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How to Drive Just-in-time Learning with Performance Support Tools

October 7, 2020 | By Asha Pandey


How to Drive Just-in-time Learning with Performance Support Tools

Business is accelerating. The amount of information employees need is expanding, and they’re often remote. This article illustrates how performance support tools can help you drive just-in-time learning – particularly for your remote workforce.

What Is Just-in-time Learning in the Workplace?

Traditional training methods typically require one of two things – employees gather in formal synchronous instructor-led classes or they complete asynchronous extended online courses.

While both modalities have value, just-in-time learning in the workplace can be used to enhance employee performance so that they have the information they need when they need it. Consider this situation: A lab technician needs to run a diagnostic test with a recently upgraded piece of hardware. She was trained on the older model but notices that the user interface has changed. Her employer could ask her to attend a class designed to instruct her on the new interface. Or, using just-in-time training, her employer could provide a quick interactive walkthrough in a performance support tool (app) on the employee’s tablet, saving time and money as she learns in the flow of her normal work.

What Are Performance Support Tools, and How Can They Help Drive Just-in-time Learning in the Workplace? 

Performance support tools are specific learning aids or job aids that support learners exactly at the moment of their need. They are valuable in helping learners address a specific challenge, need, or improve the application of learning. Short, focused, and action-oriented, they support formal training and are designed to be available in the learner’s workflow, rather than having to log on to the LMS and secure this specific information.

Using performance support tools to drive just-in-time learning in the workplace has many benefits for employees and employers, including the following:

  1. Assist remote workers: They can help remote learners get access to the required support any time and within their workflow.
  2. Provide learning on demand: Using a performance support tool to deliver just-in-time training, learning on demand, means that employers can provide the exact information employees need. They won’t waste time sitting through long classes or scrubbing through online courses.
  3. Empower employees: Employees are empowered to leverage just-in-time learning in the workplace exactly when they need it.
  4. Just-in-time learning: The use of just-in-time learning in performance support tools means that employees must no longer remember how to do infrequently performed tasks.
  5. Appeals to learners who seek specific support in quick time: Several learners prefer experimentation and information seeking to traditional training. They can be more selective as they seek knowledge, and performance support tools resonate well with them.
  6. Enables capturing SME knowledge: As the SME knowledge is captured in performance support tools, it enables others to tap into their knowledge asynchronously, exactly when they need it.
  7. Current and relevant information: Implementing performance support tools allows organizations to control the source of information employees access and keep it current and relevant.

How Can You Implement Just-in-time Learning Through Performance Support Tools?

Just-in-time learning should be available in the employee’s natural workflow, creating an accessible and seamless connection between job performance and learning. Implementing just-in-time learning is most effective when performance support tools can organize information based on a specific job process and customized audience needs.

There are many options when implementing a performance support tool, including Digital Adoption Platforms (DAPs) like WalkMe and Whatfix. These tools allow you to include in-app tutorials and walkthrough overlays, helping employees learn new applications and processes.

Leveraging microlearning formats: Just-in-time learning in the workplace presented through a performance support tool is most effective when delivered in microlearning formats.

Microlearning is an effective approach to offer just-in-time learning through performance support tools as it is:

  • Easy to access on demand.
  • Easy to share.
  • Searchable.
  • Made up of clear, step-by-step instructions and lists.
  • Current.
  • Linkable to longer-form learning for additional information.
  • Highly granular and broken down into small pieces.
  • Short and easy to scan text.

Examples of Just-in-time Training – Key Microlearning Formats as Performance Support Tools

The following lists some examples of microlearning formats that can be delivered as just-in-time learning in the workplace through a performance support tool:

  • Interactive PDFs.
  • Short video clips.
  • Interactive infographics.
  • eBooks.
  • HTML5 flipbooks.
  • Animated videos.
  • Whiteboard animations.
  • Explainer videos.
  • Expert videos.
  • Recorded webinars.
  • Audio books and podcasts.
  • Parallax learning paths.
  • Mobile apps.
  • Branching scenarios.

Where Does Just-in-time Training Fit into the Training Strategy?

Like any solution, just-in-time training is not a silver bullet. Alone, it provides concise information but may be too decontextualized for employees to use effectively. However, coupled with effective traditional training solutions, a performance support tool that provides just-in-time training for employees can greatly enhance their job performance. It gives employees the opportunity to find what they need to know, when they need to know it, creating room for innovation and creativity. Just-in-time training must be a key piece of an organization’s overall learning and performance support strategy.

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