In recent years, as technology has become more and more present in our lives both at home and at work, learning programs have expanded beyond the traditional classroom setting. This almost limitless access to learning and training programs led to the proliferation of a multitude of online materials available for anyone looking to acquire new skills and knowledge, specifically working professionals and millennials.
There is a need for corporations to redesign their existing learning and development strategies so they can meaningfully engage their millennial workforce. In 2016, millennials became the largest segment in the workplace and by 2021, 50 percent of the U.S. workforce is expected to be made up of millennials. It is clear that this generation thinks and learns differently than previous generations, making existing learning strategies out of step with the needs of the current workforce.
What Traits of the Millennial Workforce Impact Your Learning Strategy?
Some of the key aspects of understanding the millennial generation workforce are:
- They are “digital natives.”
- They have strong multitasking capabilities.
- They are ambitious.
- They tend to have short attention spans and little time.
- They tend to need a clear and definitive goal and outcome.
- They crave flexibility.
- They understand the value of learning to grow at work.
- They prefer visual aids (rich media).
- They want to learn through real-life scenarios.
What Learning Strategies Would Engage Your Millennial Workforce?
Through an in-depth look at the traits of millennials in the workforce, as well as their preferred style of learning, there are six tips to help engage and inspire millennials in eLearning. They are highly collaborative and ambitious people who thrive in online social environments. They want to be able to access their learning anytime and anywhere, as well as have educational experiences that are rewarding and personally fulfilling. So, how do you check all of these boxes and create engaging and inspiring eLearning for your millennial audience?
1. Utilize the power in social networking.
Millennials have grown up with technology. They are the generation who are in constant communication with friends, co-workers, families, and even business contacts. By incorporating social media into your eLearning strategy, you are not only harnessing the power of educational technologies in your eLearning course, but also allowing millennials to relate to the content you are teaching. Ask them to start a forum that explores the subject matter, or encourage them to research a project only using social media, such as LinkedIn and Facebook groups.
2. Give them a reason to learn.
Millennials are driven to make an impact. They need a reason to learn. By explicitly giving them a motive to be an active participant and tying learning to a real-world purpose or goal, millennials will buy into the eLearning. They want to see how everything they are learning translates directly to the real world.
3. Make eLearning interactive.
While any generation loves a good game, millennials grew up immersed in gaming culture. Gamification takes an ordinary task and makes it a game. By offering rewards, badges, or the opportunity to track their progress in an online game-like fashion, the eLearning will appeal to their friendly competitive nature.
4. Chunk information.
Millennials typically do not have the attention spans or time to sit and complete hours-long eLearning courses. It is vital to create modules and content that can take minutes, rather than hours. Shorter lessons allow for more effective retention of information and for focus on one topic at time, rather than face cognitive overload.
5. Create problems for them to solve.
Millennials want to go on an adventure. They want to test their knowledge and learn about themselves or the real world through a problem. An obstacle for them to overcome is essential. It can come in a variety of forms, whether it is an interactive branch scenario or a story that evokes emotions and ties into a real-world problem. The main goal is to make it compelling and unconventional so that they can put their problem-solving skills to work.
6. Create fun, flexible, and collaborative eLearning.
Millennial learners are generally pressed for time, yet want to interact with their peers as often as they can. Include a diverse range of online activities to keep their attention and allow them to complete online modules when it is most convenient for them. Incorporating collaborative eLearning strategies enables them to benefit from the eLearning experience and skills of their peers, as well as to engage their attention.
Creating an eLearning experience that incorporates these six tips ensures that the millennial workforce gets the greatest benefit from their training and development. Make the most of their “digital native” skills and hold their attention so that they achieve all learning goals and reap the real-world benefits. Millennial learners have diverse cultural and educational backgrounds, so bear in mind that your eLearning course should target a diverse demographic.