4 Common Misconceptions About Just-In-Time Online Training

4 Common Misconceptions About Just-In-Time Online Training
Summary: Just-in-time online training gives employees the resources they need when they need them most. In this article, I share 4 common misconceptions about just-in-time online training that all eLearning professionals should know (and dispel).

Just-In-Time Online Training: Clear The Misconceptions And Make The Best Use Of It

In traditional online training, employees log in to the online training course, learn something new, then take their knowledge with them into the workplace. Activities are intended to practice their new skills. It offers questions and situations where they can apply the ideas in a real-world context. This entrenches lessons deeper into their minds, helping recall. They can also show the employee and instructor how well the concept has (or hasn’t) been understood. In this sense, it can identify areas that need reviewing. JIT online training takes a more proactive approach, in that employees don’t have to wait until the scheduled online training session.

Effective just-in-time online training experiences jog your corporate learners’ brains, nudges their line of thinking, and even primes online discussions. They can seek out information on their own to bridge gaps as soon as they emerge. Below are the 4 most common misconceptions you should know to implement more effective just-in-time online training.

4 Common Myths And Misconceptions About JIT Online Training

1. It’s Just Another Word For Microlearning

A common misconception about just-in-time online training is that it’s the same as microlearning. All you need to do is launch a one-size-fits-all repository with online training activities that cover all the learning preferences and training topics. Ensuring they’re bite-sized and easy to consume. In reality, just-in-time online training is a highly targeted approach. You must first identify your employees’ most common skill, knowledge, and performance gaps. Then use the data to customize your online training resources to address their ‘moment of need’.

That said, just-in-time activities should be in a microlearning format so that employees can absorb the information rapidly. Then apply it in the real world to improve job performance and overcome common challenges. For example, a brief demo video or tutorial can help sales staff develop new techniques and pitch the product more effectively. So, contrary to popular belief, just-in-time online training is not simply another term for microlearning.

2. You Can Only Use It For Reference

In many instances, JIT online training is a last resort or something employees seek out in emergency situations. A salesperson may be closing a deal, and they need to quickly log onto the LMS. They want to confirm how much of a discount they can offer. Or they want some tips on clinching a tough customer. They may want to quickly review a relevant simulation or case study.

That’s not the only way to use just-in-time online training, though. It’s a helpful tool for metacognition. By watching/reading the just-in-time assignment before a session, they build their own ideas on the subject matter. These uninfluenced thoughts can then be reinforced or refuted while they’re still fresh. They get to acquire the right lessons ‘just in time’ before they percolate and infuse into long-term memory.

Plus, the process of consciously shifting their mind-frame plugs the knowledge further into their mental database. It sinks deeper than if you just memorized recited facts. Either way, keep the pre-assignment simple and task-based. No extraneous details for now. In addition, you can design just-in-time deliberately skewed online training activities to spot misconceptions. Then during their class, these erroneous assumptions are corrected by the online instructor or the online training content. The technique helps memory recall because corporate learners are actively involved. The process of ‘changing their minds’ is more memorable than committing dull facts to memory.

3. It’s A Shortcut To Effective Online Training

We’ve all heard, and maybe even experienced, the high school video class. This mostly happens in public schools. Students walk into class and see a big TV monitor and VCR (or DVD/Blu-Ray/projector, etc.). Instead of the teacher talking and dictating notes, the students spend the lesson watching a movie or documentary. JIT online training is not the adult version of that. In many ways, it’s a more intensive system than conventional training.

Just-in-time online training requires multiple levels of planning on part of the Instructional Designer and/or online instructor. If it’s in the form of a reference library, it has to be carefully designed and laid out. It needs to provide easy access, online and offline, across multiple platforms (PC, smartphone, tablet, cloud etc.) If it’s a pre-class assignment, online instructors/Instructional  Designers have even more work. They have to anticipate the questions and conclusions corporate learners will draw. Then they have to figure out how to correct misplaced derivatives. And this all has to happen in a digital format. It’s a lot more work.

4. It’s Suitable For All Subject Matters

You can use just-in-time online training activities for all topics and tasks, right? The truth is that there are some subject matters that require more comprehensive coursework. Likewise, you cannot simply piece together a string of just-in-time online training resources and call it an online training course. Certain training topics call for in-depth discussions and follow-up. However, you can use just-in-time online training as a support tool for these topics. For example, you may not be able to touch on all the COI compliance topics with a single JIT online training activity. But you can develop simulations, branching scenarios, and demos that help employees better understand the policies. As well as allow them to identify areas for improvement and gain real-world experience by learning from their mistakes.


Just-in-time online training seems like a really good idea. Unfortunately, it gets a lot of criticism from people who don’t fully comprehend the system. It seems like a ‘lazy’ way to teach, requiring no corporate learner input. This assumption comes from requiring employees to ‘teach themselves’ during their moment of need. Some people perceive it as a reference tool, or a ‘cheat code’ for online instructors. In reality, just-in-time online training is far more involving than conventional online training, both for the online instructors and corporate learners. Use it in combination with other pedagogy and you’ll see vast improvements in your online output.

Peer collaboration is one of the most powerful forms of JIT online support. Read 6 Ways To Incorporate Social Learning In The Workplace For Just-In-Time Learning Support to learn how to facilitate knowledge sharing and in-house feedback.