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Just in time training: how to create active learning in the workplace

5 minute read

Debbie Hill
By Debbie Hill

Senior Design Consultant


The influence of on-demand culture is everywhere. These days, we can hail a cab at a minute’s notice from our phone, watch TV programs ad-free as and when we want to, and order food to the door via an app. Learning is no exception. Attitudes towards employee training have shifted with the rest of the world towards ‘on-demand’.

Just in time active learning

Just in time training is L&D’s answer to having everything at your fingertips. It meets employee expectations of having relevant information a click away while satisfying the business appetite for speedy training which yields big results. 

Read on to learn what just in time learning is, why it’s an important L&D concept, and how to implement it in the workplace.

What is just in time training?

Just in time (JIT) training is an L&D concept which encourages needs-related learning to boost efficiency. This method of training is all about learning new skills at the point that they’re actually required, rather than providing potentially irrelevant skills just in case they’re needed. It simplifies and streamlines learning. 

The origin of just in time learning can be traced back to Toyota’s production system. The Japanese car manufacturers developed a system which significantly reduced the amount of dormant inventory by delivering parts to the warehouse at the point of distribution. Rather, they arrived ‘just in time’. This concept was further developed and later applied to learning. 

What is just in time content?

Just in time content goes hand in hand with microlearning. Speed of learning is key, and it’s typically characterized by short, targeted bursts of training content which zeroes in on the specific topic at hand. 

Just in time content can take the form of mini videos or microlearning courses. Ease of access is a key component of such content, allowing the users to access it wherever and whenever they need it. As such, good just in time content will be mobile ready and easy to digest.

What are the benefits of just in time training?

Flexibility is one of the main benefits of just in time training. Its framework acknowledges that certain training could be irrelevant to some members of a workforce at certain times. Simply put, your employees are busy enough without having to study competencies that aren’t helping their immediate output. With just in time training, knowledge and skills can be imparted at the optimal moment.

Short, focused training is also linked to increased knowledge retention. The concept of just in time learning limits the amount of information employees need to pick up, meaning they can focus their efforts on gaining key information which relates closely to their role. This significantly helps to combat the forgetting curve as just in time training is more successful at delivering relevant training at the point of need, and encouraging immediate application and skills/knowledge retention.

Finally, for L&D teams, JIT content is far more convenient to maintain and quicker to produce. When it comes to developing and updating your content, bite-sized learning is far more manageable than tackling more substantial courses. 

What are the disadvantages of just in time training?

While just in time training has plenty of advantages, that doesn’t mean it’s a one-size-fits-all solution. Firstly, it requires a robust understanding of learning needs. If just in time training is to be successful, your L&D team need to be laser-focused on when, where and why each employee needs training. It requires in-depth needs-analysis to get right.

In some instances, there’s also the potential for learning to become fragmented. When dealing with more complex topics, the bite-size nature of the training could fail to pay adequate attention to certain pieces of information. When there’s not enough background information presented, the quality of training is significantly hampered.

Just in time is not a one size fits all solution. There are certain types of learning that it is simply not effective for. For example, more focused in-depth that needs a learners full attention may be required, rather than an on-the-job resource. Just in time training is great for a quick knowledge recap or upskill, but some content, such as more nuanced soft skills and ethics training might require a more focused learning environment and dedicated learning time.

How to implement just in time learning in the workplace

Just in time learning can be applied to a number of different organizations. If you’re looking to boost efficiency with no sacrifice on learning quality, it could be the training solution you need. 

Here, we’ve compiled a simple step-by-step guide to implementing a just in time training model in the workplace. 

Step one – Decide what information is needed just in time

As you are targeting immediate pain points with just in time training, you can outline topics which will have an instant impact. Here, you should focus on extremely focussed topics when creating these materials. A training needs analysis can help identify which information is needed.

Step two – Design easy to find, digestible learning content

Direct, bite-sized content is at the core of just in time training. If you’re using the JIT model, you’ll need to create short, sharable training that works on all devices. Accessibility is just as important as the type of training itself. Ideally, each component of the just in time training should be no longer than five minutes.

Step three – Utilize real-world examples

Bringing your training to life will help employees retain knowledge better. This is particularly pertinent when creating smaller bursts of learning, where you need to make the most of the time at hand. Provide context to the information by relating it to a real scenario they could encounter at work.

Step four – Measure results and encourage employee feedback

Collecting feedback and employee participation helps to encourage active learning and ongoing development. Providing an avenue for feedback at the end of training offers an area for employees to reach out, if their training needs haven’t been met, and provides indications whether it’s been worthwhile on a personal level. 

Measurement is also important. This could be through analyzing which content employees accessed most often on the job or by measuring knowledge retention through post-training assessments. Either way, good measurement is a sure-fire way of proving ROI from your training.

Create just in time training with Elucidat

If you’ve decided to give just in time training a try, you need a robust elearning platform. That’s where Elucidat comes in. Our software features a veritable arsenal of tools which allows you to train employees at the point of need on all devices. House your training content, and track learner progress, all in one place and create training materials at scale. 

Ready to start your just in time training journey? Book a free personalized demo today to see Elucidat in action.

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Written by Debbie Hill

Debbie is an experienced design consultant with years of experience in the elearning industry. As part of the Elucidat Learning Consultancy team, Debbie supports clients with design concepts and coaching to take their learning content to the next level.

Read more articles by Debbie Hill