JustInTimeLearning2-01

Just-in-Time Learning: The Examples

Last month we told you why Just-in-Time Learning rocks. But, what does just-in-learning look like? How can you begin incorporating it into your own learning strategy? Let’s look at some examples from the Designed:2:Learn team.

1. Outside Resources

One way we provide as many just-in-time learning opportunities as possible is we use outside resources, such as Lynda.com and the Microsoft IT Academy to expand and diversify what we are able to offer, and we have had great success in doing so. These companies, and others like them, are able to offer a broad range of online video tutorials so our learners are able to access trainings on almost any subject they want. This allows our team to focus on creating trainings that are specific to our organization, rather than re-creating learnings that already exist.

2. Tech Time

Tech Time is a series of short, but informative videos that cover topics in technology at NAU. These videos are setup in a podcast style with a host that introduces and explains a topic, and then provides a how-to screencast demonstration. This series allows us to not only educate our learners on a process, but also take the time to explain why this is a tool they might need to use, and create a more personable and welcoming feeling to a topic that might be intimidating for some. Check out our Tech Time page to see some of examples of these videos.

Host introduces and explains a topic
Host introduces and explains a topic
How-to screencast demonstration
How-to screencast demonstration

We release one of these videos every month and we take requests to help populate the series. To learn more about how we create this series, check out some of Audrey Nagel’s articles, such as Utilizing a Green Screen and Recording a Podcast.

3. Tech Tips in 60 Seconds

This is a series that is very similar to Tech Time, except our goal was to remove all the fluff. These videos are designed for those that already know what they want to do and why they are doing it, they just want to do it. So, we just show them how to do it. We limit these videos to around a minute and our learners can pause, rewind, or fast forward to adjust the pace of the video to their needs. We’ve made the time, 60 seconds, a theme in this series to tie it together and make it a little more fun. This includes a countdown clock and language such as “get ready, here we go.”

For when they just want to know how to do it, we just show them how to do it
For when they just want to know how to do it, we just show them how to do it
mytranscript
Videos consist of a screencast, and we count down 60 seconds to connect to our fast-paced theme

These videos take a very short time to produce, and the production process is very similar to how we create screencasts in the Tech Time series. Curious? View some examples of these videos on our Tech Tips page.

4. Quick Reference Guides

Sometimes our learners don’t need full trainings to master skills. Sometimes they just need quick pointers and reminders while they’re on the job. In these cases, videos aren’t always the answer. Instead, quick reference guides can provide a quick and elegant solution. These are guides our learners can print off to hang on their bulletin boards or have on their desks and they contain short quick reminders on tasks that are commonly needed.

Quick Reference guide on how to use a new phone
Quick Reference guide on how to use a new phone

One of the neat things about quick reference guides, is our learners can directly insert them into the situation in which they are needed, and they can be very tangible and hands-on. In the example provided above, this quick reference guide can be kept right next to the phone so as different situations arise, such as the need to transfer a call, our learners can refer to the guide without skipping a beat. However, it is important to make sure you include sound design practices as you produce these guides so it is as easy as possible for your learners to find the information they need. Read up on some of Savannah Barr’s articles on graphic design to help get you started.

5. Personalized Options

Not all of our learners have the same needs when they access our trainings, so we like to add personalized options when we can. This way they can access the information that is most relevant to them, while we are still providing additional information that may be important to someone else. There are many ways to do this, such as asking a learner to self identify through statements, such as “Are you a student or parent?” Or, a really easy way to do this is by adding navigational features such as a Table of Contents so your learner can jump around to specific content based on your needs. This method is especially useful if you are demonstrating the same process on multiple systems, or you have videos that are a little on the lengthy side.

Table of Contents can allow a learner to choose to skip around to topics that are most important to them
Table of Contents can allow a learner to choose to skip around to topics that are most important to them
Allow learners to self-identify, in this case choose their e-mail client, so they are only receiving information most relevant to them
Allow learners to self-identify, in this case choose their e-mail client, so they are only receiving information most relevant to them

 

What do you think? Did we sell you on just-in-time learning? Share with us some of your ideas in the comments below.

Alex is a dual-hatted (or should I say hooded) academic with Master’s degrees in both Anthropology and Educational Technology. Alex specializes in understanding the interactions between learners and technology, the socio-cultural learning environment, Web 2.0 learning strategies, and creating interactive, technology-enhanced learning experiences.

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