Disclosure: MyeLearningWorld is reader-supported. We may receive a commission if you purchase through our links.


What is Just in Time Learning? A Complete Guide for Educators

Schools, companies, and organizations of all types are using Just in Time Learning to improve learning and training outcomes.

Last Updated:

Photo of author

By Anneda Nettleton

just in time learning

Just in Time Learning eliminates wasted hours that accumulate into wasted days by allowing students and employees to learn what they need to know when they need to know it. As one recent study found, Just in Time learning is “beneficial, help(s) students enhance their knowledge-based skills, and [creates] an interactive active learning environment.”

Let me start by giving you an example of how I’ve seen Just in Time Learning used in the classroom:

Tim has been working hard to complete his science project. There’s only one small problem – he can’t recall some of the content that the teacher required him to include. He has tried Googling the information, but it’s just not making sense. Everything seems so complex and the details provided are just too in-depth and complicated. After talking to his teacher, Tim finds some short online tutorials and training resources that make everything so much clearer. This is Just in Time Learning in action!

In the guide below, you’ll learn all about what Just in Time Learning is, its benefits and drawbacks, and tips for incorporating it in your learning or training environment.

What is Just In Time Learning?

Just in Time Learning is about presenting short snippets of information in bite-sized chunks when they are needed.

Learners are able to access short, highly relevant content on demand via responsive technology. The recipient’s ability to make instant use of the newly learned information is what makes it Just in Time.

Today’s highly utilized differentiated instruction enables students of all skill sets, aptitudes, and interests to benefit from Just in Time education. The prompt feedback and ease of accessibility are part of what make this model so useful for any kind of learning culture, from schools to employee training!

A variety of web-based online learning materials enable students to access a variety of lessons and other preparatory work to meet their needs in a real-time setting. Lessons can be adapted as needed.

The classroom environment and whole learning process can be transformed using this approach to disseminate Just in Time content.

Just in Time Content Examples

As an educator, I’ve found there are many ways to provide Just in Time Content to students or employees.

Finding a variety of content that students may need to enrich or remediate their current knowledge is one such way. It can also be personalized (adaptive learning) to fit their specific needs.

For example, do you teach math?

Perhaps, different resources can be provided for students to access as a means of review when they need it in real-time. There’s no waiting or whole group instruction that an entire class might not need.

Are you trying to teach learners to write with meaning? Organize a Just In Time Curriculum that once again promotes specific skills students may enter your class not knowing. When students recognize the need to review types of persuasive writing, ways to engage an audience, and more, they will have access to Just in Time tidbits that put them in the driver’s seat!

There are so many ways to use this method for reaching students, whether you’re teaching how to read, how to code, onboarding and training remote employees, or anything else. The flipped classroom design can be used in conjunction with Just in Time teaching and learning to promote greater success in the classroom.

Really determining what works for your Just in Time learning is one of its many benefits! To better understand this pedagogical method, let’s take a closer look at some benefits!

The Benefits of Just in Time Learning

  • It’s flexible. Responsive technology as a means of deploying Just in Time Learning makes it flexible and easy to disseminate. Finding the time to complete a 5-minute lesson is much easier than trying to make it to a learning session with others. As a teacher, I’ve found this kind of flexibility can reduce stress and create more interest in excelling!
  • Easily accessible. Accessible via mobile devices and mobile internet, the brief lessons provided via JIT learning do not require extra equipment or training. The accessibility of Just in Time Training can provide a means for everyone to aim for success with just a few clicks. With the materials already available for access on your LMS or other learning platform, students will feel more motivated to take charge of their own learning.
  • Highly relevant content. The content is targeted toward what learners need when they need it. There is no fluff, wasted momentum, or carving out a ton of time to learn just a little. Instead, the content presented using the JIT method is brief (similar to microlearning) and can be completed in 5 minutes or less. By determining what areas most need such training, learners are better prepared to find success using this method and can enjoy greater knowledge retention.
  • Assembling NOT required. Instead of having to assemble a group together, individual learners can access the content they need to address competency gaps. As an educator, I know all too well that scheduling a time when everyone can meet and/or study the same topic can be difficult. Many students may have needs that vary from their peers. What’s great is that this method allows learners to access training materials targeted to their needs right when they need it.
  • Enhanced effectiveness. By providing JIT learning to meet the needs of learners, effectiveness can be easily attributed by creating content to meet unique needs. Given that learners can access content on their schedule and according to individual needs, effectiveness is greatly improved.
  • Asynchronous learning process. It can be impossible to teach students 5 different skills at the same time, but using JIT learning in conjunction with asynchronous learning is a win-win. I’ve found that more can be accomplished in less time and with less balancing for the teacher and student alike. Furthermore, this is a money-saving technique since teachers, facilitators, and other support staff are not needed.

Drawbacks of Just In Time Training

  • More planning required. Building a JIT learning curriculum will take time, whether you’re creating an online course or working remotely with students or employees. It requires carefully considering what lessons are needed and the best way to create these jam-packed mini-lessons in 5 minutes or less. Figuring out the topics, how to best create the content, and then how to disseminate it will take some careful planning!
  • Organization can be a pain. Figuring out the best method for organizing the content that you created for JIT learning can prove problematic. It has to be arranged in a way that learners can find easily. If the content created is going to be easily accessible, it must be properly organized. Categorizing courses to make them easily searchable is a big potential drawback.
  • Asynchronous learning can be a double-edged sword. Sure, asynchronous learning is wonderful in the sense that no facilitators are required. No hectic scheduling is required to assemble everyone. But, one of the big drawbacks of asynchronous learning I’ve found is that learners have to be motivated and able to complete their learning tasks without someone monitoring them. In some cases, this can prove problematic.

Tips For Making Just In Time Learning a Success

Schools, companies, and organizations of all types are finding Just in Time Learning to be incredibly beneficial, but there are some steps you need to take to implement it properly. Here are a few tips I’ve found to be helpful to ensuring a smooth transition to a Just in Time Learning format.

  • Determine what is needed. Determining which content needs to be taught via Just in Time training is a key step in getting started. Once the topics are determined, resources can be curated to begin the process of helping learners close the knowledge gap!
  • Don’t try to make all learning available via JIT. Find the best and most needed topics for use with the JIT model. From there, begin designing the learning options. Imagine what information is most beneficial using this method, but not that you cannot include all the curriculum.
  • Determine what is already available. Look at the current curriculum. What is already working? What needs to be changed? Where is there confusion? Look to clarify where problems exist and how to remedy those areas using a JIT lesson.
  • Organize learning categories. Group similar concepts together. Look at the topics and find a way to keep similar content together. By consolidating some ideas, learners will be able to find information faster. Creating an effective just-in-time learning model is critical to its success. Keeping the content organized from the beginning will help this not become a problem in the first place.
  • Chunk learning. One reason Just in Time Learning works is because it is easily digestible. Try to chunk information and make it available in concise sections. Avoid long drawn-out explanations. Try to keep information in smaller chunks and include only the most pertinent information.
  • Provide examples. By providing scenarios and examples in your training session, learners can interact with the content. Don’t create just information. These real-life examples can truly engage learners and make the content more meaningful for them. Find a way to make the content applicable to the learner. How can they better understand and apply the content using less basic recall?

Creating a Win-Win with Just In Time Learning!

It’s so easy for people to find 5 minutes to learn something! The brevity and on-demand access utilized with Just in Time Learning is great for learners needing some remediation and training content in specific areas.

By carefully assessing what is working and what is not, educators can strike a balance with greater success and less frustration!

Other Useful Resources

Have any questions about Just In Time Learning? Let us know by commenting below.

Leave a Comment