Recap: Just-In-Time Training Is Everywhere (and Doesn’t Need to Be High-Tech)

Just-in-time training panelAt ATD ICE (International Conference and Expo) last week, Mimeo hosted a session on How to Deliver Just-In-Time Training on Any Budget.

Our Director of Talent Development, Ann McDonald, moderated the panel featuring:

  • Meghan Atilano, Director of Learning and Development, Panera Bread (Manna Development Group)
  • Michelle Vidensek, Instructional Designer, Google
  • Brian Washburn, CEO and Co-Founder, Endurance Learning

Each panelist brought a different perspective to the session. At Panera, Meghan is responsible for getting workers–many of whom are in their first job–ready to make food for customers in a matter of days. At Google, Michelle’s group is scaling to support hundreds of technical recruiters around the globe, so they are shifting to more just-in-time training to ease the demand on live facilitations. And Brian has worked with organizations of all scopes to prepare just-in-time training that solves their business challenges.

Since the session was standing-room-only, here’s a quick recap of what was covered:

Just-In-Time Training Can Be Simple

Putting content in the hands of learners at their moment of need does not necessarily mean you need to buy an expensive software. Most of the examples shared from the panel are super simple.

At Panera, Meghan uses the P-touch labeler to remind employees of instructions on everything from how many pumps of chocolate to put in a mocha to how to answer the phone.

At Google, Michelle reinforces training with “Learning on the Loo” posters.

Brian shared an example of setting up a Microsoft Word document with a clickable table of contents, while Ann showed Mimeo’s searchable “Grand Central” portal, which is set up easily and cheaply on a Google Site.

It is everywhere

Just-in-time training is not limited to the corporate world and is not limited to job aids or microlearning. In fact, we started our session by handing out cookies that came with their own just-in-time training!

Chips Ahoy just-in-timeBrian pointed out that it is easy to get inspired for your own just-in-time training by looking around at the many examples in the “real world.”

It needs to be user-friendly and dummy-proof

No matter how low- or high-tech your just-in-time training is, the most important aspect is that it be user-friendly.

Brian pointed out an example from the grocery store, where the company spent millions of dollars on a self-checkout system only to use paper and a green highlighter to remind customers of where to look. The computer system likely had the exact same instructions, but because it wasn’t user-friendly, the staff had to find a dummy-proof just-in-time solution.

In the training context, Mimeo uses posters on our own facilities floor to remind workers of a process and then provides more detailed instructions taped to the computer.

Mimeo just-in-time trainingMeasurement is the lack of questions

The audience asked an astute question: how do you measure the effectiveness of just-in-time training? (We love researching this question.)

Meghan’s answer? If the workers don’t ask questions, you must be doing something right.

More realistically, Brian pointed out that just-in-time training is part of a larger learning strategy that is trying to achieve a business objective. If you can show that your overall training program helped hit your goal, then it may not matter which parts of your training was most effective – and in fact, it may vary from learner to learner which part of training has the most impact.

As evidenced by the popularity of our session, just-in-time training is a major part of many learning teams’ strategies.

Check out our slides for more from the panel, or subscribe to our webinars for more sessions like this one!


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