Canada Association of Tourism Employees

Offering Simply-In-Time Studying To Help eLearning

What is just-in-time learning?

Just-in-time learning is a teaching and learning approach that provides learners with information or activities on a specific topic or skill that are readily accessible. This approach can be used to aid learning in a number of ways.

How can just-in-time learning support learners?

Research has shown that courage, a growth mindset, and conscious practice improve retention and success in online learning [1]. Just-in-time learning, when used effectively, can help build a bold and growth-oriented mindset as it reduces frustrations and builds confidence by providing learners with instant targeted support to help them successfully complete assigned tasks can. This type of learning also provides conscious exercise as learners can access it when they need to apply it and access it as often as needed. Because just-in-time learning activities are short and focused, multiple options can be provided for the same topic to suit different learning styles and preferences.

Just-in-time learning can also be used to allow students to learn any essential skills or knowledge that are not covered in the course but are required to complete coursework. For example, students can be assigned the task of writing an essay, creating a video, or presenting a PowerPoint presentation to assess their knowledge of the course content. However, some students may need detailed instructions on how to write an effective essay, or create engaging videos or presentations. In these cases, just-in-time learning activities that focus on these processes can be included to provide immediate support to students when needed.

Anyone who has taught before knows that students come to you with a lot of prior knowledge of the subject. By using just-in-time learning opportunities, a framework can be provided for those students who need remedial action. Scaffolding introduces new learning in small steps, each building on previous steps and knowledge [2]. Just-in-time activities that are scaffolded allow students to bring their specialist knowledge to the level required to be successful in the course. This strategy reduces frustration and keeps all students engaged and interested by providing support to those who need it without obstructing other students or engaging them in learning activities with content they have already mastered.

Just-in-time learning activities can also be used to provide a framework for complex assignments for students who need help breaking the assignment down into smaller steps.

The quality of blended or flipped courses can be improved through the use of just-in-time learning. Focused, section-by-section teaching conveying assigned content can be presented online for students to complete before moving on to the in-person portion of the course. This approach allows content to be presented in a variety of ways and to be called for understanding as often as necessary. Students then come to class with a solid understanding of the content, which enables class time to be spent applying and improving that knowledge through practical application, in-depth discussion, and other methods that are thought-provoking and more engaging than listening to a lecture .

Although this approach has been specifically designed for teaching and learning in education, it is increasingly being used in institutional training as well. Just-in-time learning can be provided for employees who need to learn or review skills, policies, or processes. This approach helps employees as it provides small portions of focused training that can be accessed when needed and applied immediately.

Examples of just-in-time learning for students

1. Students are asked to create a timeline of the commercial aviation industry. The course content would provide the information that students need to include on their timeline, but not provide much support for creating a timeline and the information in it. Just-in-time activities could include examples of schedules that students review and identify common features that should be included in their own timeline. Another activity could be an example of an interactive timeline with pictures that would encourage students to use a creative engaging design.

2. Students take a dental assistant course, during which they know the different areas of a dental practice, including their purposes and uses. Options other than reading about the different areas would better suit the needs of different learning styles. A just-in-time activity could offer a virtual tour of a dental office, with each area having a clickable feature that provides details about the purpose and use of that area. Another option could be a video interview with a dental assistant explaining the different areas and their purposes and uses.

3. In an art evaluation course, students are asked to compare the styles of different famous artists. Providing online groups of images from each artist that students could scroll through for review would help students illustrate the different styles. Seeing multiple examples of each artist’s work would be much more interesting and useful for comparison than reading them in one text.

Examples of just-in-time learning for employees

1. A human resources department requires all employees to review their Internet security policies annually. Rather than having people simply read the guidelines and confirm they understand them, an engaging activity could be provided that is always available for reference and for annual reviews. The policy topics could easily be displayed with clickable links that, when selected, provide details that include images, audio, and / or video.

2. A distribution company wants to provide new employees with an orientation that includes the location and description of various warehouse areas. In addition to a complete live solution, an online option can be provided as a reference if required. This just-in-time option could include an aerial view of the warehouse with clickable hotspots for each section that enlarges and describes that section.

Final thoughts

When determining what just in time knowledge and skills will be needed to support students, consider the following:

  • What skills are required to complete the assignments or exams that are not taught in the course?
  • What previous knowledge is required to be able to integrate the new information into the course?
  • How can the topics be broken down into focused topics and presented in an appealing and interesting way?
  • Which scaffolding options may be required for renovation and complex tasks?
  • What different learning opportunities can be offered to meet the needs of different learners?

When determining what just-in-time knowledge and skills will be needed to support employees, consider how just-in-time learning might be developed in relation to:

  • Current training courses are offered
  • Existing problems or conflicts in the workplace
  • Knowledge needs for new employees
  • Specific knowledge required for different positions
  • Interests of professional development

* Click below to view examples. With a subscription, these interactions can be easily customized and viewed on many different devices. Customization features make these useful for many different purposes developed with your own content.

Examples of just-in-time learning for students:

  1. Example of a timeline
  2. Office instructions
  3. Pan images

Examples of just-in-time learning for employees:


[1] Courage, growth mentality and conscious practice in online learning

[2] framework

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