Just-In-Time Learning: Learn Faster, Remember More, & Get More Results

Just-In-Time Learning

By Brandon Fong | Productivity

Just-In-Time Learning:


If you’re obsessed with learning, you know the problem:

Too much you want to learn, not enough time.

How can you prioritize what you should learn first?

In this short article, you’ll find out how a concept called just-in-time learning can help you.

Keep reading.

Requirements for Adult Learning

Malcom Knowles was one of the pioneers of the theory of andragogy... aka adult learning theory.

Sounds fancy, but the basic idea is this:

Adults learn differently than kids.

When you understand why adults learn differently, it becomes clearer how you should choose what to learn.

Knowles had 5 assumptions that underpinned his work about how adults learn.

Instead of boring you with all 5 of them in “scientific-ey” language, here are the two that are most important in helping us determine what to learn next... in plain English:

  1. Readiness To Learn: We are most interested in learning things that are relevant to our lives.
  2. Orientation To Learning: We want to apply what we are learning ASAP and are more concerned about solving problems than learning more about the subject

In other words, if you want to...

  1. Learn something faster
  2. Have more focus and concentration while you are learning
  3. Get better results from what you learn

... choose topics that are incredibly relevant and that can be applied immediately to improve your life.

In other words:

Use just-in-time learning, not just-in-case learning.

On Just-In-Time Learning VS Just-In-Case Learning

In school, just-in-case learning was shoved down our throats.

Our curriculum is based on what we might face when we enter the workforce... which leads to a lot of boring homework and lectures.

We are forced to learn it, then immediately forget it because we have no need for the information.

Just-in-case learning isn’t exciting.

But, just-in-time learning is.

Just-in-time learning is when you can immediately apply what you are learning to improve your life.

The immediate applicability:

  1. Makes consuming material more engaging
  2. Enables you to apply what you are learning, therefore solidifying your knowledge
  3. Helps you to consume the information faster with higher retention

This is why for the most part I orient my learning around just-in-time learning.

The Just-In-Time Learning Information Filter

Just-in-case information can be useful.

Personally, I’ve found it to be much less powerful.

Whenever I’m choosing my next book to read, I use a “just-in-time learning filter” to actually help me determine if it’s the best time to dive in.

Here are some of the questions I ask myself before choosing a new topic:

  1. On a scale of 1-10 without choosing 7, how excited am I about this? If it falls below a 7, I won’t read it.
  2. Can I immediately apply this content to my life?
  3. Compared to other content I could be consuming that I am equally excited about, which would help me get the most results?

By asking myself questions of this nature, it’s much easier for me to choose my next learning project.


Life is too short to be wasted learning ineffectively.

By choosing what to consume based on just-in-time learning, you are setting yourself up to learn faster, remember more, and get more results on your time invested.

Happy learning!