Posted by Etta AuYeung on May 29, 2014 at 1:45pm
Characteristics and Learning Style
Each generation has its own characteristics because people of that generation grew up with backgrounds that shaped their motivations, values, and life goals in one way or another. Millennials, individuals born between the early 1980s and early 2000s, grew up with innovative technologies and video games, which played crucial roles in their learning and studies throughout grades K-12 and college. Technology has molded Millennials to be self-learners – answers are often one click away with a Google search, for example. They are eager to pick up new knowledge on the go, and they seek transparency and real-time feedback.
To capitalize on what we know about Millennials, workforce learning should involve technology because it’s natural for Millennials to expect similar learning methods in their training. Ideally, training should be an inherent part of their workday rather than discrete trainings that remove them from their workplace.
Here are some tips on providing training to the new generation.
Millennials respond well to visual stimuli. Flow charts and infographics are great ways to simplify complex processes and concepts visually. Short, entertaining videos are also a great method to create lessons, but keep them brief and no longer than three minutes. Videos that are anything longer than that tend to lose the audience’s attention. Videos also ensure the transfer of knowledge is consistent every time. Fundamental concepts that do not require frequent updates are best suited to make into videos. If the materials contain written text, consider condensing them into bullet points.
On The Go
Millennials tend to prefer training contents available and accessible 24/7. Many organizations now post training materials on their intranet, which is a great way to share information with staff. Questions & Answers or PowerPoint presentation slides are wonderful information-sharing methods.
Making training courses available online also is becoming more prevalent. Online courses are a popular option because people can log in and access the materials almost whenever and wherever they want. Many of these online training platforms now have features that allow you to track trainees’ progress, create interactive exercises to make training entertaining, and assess knowledge retention with quizzes and exams. Trainees also like to post questions on discussion boards and share information among fellow trainees. To make sure they are on track, set a deadline and let trainees meet it at their own pace.
If training can be made available through mobile apps, consider offering that option as well. As of January 2014, more than 80 percent of Millennials owned a smart phone.
Set Clear Expectations and Connect the Dots
Millennials were taught to set expectations, goals, and benchmarks throughout their student career . It is important for you to clearly define the expectations throughout the training process and avoid miscommunication. Outline their duties on a day-to-day basis and let them know how these daily tasks contribute to the bigger picture and the principal goals. Including many hands-on activities, role-playing, and demonstrations in your training will help put your services in the context of customer interactions and help trainees connect the dots. They also like to know how organizations evaluate their performance, so show them the performance evaluation rating forms and what criteria you use.
Training should be a dynamic activity. Here at CSA, Inc., we advocate “edutainment,” a classroom filled with interactive components and hands-on practices, involving the students to help them retain what they have just learned. If your audience seems disengaged or bored with the conventional classroom training setting, consider updating your curriculum. Varying the training styles occasionally to freshen up an old training module is a great idea, too.
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