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6 Ways to Powerfully Engage and Educate Millenials with Corporate Training

26 January 2016

7 Min Read


Today, there are more millennials entering the workforce than any other age group. And most companies are looking for insight on how to better attract them, engage with them, and educate them on the job.

The millennial generation is different from previous generations in several ways — most notably, they are the first generation born into the Internet age. As a result, they know their way around electronic gadgets, like smartphones, tablets, and computers better than the rest of us.

Owing to their online prowess, they are already online learners. As a result, elearning is an ideal training delivery environment for them in the workplace.

While they are more technically astute than any other generation, millennials are also among the most distracted. As a result, corporate training departments need to employee techniques that will grab their attention, boost their motivation, and inspire them to be engaged learners.

Who Are Millenials? — Some Stats

The millennial generation was born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s, according to Neil Howe and William Strauss, authors of Generations: The History of America’s Future, 1584 to 2069. Today, at 81 million, they comprise 25 percent of the U.S. population.

Millennials have grown up in a society that is very different than any group before them. They have different characteristics than any generation before them. For example, they are the most scheduled generation ever, are true multi-taskers, expect to have six to eight careers in their lifetime, and are attracted to diverse environments.

Here are a few more general insights about the millennial generation:

  • They are 2.5 times more likely to be early adopters of new technology than previous generations
  • They have the most educated mothers of any generation before them
  • They don’t believe in being shackled to tradition
  • They are interested in designing their lives, not pursuing work-life balance
  • They believe in learning something of substance, not just receiving diplomas
  • They believe in learning from others’ experience

As they grew up, millennials impacted the educational world in a big way, from K-12 thru college. Schools had to change the way they do business to better serve them. And now millennials are impacting the workplace. As a result, companies are changing the way they hire, support, and train this generation.

6 Insights to Make eLearning Work for Millennials

Millennials are a particular breed of learner — and to optimize training them requires some specific learning components — including these six insights.

  1. Give Them Consistent Feedback

Thanks to social media, millennials are constantly exposed to other people’s thoughts, ideas, and comments. As a result, they expect feedback — including in the workplace. If you add a feedback component to their online learning program, they’ll respond well. Feedback could include constructive criticism about both their weaknesses and their strengths.

  1. Give Them a Game

Gamification is a powerful component that companies are adding to their online training programs — and millennials respond to these learning tools better than anyone. To gamify your online training, add components like rewards, badges, and leaderboards. Gamification also adds a component of fun. Diversifying the learning experience with game elements keeps them engaged and motivated.

  1. Give Them Bite-Sized Lessons

Thanks to computers, millennials don’t usually have long attention spans. As a result, to sit around in long training sessions can be counterproductive. This problem is easily solved by creating shorter learning modules, even if you create more of them. Think minutes versus hours. Shorter lessons also help millennials retain information better, because it prevents cognitive overload. Short lessons allow them to focus on one topic at a time and move more quickly from lesson to lesson. As a result, they walk away from their training knowing more and ready to take action on the job.

  1. Give Them a Reason to Learn

Millennials learn better when they are given a reason to learn. If they have a valid motive and know that it ties into a real-world purpose or goal, they will become more willing learners. This primarily comes from the fact that they are pragmatic — they want to apply all of the information they have learned and put every skill to use. While theories and ideas have their place, to be truly inspired millennials need to see how every piece of information translates into practical experience.

  1. Give Them Real Challenges

Millenials seek out adventure. They want to solve problems. They want to be challenged. They don’t respond well to mundane experiences. As a result, if you offer them real-world challenges during on-the-job training, such as obstacles they must overcome, they’ll engage more powerfully with your eLearning lessons.

  1. Give Them Group Collaboration

Millennials are classified as highly collaborative and ambitious individuals who thrive in online social environments. As a result, they perform well in social environments — including interacting with their peers and working together to solve a common problem. This makes sense since a large part of their lives are spent online — chatting with friends, communicating with co-workers, and even conducting business via social networking. This makes them ideal candidates for collaborative eLearning strategies such as discussion boards. So freely leverage the power of social training technologies in your eLearning course.

The vast majority of today’s workplaces will be impacted by the influx of millennials. Taking steps now to adapt to this large workforce demographic will help your company better achieve its goals. After all, making your eLearning programs better designed to match their skill set and attitudes will help your company achieve better results and gain bigger rewards.

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