Just-in-time learning is not a new concept. But the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing restrictions have pushed a lot of organizations into wider adoption in the absence of traditional instructor-led classroom training.

What is Just-In-Time Learning?

Just-in-time learning, also referred to as “learning in the flow of work” or “learning at the point of need” is the ability to learn and apply something to a real world situation at the exact time you need it. You learn new skills in small increments and the training content is available wherever and whenever you need it.

Benefits of Just-In-Time Learning

  • Superior retention from applying new learnings to real-world situations right then and there.
  • Learning and training become part of your everyday job. It’s not something separate!
  • Immediate application of new skills gives you faster results.
  • Big chunks of time away from your job aren’t necessary to attend full-scale training courses.

For product managers and product marketing managers, a host of real-world situations come to mind where just-in-time learning has tremendous value. A few examples:

  1. You’ve recently acquired another company and your executives ask for a comprehensive portfolio analysis to determine the most lucrative markets for the combined companies.
  2. You’ve got an idea for a new product and you’re asked to create an MRD.
  3. Your pipeline is thinner than normal and there’s an executive push to up-level your positioning and engage more decision-makers.

All three scenarios raise a lot of questions. What does a portfolio analysis look like? What does an MRD include? How do we tell a value story that appeals to decision-makers without alienating users? Where do we start? What information do we need? What are the artifacts?

There’s always an urgency to these types of initiatives, and they don’t leave you a lot of time to create a structured approach or framework before you’re off and running.

These are everyday scenarios where just-in-time learning is invaluable. The training, framework, best practices, examples and artifacts are all there. You consume them in small increments and put them into practice immediately. It’s a great way to acquire new skills as part of your everyday job and see immediate results.

Will Just-In-Time Learning Replace Traditional Instructor-Led Training?

It’s highly doubtful. There’s no substitute for getting a team of people together in a room to learn new things, get everyone on the same page at the same time, and resolve a ton of issues in the process. The other benefit to classroom training is that everyone walks away with an understanding of the big picture and how all of the pieces and parts fit together.

The more likely outcome after the COVID-19 dust settles is that just-in-time learning will take on a much bigger role while traditional instructor-led training will be used more surgically. Together, they’ll yield far better results than either method delivers on its own.

Take the poll and let us know your thoughts on just-in-time learning versus traditional classroom training.

Proficientz offers just-in-time learning as well as traditional instructor-led training. It gives our clients the ability to quickly get everyone on the same page, understand the big picture, and then refresh their skills at the point of need as part of their everyday job. Certification is included with both methods.

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