing information for learning.

Firstly, you need to make sure the information is ‘tagged’. This means ‘slice and dicing’ the learning so that the content can be easily associated with the task at hand. A manager under pressure is not likely to peruse an e-learning module on Strategy and Change.  But he/she is more likely to look at ‘Managing team conflict’ if indeed that is the context at hand. 

Next you need to identify the profile of the user – there are 2 types of users: the ‘Considered’ user and the ‘Trigger’ user. The Considered user is the one who prepares properly – i.e. they have time on their commute home so they read a business book. These types of users are increasingly rare in organisations today and replacing them is the Trigger user. This individual is one who reacts to a series of events or pressure points – i.e. ‘I got a call from a difficult client’. The latter are the users that will be most suited to Just-in-Time learning.


What this means in practice is:

-The user reacts to an event

-Identifies that there is a short video or piece of content that relates to the upcoming task

-Accesses the content with their device (mobile phone, tablet, PC)

-Downloads or streams the content and is finished looking at it within 3 minutes


Basically, you have a 5 minute ‘zone of discretion’ during which you need to go from the moment of need identification through to fulfilment. Any longer than that you lose your audience.