Just in time learning
The internet has become a great tool with a variety of uses. We use it to connect with people through email, social media, dating sites, video link and in so many other ways. We use it to sell products and to shop for pretty much anything we want. It has many uses but probably the biggest and most beneficial use is the information it holds. The internet has given us the ability to learn, and learn quickly. The web enables us to learn ‘Just in Time’ for when we need to get something done.
You can pretty much learn anything online, from how to solve maths equations to how to build a kitchen, what fashion suits your body shape or how to cook a 5 star meal or how to fly an aeroplane and how to service your car. Seriously, think of something random, Google it, and I am sure someone out there has put up something on the topic. I just searched ‘how to dissect an ant’ and was surprised at the amount of YouTube clips and web pages that came up.
Just in time manufacturing
Back in my industrial engineering days I learned about a concept known as ‘Just in time manufacturing’. Just in time manufacturing is a methodology aimed primarily at reducing flow times within production as well as response times from suppliers to customers, Ref: Wikipedia.
Back in the 60’s and 70’s, just in time manufacturing started in Japan and by the 80’s it had migrated to the western industry and its features were put into many big companies. This new tool allowed for the quick manufacturing of products which reduced flow times and costs. If a part was needed it was able to be delivered just in time to be installed. No longer did huge storage sheds full of parts need to be around or the long wait for parts as we had the ability to get the part manufactured quickly once it was ordered.
I think of Just in Time Learning in much the same way. It is reducing the amount of time it takes for work to be carried out. It enables us to find out how to do something, often giving us easier, quicker, cheaper and better ways to do things.
Just in time learning aids the ability to be agile and lean
Being agile is being able to move quickly and easily. Being lean is having the ability to reduce or eliminate non value added activities. Being agile and lean really comes down to being able to adapt to change quickly; or keeping up with the current technology. Just in time learning certainly gives us the ability to be agile and lean.
Technology is changing very quickly, new and better programs are introduced so frequently and as a graphic designer and web developer I need to be able to keep up with the trends to stay in the game for my own sake and for my clients. If I was asked to do work using some software I hadn’t used before or a program that was unfamiliar, I could accept the job with confidence, knowing I can learn the information needed in time to complete the project. I have the basic knowledge and tools to be able to easily learn and navigate the unfamiliar using the web to source information, making just in time learning possible. My business is agile and lean because of that.
Being able to learn just in time lets us quickly adapt
I often use the internet to learn how to use software and applications. YouTube has been a lifesaver at times and even when writing code for new websites I have found the internet a quick and easy tool to help get projects completed. I can adapt and overcome challenges by using just in time learning.
Other businesses, I am sure, use just in time learning to adapt quickly to new challenges. For example a mechanic, servicing a car they have never serviced before, may need some extra assistance. This information can be found in the car manual, but if the mechanic knew the car was coming in to the workshop, had a spare slot of time, they could have researched, probably even just watched a 10 min video, and they would be up to speed on how to service the car. They already have the base knowledge and with the abundant amount of information online they are able to learn it quickly and easily just in time for the car to be at the work shop. This would have saved both the car owner and the business precious time, so just in time learning can be beneficial for all involved as it allows people to adapt quickly to new technology.
Just in time learning builds self confidence
Self confidence in what we do can be challenging, particularly when doing something new. If you are about to do a job which you know how to do, but are lacking experience, you can take the time to do a little more online research or watch a few more video clips to build your confidence. Just in time learning allows you to consolidate knowledge and build self confidence.
Just in time learning also gives us the confidence to accept new challenges. For example if a teacher is asked to teach a maths subject and they are unsure of how to even do the questions themselves, they can confidently take on the challenge knowing they have the time to learn the information. Their next job is to learn how to do the maths equations online, even do some practice questions online to consolidate the information, and walk into that classroom confident and ready to teach the students how to complete the questions.
Building self confidence and realising what you are capable of can also build self awareness as you are able to see what you can achieve and improve upon. This can in turn help you realise your strengths and weaknesses and in some cases help increase your motivation and get you working towards your greater desires.
How to use just in time learning
Being able to use just in time learning means the individual needs to have the ability to find the information they need. So being able to research and bring information together to get the job done. There are a few ways to find information; the three main ways I find information for just in time learning is Google search, Blogs and YouTube videos. Sometimes I use a mixture of all three if I am taking a little while to get my head around something.
It is also a good idea if you are using information from a blogger or poster you haven’t used before to check a few sites to make sure the information is credible.
Often if you find someone in the industry who you rely on, you may use this same person for just in time learning if they have information on the topic, because past experience has taught you they do a good job and know what they are talking about.
Other ways I broaden my ability to learn just in time are;
- Subscribing to relevant newsletters
- Following relevant social profiles
- Listening to relevant podcasts
- Attending relevant groups or meet ups
- Having access to relevant mentors
It is important to remember not everyone who puts information onto the internet is credible. So someone claiming to be an expert on breeding parrots may have in fact had a parrot as a child and thinks they know it all. So often looking at a pages rating (if available) or peoples comments, YouTube clips or linked social media accounts you can find out if their information is any good. Or as mentioned above if they do not have this function on the site then simply researching a few resources will often show what information is current and correct.
Another disadvantage of just in time learning is that everyone can become an expert and think they can do things which perhaps they can’t. For example if I decided to use YouTube to build my own bathroom and I took shortcuts or sloppy work the cost of the mistakes could be huge! Imagine bad waterproofing along with leaking taps and cracked tiles. A job you think you are doing yourself to save money could in fact cost you more money, so I guess some substantial foundations are necessary to take on new tasks, but hey, that’s the best way to learn, by giving it a go and working out what needs to be improved upon.
To sum up
Just in time learning is a fantastic tool for all kinds of businesses. It enables us to get work done quicker, and therefore be lean and agile. We are able to quickly adapt to new trends and technology. It allows us to be confident in the work we take on because we know if we need help, there is an abundant amount of information out there that can be accessed quickly, and often Just In Time to get the job done.
psyborg® was founded by Daniel Borg, an Honours Graduate in Design from the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. Daniel also has an Associate Diploma in Industrial Engineering and has experience from within the Engineering & Advertising Industries.
Daniel has completed over 1900 design projects consisting of branding, illustration, web design, and printed projects since psyborg® was first founded. psyborg® is located in Lake Macquarie, Newcastle but services business Nation wide.
I really do enjoy getting feedback so please let me know your thoughts on this or any of my articles in the comments field or on social media below.