Providing the right people with the right information in the right format at the right time may be the way forward for effective learning interventions.
We all appreciate that wise word of advise at the point of application and consider it invaluable, so why do we persist in training people weeks, months and in some cases even years before they have need of the competence being discussed?
There are obvious answers to that question, many training topics will be applied quite quickly. Competencies we would label as ‘life skills’ by their very nature often present the opportunity to practice them immediately.
But wouldn’t it be much more effective for us to train specific skills right at the point of demand – Just In Time? Negotiation skills in the run up to a major negotiation, presentation skills just before the speaking opportunity, interview skills during a recruitment programme.
Whilst organisations may attempted to reduce the gap between training and application, adopting more modular learning interventions and linking interventions with work requirements, we do not see many examples of truly demand orientated solutions. One of the reasons for this may have to do with the paradigm of desiring to train groups of people. If I’m an individual giving a big presentation next week (other than signing up late to a public course) it will be good fortune if I can book on an appropriate course in time. It’s more likely that I’ll not manage to secure any formal support. An alternative solution is needed.
So how would you do it?
We think it would be easy to set up a whole organisation solution based on ‘Just In Time’ learning interventions. You would need:
- A selection of clear concise modules covering the topics that would have the most regular demand.
- To provide a selection of self help tools, templates and guideline resources.
- To offer a help-desk style learning intervention that puts the individual in direct contact with an expert in the subject area.
The help-desk response could go a stage further and offer the facility to review materials, ideas, presentations or anything that the delegate is using as they prepare for the delivery. OK, so this is a form of coaching, but surely it’s time to build products that offer this type of support at a cost that can be rolled out to significant populations of learners.
It would require a forward thinking HR function ready to explore Just In Time training interventions, with the desire to resource the development of an appropriate range of topic modules.
It clearly does not need to replace other intervention approaches or programmes, it could effectively support learners in a new way at the point they need that input. If you were pushed for time and needed some quick influencing skills for a meeting tomorrow then wouldn’t you turn to a JIT solution if it was available?
We think this approach could be utilised by large multinationals down to small organisations that don’t have the budgets for their own in house interventions. It could bring a new dimension to skill adoption, by providing the perfect driver for behavioural change – user demand.
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