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What Is Just-In-Time Training?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 26 November 2016
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Just-in-time training is a teaching method employed in many professions. It may teach diverse things but the underlying philosophy is that it is best to train employees for some types of work, just before they will perform that work. Training that takes place “just-in-case” or at some point in the distant past is likely to be at least partially forgotten, requiring brush-up or relearning. If just-in-time training is used instead, the likelihood of forgetting what has been learned is decreased and an employee doesn’t have to exert effort to remember very detailed work applications they learned in a just-in-case training session.

Numerous fields employ just-in-time training that employees can then implement quickly. New changes to software or an operating system might inspire employers to offer just-in-time training of employees so that the changes are understood and enhance or don’t get in the way of work. The outbreak of a specific disease, such as H1N1 in 2009 and 2010 prompted many medical facilities and individual doctors’ offices to undergo swift training so that they would recognize the disease and adhere to treatment and handling protocols. Accountants who have just picked up an out of state account might train their employees on the tax laws of that state, which can then be directly applied in formulating the new account’s tax reports.

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Another element to just-in-time training, particularly in manufacturing, is that it can be a way of controlling inventory and saving money on storage costs. Just-in-case training on various manufacturing skills may mean companies must keep stock on hand that it won’t use for years, and providing that storage is costly. When the items needed to perform a job don’t arrive until just before they are used, employees can receive training they need right before they require it, and storage costs of unused equipment or material are lowered. Alternately, “just-in-time manufacturing” may apply to keeping minimal supplies, of things like spare parts, on hand to lower inventory storage costs.

There exist many different ways that just-in-time training might be enacted. Training might be by lecture with accessory written material, but more often it includes things like Powerpoint® presentations, videos or DVDs, and accessible computer programs that include ways to test knowledge. When computers are used, it may not be strictly necessary for all employees to meet at the same time, giving employees more flexibility in pursuing the training.

Some companies specialize in offering training in specific fields or areas of interest. When companies purchase items that will be used every day like computer hardware or software, machinery of various types, or vehicles, the companies that manufacture these items may offer just-in-time training with the purchase or for an additional price. Companies may also produce their own just-in-time education programs, as required by current or upcoming learning needs.

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KoiwiGal
Post 3

@umbra21 - Honestly, I think one of the major draws for companies that employ just in time training, is that the employee can't take that training and run with it. I had friends in college who would take jobs just for the free training and then quit as soon as it was over, and go onto a better job. Obviously you've got to train employees in anything they will need on the job, but teaching them something useful before they actually need it might encourage them to take their skills elsewhere.

umbra21
Post 2

@bythewell - It actually seems like it would be fairly dangerous to me. Most of the training I did at work was to do with safety and it wasn't exactly expected to be used every single day. Admittedly my employers weren't the best at keeping us up to date in the first place (I pretty much had to train myself on how to react to a fire alarm, because they never taught any of us how to do a drill) but I'd still rather know that stuff right from the beginning rather than being given it later on down the line.

If a person is trained well, and given refresher courses as appropriate, then they will remember the skills. If the training is shabby then it might be better to do it closer to the day they will need it. But decent training is going to involve hands-on learning anyway.

bythewell
Post 1

I think this is an excellent idea. I can't count the number of times I was told about something in a job or trained in a specific skill that I wasn't expected to actually use for weeks or months. Either I ended up scrambling around trying to retrain myself (and wasting a lot of time) or I ended up getting someone else to do it.

If I was still in the workforce I would definitely recommend just in time training rather than ticking training off as part of a plan that might take a long time to be implemented completely.

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