Just-in-time inclusive learning allows organizations to better enable employee development.
These days, when you need advice on a recipe, would you attend a cooking course or search the Internet for a quick-hit cooking video? Probably the latter. Workplace learning is no different.
In this technology-driven information age, the availability of new knowledge is increasing rapidly while the availability of time to learn is decreasing just as fast. Workplace learning as a dedicated activity of knowledge acquisition is quickly becoming passé. Modern learners find it too time-consuming. On-demand digital access to new knowledge is the kind of workplace learning experience modern learners expect. Today’s employees prefer to have information just when they need it, where they need it. To keep up with the times, organizations need to change the way they manage the learning needs of their employees.
Just-in-Time Inclusive Learning
As an inclusive learning organization, you are cognizant of the inherent diversity in the learning needs and styles of your employees. You are invested in their growth. And, you are aware of the demands and pressures of the work they engage in. You want them to be able to sync their learning with their busy schedules. You look for creative ways to make your corporate learning easy, flexible and smart. Just-in-time inclusive learning is an effective way to achieve this. It enables employees with diverse learning needs to acquire the skills and competencies for doing the right thing in the right way at the right time.
Just-in-time inclusive learning is where learning is flexible and on-demand, accessible when and where the learner needs it. The purpose of learning here is not to accumulate knowledge that may be applied someday, or perhaps not at all; it is to acquire specific knowledge to solve a single problem at hand.
But how could this be possible in an organizational setting? And how would it fit into organizational strategies? Well, this would be possible with a modern learning platform that affords access to your learning content quickly and easily throughout the workday. Tools that come with such a platform and the processes they enable can facilitate just-in-time inclusive learning and pave the way for employee enablement.
Leveraging a modern learning platform, there are a variety of approaches to facilitate such learning. Here are three in particular:
- Host learning content that is easy to absorb and assimilate
- Enable learning processes that are flexible in form and practice
- Use learning tools that are smart with tracking and assessment
Each of these approaches comes with a number of tips and tricks.
Content – easy to absorb and assimilate
- Design the learning content collaboratively with your employees to ensure they find it simple to learn and easy to apply the knowledge in their work.
- Make bite-sized learning chunks and make them easily digestible; provide links to more information for those with a larger appetite.
- Create an effective information architecture that enables organizing, tagging and storing all content in an easily searchable manner.
- Post QR codes of information in places of learning need such as sticking a sheet with a QR code on a new, sophisticated copying machine that plays a video about how to use it when scanned with a mobile phone.
- Present different representations of the same content such as video (with captions and transcript), audio (with transcript), text document, and information visualization charts to enhance learner comprehension and accessibility.
- Provide definitions for special vocabulary and symbols specific to the domain.
- Highlight major concepts and elements in learning materials.
Process – flexible in form and practice
- Enable personalization of text and image sizes, fonts types, font and background color, sound and speed levels of audio and video resources to suit individual preferences.
- Make content amenable to transformation such as turning text into an audio recording.
- Make sure that the learning content is provided in ways that facilitate easy access; include an effective search engine in your learning system; enable quick access to information already accessed earlier.
- Provide personal spaces for storing, connecting and managing all of the information acquired in the course of learning; enable linking of new information to what was previously learned.
- Store all learning content on the cloud so that it can be accessed from any location.
- Afford seamless access through multiple avenues for on-the-move learning such as through desktop in the office, mobile phone during commute and laptop at home.
- Enable collaboration around learning to achieve common goals together by providing communication processes that support just-in-time learning through colleagues and mentors.
- Leverage a modern learning platform to set up an intra-organizational discussion board for employees to post their questions and problems and get answers from colleagues.
- Harvest collective knowledge and make it a part of the organizational knowledge base such as by logging it into an FAQ section.
- Include peer assessments, group activities, peer tutors, and programs that bring learners with common interests together.
- Provide the necessary bridging resources to ramp up new employees, transitioning employees and other employees who need them.
- Provide scaffolds in learning materials and activities that sequentially guide students through step-by-step procedures; provide a note-taker tool for individual use.
- Allow diverse ways for learners to demonstrate their knowledge and skills.
- Provide tools to manage emotions to help in effectively managing reactions to the learning process, handling frustrations and overcoming learning phobias.
Tools – smart with tracking and assessment
- Create a safe learning environment that supports individual choice and autonomy, thereby stimulating motivation and self-regulation.
- Provide learners with different opportunities to be actively involved in creating their own learning experiences.
- Provide tools like learning trackers, charts, portfolios, and templates to gather information about one’s learning behavior and to monitor one’s own progress.
- Encourage and support “executive functions” that support successful learning such as setting realistic and personal goals, planning how to achieve the goals, tracking one’s own progress, and making the necessary changes.
- Teach meta-skills such as planning and strategic thinking to apply their learning to solve problems in their work situations and further organizational goals.
- Enable skills to organize, categorize, and summarize information; provide learners with guides, templates, and organizers to assist with information management and curation.
- Encourage and motivate submission, posting, and sharing of learning by awarding badges, facilitating public voting for most popular learning snippet for the month, and other forms of recognition.
- Award microcredits that can be cumulated to lead to credentials, rewards, and recognition.
- Support learners in observing and monitoring their own progress by providing constructive feedback on what they are doing well and areas where they need improvement.
- Provide checklists, rubrics, study guides and templates for self-assessment as well as peer-assessment.
Enable, empower, engage
Embracing just-in-time learning is vital for organizations to remain relevant to the needs of the modern learner. On-demand learning is the order of the day. Inclusive learning organizations ensure that training happens all the time, in the flow of work instead of being separate from day-to-day work, and that training programs adapt to the learner instead of the other way around.
Employees in inclusive learning organizations have control over their own learning and are enabled optimally within given resources. Enablement results in empowerment, which leads to an engaged workforce. With the right learning content, processes, and tools, employees can continue to learn, develop, grow, and enhance their value in the workplace. They can expand their skill sets and productivity and contribute to the inclusive learning culture in the organization. The future belongs to organizations that enable fast learning.