As social learning becomes more prevalent with the increase in the use of technology, one of the biggest learning department challenges is managing the difference between tops down corporate initiated training requests and bottoms up field training requests. The top down request is usually more comprehensive and includes large amounts of information and learning “just in case” a customer asks. The bottom up request is usually less formal, more specific and tightly focused on current perceived value based on past experience. Put simply, it is the standard “just-in-case” comprehensive learning model vs. a more informal “just-in-time” learning model. So how should the learning department proceed? Err on the side of just-in-time learning.
Start with the “bottoms up” request - The information or learning being requested means it is not readily available on the web or from their peers. Therefore, if the front line believes it is valuable and can’t find it through social means, produce it. They’ll appreciate not only the information, but the learning department support. Caution: Avoid the urge to slip in the tops down information as filler. You risk it minimizing the value in the eyes of the front line employees.
Inventory “tops down” just-in-case information - This has value, albeit from a different perspective the front line may appreciate. Organize and store the additional information in an easily accessible place.
Deliver the “bottoms up” content and link to additional “top down” information - People appreciate consuming valued content with the ability to access more if interested. You’ve done this by separating the bottoms up preferred information from the tops down comprehensive information.
Prioritizing the “bottoms up” just-in-time learning model allows employees to easily consume the most valued information quickly and access related information upon a customer request or when time permits. In our fast paced, information rich world, just-in-time learning trumps just-in-case learning every time.