The Millennial Generation is often seen as the “leaders of tomorrow,” with current leaders still viewing millennials as the young teenagers they were not long ago. However, the youngest millennials are 18 right now and the oldest are 36. The truth is, the majority of this generation has already entered the workforce. By the year 2020, millennials will make up 50% of the U.S. workforce.
That number will grow to 75% by the year 2025. Additionally, millennials wield about $1.3 trillion in buying power annually. Millennials are quickly becoming the largest working generation, so organisations need to shift their views and realise millennials are actually the leaders of today. For this reason, they are one of the most important audiences to focus on if you want your Lean training content to be relevant and digestible for modern learners.
Before we get into the training specifics, let’s define exactly what makes millennial learners different from their predecessors. While it’s important not to put all young people into one box, there are marked differences between how millennials as a whole approach learning versus how past generations did. Their worldview is completely different than that of their parents and grandparents, and understanding the environmental and cultural forces that shape their perspectives will help keep your training relevant. Most of those environmental and cultural forces can boil down to these 3 factors: • Internet • Smartphones • Social Media Read on to learn about how these elements should influence your training strategy to engage a millennial audience.
Online Training for Millennials
Millennials are the first generation of digital natives. They grew up in the age of the internet, where answers to any question are available in a matter of seconds. A quick Google search will take you to the exact information you need – rarely will you even have to click to the second page of search results. For millennials, this instant access to information and knowledge is all they’ve known. Your training content should reflect this. Learners should be able to keyword search your courses and lessons for the exact information they need in that moment. Specific content should be easy to find and simple to navigate. It’s a good idea to set up a learning library for this audience so they are free to navigate the information as needed.
Millennials are used to searching the internet and finding information at their own pace. Imagine searching Google for a tutorial about how to assemble an IKEA dresser, and a message pops up saying “Before you learn how to assemble a dresser, let’s start small and complete the training on how to assemble a nightstand first.” It would be frustrating, wouldn’t it? That first lesson isn’t even applicable to your situation! Online training can sometimes feel like that. Some training content is set up in a progression – where a learner has to complete or pass one level in order to access the next. While that tactic may work for some, it may actually serve a millennial learner better to have information open and free to navigate as needed. That way they don’t get frustrated having to work through lessons they don’t feel are necessary to solve their specific problem – an issue that could easily prompt them to leave the training altogether.
Mobile and Flexible E-Learning
Over 85% of millennials own a smartphone. The abundance of smart technology in this age group has created a base expectation of mobility and flexibility in eLearning content and should be a consideration for a companies Online Lean Training strategy.
The language-learning app Duolingo is an example of this. Duolingo’s users can access their learning content easily from a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. The app/website functions well across all of those mediums, and saves a learner’s progress in the cloud so they don’t lose their momentum when changing delivery platforms. Your customer Lean training should mimic that kind of mobility.
It’s easy to spot an outdated training course as soon as someone tries to pull it up on a smartphone. If the images and graphics don’t scale well to a different sized screen, or the text is too small and pages take too long to load, the odds of learners completing the training shrink quite a bit. With educational apps like Duolingo at their fingertips, millennials are used to learning on-the-go. Ensuring that your training site is mobile-friendly, easy to use across platforms, and cloud-based to keep track of progress will keep millennial learners engaged and more likely to complete courses. 3.
Social Media A study done by the New Jersey Institute of Technology found that millennials are very efficiency-oriented. This makes sense, since they’ve been using social media since they were young teenagers. Millennials are used to having constant and frequent feedback in a matter of seconds. They post a photo or status update on their profile, and almost instantly they’re getting “likes,” comments, and affirmations from their friends and family. Receiving this feedback on social media lets them know that people care about and appreciate their work. Similar to social media, eLearning content for a millennial audience should have frequent feedback.
If a millennial learner asks a question or requires clarification, they anticipate immediate answers. Millennials like to know they’re on the right track, and dislike feeling as though the content they’re engaging with isn’t applicable to them. Setting clear expectations of learning outcomes, highlighting why the training will benefit them, and allowing them to easily track their progress will make them more likely to stick with the training. Additionally, setting up a feature like a chatroom makes collaboration and quick answers an easier feat to achieve.
Effective Training Design
We hope this has given you some insight into why it’s important to design effective Lean training experiences for the growing millennial workforce. No matter how much we study the cultural and environmental forces that can define a certain group of people, the truth is, not everybody can be boxed into just one category. The past few decades of rapid advancements in technology have impacted more than just millennial s, and the best practices can be applied to a much wider audience. We are all living in an evolving technological landscape. Acclino has kept that in mind when designing it’s innovative Lean training programmes for modern learners. To find out more, get in touch with us here