Just-in-Time learning? Learning only when you need it

Just-in-Time learning? Learning only when you need it

The internet has been the biggest driver of change within the realm of learning. From its first fledgling years when educators struggled to harness what were slow, cumbersome and seriously restricted connections, to today, where educators of all descriptions harness this alongside other technologies to tap into all that the modern world can deliver for learners.

Yet it may well be that we’re only just experiencing the biggest benefit of internet and tech powered learning of all: the ability to learn as and when required, at the tap of a button and click of a mouse – and as we’ll go on to see here, it’s truly revolutionising the business environment.

Business information: The problem of knowledge becoming obsolete

Whilst employers continue to value the completion of a degree – it is perhaps becoming more of an employee characteristic to demonstrate ability and capability, rather than knowledge.

This is down to the backdrop that is a business world that continues to move at ever more rapid rates – where what was learnt last week may well soon be obsolete, and where employers must deliver the skills, tools and knowledge that they rely on today to remain competitive.

Just-in-Time learning: The new age answer to old school learning

Just-in-Time learning is replacing hours upon hours of classroom training and it is often completely eradicating the need to sit through equally as lengthy CD-ROM activities and web-based tutorials.

As its name suggests, this is learning that is delivered just in time – on demand. Tapping into what is needed to be learnt then and there. This is rapid, piece by piece learning. And it’s streamlining businesses – saving them time, money and the inconvenience of travel. What’s more it’s delivering all that traditional e-learning does too, such as allowing employees to move at a rate comfortable to them, with training that is often customised to their exact needs. It wraps online learning, satellite channels, video and web and internet based applications into one. This is learning, reinvented.

Going beyond the business classroom

Just-in-Time learning doesn’t only promise much for life-learners within corporations, it’s also been pretty busy revolutionising customer service departments, such as Charles Schwab & Co.'s online brokerage unit, which provides an online web-learning portal for customers. This not only helped them cut staffing costs, it is also acting as a vital tool in moving consumers along that sales funnel – from customers who are exploring to customers who feel informed enough to forge ahead with a purchase.

Udemy: The prime example of Just in Time learning, monetised

You may imagine that short online courses that are paid for are largely redundant – after all, YouTube provides a staggering amount of new, free content every day. Yet there is indeed a growing appetite for premium, to the point content, as websites such Udemy go to prove. What’s more this example also marks a shift to what may be regarded as Crowd sourced teachings – where thousands of tutors create courses based upon their specialisms.

So, just what does all of this mean for the world of traditional education?

Just-in-Time learning presents an interesting picture for schools, colleges and universities the world over. The classic supply and demand model of what employers are looking for may well largely dictate the skills that our students are being equipped with in the future – adapting to consider on-tap, bit-by-bit in-business learning.

What’s more this form of learning has already been harnessed to lead to ‘Just-in-Time Teaching’ – which has arguably achieved the holy grail for many frustrated and under pressure teachers – the ability to boost the amount of activity time during lessons, shifting focus away from the text book and providing teachers with the ability to react rapidly to students’ needs – adapting activities as students’ progress and report upon this progression through exercises undertaken mere hours before class.

Just-in-Time teaching is defined by short web based exercises, with puzzles instead of lengthy assignments and essays which focus on applying newly learnt knowledge in the real world – again overcoming the classroom conundrum that teachings are often too abstract for students to get to grips with.

All of this has led to this form of teaching delivering impressive results, with research finding that Just-In-Time students are more prepared, more engaged and more motivated – making this form of teaching one that is seeing increasing levels of interest.

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