In case you missed it, short is the new long. That’s right, brevity and timing are the real keys to the best training success. (Yes, we know, mind blown!) As for those long training sessions where daydreaming runs rampant, FOMO (that’s fear of missing out for all you non-millennials) seizes everyone, and most of what is taught is quickly forgotten, well, that type of training needs to go away. Especially when the modern human attention span is now officially shorter than a goldfish.
But hey, why spend a long time learning something you might forget before you need it, when you can learn it at just the moment when the knowledge can be put to good use? This is the case with just-in-time (JIT) training sessions—training provided right when employees need it.
Imagine a new product has just come out and your sales team has a big meeting with a client who might be interested. You can use a just-in-time training course to deliver product information and sales points to your team right before the big meeting. If they were presented with this info a week before the meeting, they might forget most of it and need a refresher. It’s kind of like cramming for a test so the information is fresh and easily recalled. The sales team wows the client, and can easily refer back to the JIT training before the next big pow-wow with another prospect.
And now, as promised, six killer tips for just-in-time training that you can use anytime:
1. KISS (not the band, the acronym: keep it short & sweet)
In other words, get to the point! Long-winded lectures will only put people to sleep. You have something important to say and the people you’re training want to learn. Don’t hold them hostage as you wax poetic about the nuances of your philosophy of whatever thing it is you wax on. The best learning is delivered in small doses and digested at the optimal time when you need it, which also improves retention.
2. Be available 24/7 and 365
Mobile learning is all the rage these days. And for good reason. That’s because the modern workforce is increasingly on the go. The best way to keep people trained and sharp is to offer that training through the emerging e-learning model. E-learning is not only effective as a method of training, but it provides tremendous flexibility to engage your employees at the most opportune time—24/7.
3. Keep it real with context-driven training
Any well-designed training truly worth its value provides context that can effectively inform the content. Content is great for providing the “how to,” but it’s the context that provides examples of actionable application of that content, whether it’s the right words for an irate customer, the best language to close a deal, or what to say when making a cold call. Think of it as a kind of theater, but without all the “Et tu, Brute?” Instead, context is designed to capture the most accurate work experience possible. Context from a well-designed just-in-time training perspective would provide a training resource library with videos tagged and organized by real-world situations, such as “angry customer” or “refund policy.”
4. Mistakes are your friend, embrace them
As much as it pains us to admit it, the first iteration of any training course isn’t always perfect and will likely have some flaws. But, when something goes wrong with just-in-time training, you can just as responsively address the error and make your training even better. Regular assessments reveal where people have issues with their training so that courses can be quickly adjusted to better address what is needed. The immediacy of micro-assessments empowers trainers and trainees to get more out of the experience, and immediately apply the new knowledge to their jobs.
5. Be there even when you’re not with virtual mentoring
Your 15 minutes of fame will probably be closer to five, and they’ll have to be a fantastic five to make an impact. Of course, we’re talking about the short and informative video you’ll create to mentor your trainees as part of your killer just-in-time training program. Mobile learning provides incredible ongoing opportunities to enhance retention through regular video engagement so you can be there to mentor your future stars every step of the way. Not sure where to begin? Start with something fun like:
Things to say when a customer says no
Five words every customer wants to hear
Turning a no into a yes
6. Be friendly, easy to find, and organized and people will like you
We don’t need to go as far as Stuart Smalley and affirm this in a mirror or anything, but when it comes to solid just-in-time training what matters most is creating content your audience will like. An excellent way to do this is through a user-friendly, easy to find, and highly organized system that links up seamlessly with busy sales and customer service employees. They have enough to do; it’s important that their training is ready to go and simple to access when they’re ready to use it.
Apply these best practices to your just-in-time training and you’ll see a difference in no time.
How has just-in-time training worked for you? Do you have any other best practices to share? Let us know in the comments below.
VP of People and Places