Just in Case Versus Just in Time Learning


Just in Case Versus Just in Time Learning

Learning should be a major part of getting things done but learning for its own sake is a distraction and makes achieving goals harder.

My hot button is learning; I love learning and then running what I learn through the filter of my experience, so I can help others achieve their goals. Since my fourth year of high school, I have read an average of four or five books weekly. This has given me a wealth of knowledge, but it has a downside.

There are three different types of learning:

  • Baseline learning.
  • Just in Time (JIT) learning.
  • Just in Case (JIC) learning.

Baseline learning.

Baseline learning is the knowledge we seek to begin something new, like a business. It forms the basic skills and knowledge base necessary to start.

Once we have our baseline learning trouble arises if we confuse JIC learning with JIT learning.

Just in Case learning.

JIC learning is the result of a desire to not miss out or to be prepared, for anything. FOMO used to be called ‘Keeping up with the Jones’, it was no less potent a behavioural driver then, than it is now. In the entrepreneurial world, too many worry about missing out on what the latest ‘guru/thought leader’ said was important.

Just because a ‘thought leader’ says that you should be doing ‘X’, or you will be ‘left behind’ does not mean it is the right thing for your business. ‘Thought leaders’ make their living identifying trends and sharing this information with their followers. Their advice is without real context for your business, or goals.

The result of contextual irrelevance is a hard drive, bookshelf or Kindle filled with courses and books that are often never started or read. This is a waste. With Google and YouTube, it is easier than ever to find the knowledge that you need when you need it.

The opportunity cost of JIC learning is enormous and impacts your business especially if you are starting up or trying to scale. Marking a webinar off your to-do list may feel good but what else could you have done in that hour?

Learning something new today may feel good but if it doesn’t move your business forward is it as helpful as it seems?

Instead of letting the ‘gurus/thought leaders’ dictate your priorities, your focus should be on your business goals and on only learning the needed things in the context of those goals.

Just in Time learning.

JIT learning is the top up learning that you add to your baseline in line with the needs of your business. Once your business is running this is the time to stop and identify the skills and resources it needs to level up and to achieve your goals.

To use JIT learning you need to unpack your goals into objectives and then identify the actions necessary to reach them. Once these are unpacked, you can fully understand what you need to learn to move your business forward.

A key question to ask once your goals are unpacked is:

“Do I need to learn anything new?”

Answering this is the key to using JIT learning to drive action.

Try doing this for every action step you have identified.

Break it into three parts:

  • Part one – What you already know and can execute.
  • Part two – What actions you need to learn more about.
  • Part three – The action you need to take to use the learning.

Review your on-going learning needs every three months and ensure that what you learn stays relevant to your business needs.


Learning is the key to making progress, gaining new perspectives, and unlocking new ideas. But learning for learning’s sake, without action is a waste of time and effort. Your focus now should be on ignoring the advice from ‘gurus/thought leaders’ and instead be on working on your business goals.

Make your learning from here on out, context-based and focussed on enabling the actions needed to achieve your business goals. Any other learning is either for pleasure (and never at the expense of your JIT learning) or not at all. None should be JIC learning.

JIT learning is for progress, JIC learning is for wasting time.

You need to stop buying courses and business books just in case and start acting, just in time.

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