The Just-in-Time Trainer

Detailed Lesson Plan

One of the qualities of a good teacher or instructor has traditionally been to have an extensive lesson plan prepared before entering the classroom. I remember even once as I was being evaluated as an instructor for English language the first thing the evaluator asked me about was my lesson plan!

On the Fly

In contrast to that, the just-in-time trainer can adapt and customize the content of the training on the fly during the training session itself to suit the needs and desires of participants and depending on the situations that arise.

An extreme form of this flexible approach would be to decide only on a title for the training session and have participants decide on the actual content by eliciting questions and points they would like to learn about at the beginning of the training session. I have seen this approach used by Mohamed Essa in one of his training sessions about pranic healing. Only a highly competent and knowledgeable trainer would be able to use such an extremely flexible approach for deciding on the content of a training session. This approach goes hand in hand with open space technology, which is a highly flexible method for running conferences (or unconferences) in which attendees of the conference create the agenda of the conference themselves at the beginning of the conference.


Between those two extremes of preparing for an extensive and detailed lesson plan and going to a training session with only a broad title and eliciting the outline of the session from participants, between those two extremes lies a wide spectrum of methods with varying degrees of flexibility and rigidity.

Hybrid Approach

Usually an experienced and competent trainer would have some outline prepared for the whole training program and for the training session and have content ready for them yet would still have the flexibility of adding, removing, modifying or adapting content of a training session on the fly according to the needs of participants and according to situations that arise. This reminds us of the 3-part training session time management technique.

The Just-in-Time Trainer

A trainer who masters his craft well can jump instantly into a room full of participants and start delivering a successful training session at very short notice even if he had just been asked to do so only a few minutes before the start of the training session. A rigid instructor would never be able to handle such a situation and would ask for several days to prepare first.

A just-in-time trainer is one who is able to navigate easily between the two extremes of detailed preparation and planning for a training session and managing a successful training session with only a title for it in hand.

On which part of this spectrum do you see yourself as a trainer?