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Just-in-time learning in the workplace

I am always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.
Winston Churchill

I think all adults can relate to this. Especially employees, when it comes to training.

Formal training just feels too much like school, and adults are supposed to be past that. While everyone seems to agree on its importance for the organization's development towards success, formal training is all about pushing knowledge into learners' brains and focusing on the teachers' / trainers' needs.

Employees may always be eager to learn — how things work in their new team, how to be better at what they do, what new technologies can assist their jobs — but formal training can only get them so far.

That's why social and experiential learning are so important. The 70:20:10 model of learning and development for businesses takes the focus off the formal training and puts it on the learner and their needs.

People simply don't learn that much during long sessions of training. The human brain doesn't work that way. Most of the information employees learn in a formal setting will inevitably be forgotten in the next few days, or by the next month.

People learn by doing and they learn all the time.

Learning and development strategies need to include the three parts of the 70:20:10 model and they need to respond to the needs of the ever more sophisticated adult learner of today. Modern employees want unlimited access to learning and they want it just when they need it. If they are the ones who pull the new knowledge, they'll use it better and they'll remember it later.

Just-in-time learning puts the employee in control — learn where they are, learn when they need to, and set how much time it takes to absorb the various pieces of information. Just-in-time learning may be the secret to better employee performance.

How an LMS supports just-in-time-learning in the workplace

A business LMS is just a cog in the whole system of workplace learning. Nothing can replace the people power in a company. But technology is supposed to assist people in their journey to better business performance, and the use of an LMS can support employees and just-in-time learning.

First and foremost, instructional designers can create a variety of courses that can adopt a more learner-centered approach to training. Bite-sized learning modules, multimedia content, interactive videos, gamification, learning scenarios, or velfies, are just scratching the surface in terms their choices.

All learning materials can easily be stored in a central repository, where everyone has access. Depending on the types of documents, and the types of training, employees can make use of all or certain learning materials. If they know where to look up information, less employees will try to reinvent the wheel, and solve their problems faster.

Instructional designers can easily correct any error and make sure all information in every course is always up-to-date. In the fast-paced working environments we all know, information can quickly become obsolete, and it is in no-one's interest that employees learn outdated things. This also supports continuous learning at work.

Modern LMSs respond to the needs of busy employees through collaboration tools, which enhance internal communication. Instant messaging, group chats, or social-media like tools keep employees in the loop with the learning content, and support discussions and collaboration. People learn a lot from others, co-workers and managers alike.

Another thing that should be mentioned is the fact that a business LMS has a responsive design. Maybe not all of them are responsive, but the trend is obviously in favor of code that makes the training courses render well on all screen sizes. This means that employees can access all learning materials through their smartphones and tablets, taking training outside the workplace walls.

Last but not least, a business LMS will trace all, or the majority of the just-in-time learning activities of employees, and generate reports on them. This makes it easier to spot learning preferences for certain training materials, devices, hours of the day, or time spent for a lesson.

Over to you. How else do you think an LMS can support just-in-time learning in the workplace? Please share your opinion in the comments section.