Over the past year we have been publishing extracts from The New Learning Architect. We continue with the sixth part of chapter 11:
Having identified those needs which require a proactive approach, whether formal or non-formal, you can turn your attention to the ways in which you can support performance reactively, on a just-in-time basis. On-demand learning is likely in most cases to act as a support for formal and non-formal learning, but could in some circumstances stand alone.
On-demand learning will be most effective when:
- the task is performed infrequently;
- the task is complex, involves many steps or has many attributes, and is therefore hard to remember;
- the consequence of any error would be intolerable;
- performance depends on knowledge, procedures or approaches that change frequently;
- there is a high turnover of employees and the task is perceived to be simple;
- it is realistic for employees to have the time to consult a reference resource before carrying out the task;
- there is little time or few resources to devote to training.
Top-down approaches to on-demand learning, such as the use of performance support materials, online books, help desks, and mobile learning resources will work best when:
- the knowledge and skills in question are important and/or used regularly;
- expertise is not widely distributed;
- it is important that you control the quality of the support provided;
- the employees in question are less independent as learners.
Bottom-up approaches such as consulting colleagues, online search, using forums and using wikis will work best when the employees in question:
- have little commonality in terms of their needs;
- have more discretion over how they use their time;
- have access to the necessary communication channels;
- are more independent as learners.
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