3 Learning Strategies To Engage Millennials – We Aren’t That Different

3 Learning Strategies To Engage Millennials – We Aren’t That Different
Summary: As a millennial, I feel like we already have a bad reputation before even entering the workforce. People think that we’re lazy, have no attention span, spend all day on social media and that we don’t respect the workplace. Now I can’t speak for my whole generation but I know from my experiences with my peers that we’re multi-taskers, self-learners, resourceful, very comfortable with technology and we’re just as dedicated to adding value to the workplace as any generation before us.

Learning Strategies To Engage Millennials

In the corporate world, people are buzzing about millennials; they want to know how to capture our attention and engage us with training. It’s exciting to see how training is evolving to incorporate learning strategies that millennials prefer to use like mobile, gaming, and video.

  1. Mobile Learning
    Millennials have grown up with mobile technology. A study done by Pew Research Center said that 65% of American adults age 18-29 own a smart phone but it drops to 59% for adults ages 30-49 and 32% for adults ages 50-64. Millennials have also learned to be resourceful. We’re comfortable finding answers rather than waiting around for someone to tell us. We’re quick to plug our questions into search engines or message a friend to lend us expertise. Having job related information such as product details, definition, procedures etc. can be useful on a mobile device if they’re easy to search and reference. We definitely don’t want to go through a full 30 minute training course on our smartphones (that’s what desktop computers are for) but we would like to quickly look up our questions. Another smart way to use mobile devices to engage millennials is to create an app with an action planning wizard, checklist or accountability tool. Millennials like setting goals, accomplishing checklists and planning. We’ve been taught from a young age to create long term and short term goals and build steps into the plans. I know that I’d be excited to check off activities on a mobile device that would keep me on track in my training and let me visualize the progress that I’ve made. It’s also a great way for managers to track employee training. Make mobile training short, concise and easy to use; not long, boring and hard to read.
  2. Gamification
    Everyone loves to play a good game, however, millennials have a perspective that we should mix work and play. Why shouldn’t the job be fun and creative and why shouldn’t we be proud of achieving badges? This is where the corporate world can use millennial habits to their advantage. We’re mission driven; we learn by seeing, by doing, and storytelling is a great way to keep us engaged. These are things that games all do. Great games introduce a story and allow the players to learn rules, meet goals and respond to challenges along the way, much like in the workplace. Gamification in training is also a way to provide on-the-spot feedback in the form of game scores. It motivates millennials to immediately correct their actions and aim for a higher score which they can then share with their peers. Games are just naturally built to engage and motivate the players (or learners). One thing that is very important for millennials when it comes to training games is that we want to genuinely learn something from the game that we can apply. We don’t want to feel patronized.Games are a great way to tap into mission driven values, make them meaningful for millennials.
  3. Video Based Training
    If you ask millennials videos are the new text. Websites that are rich with video content keep millennial attention much better than a text heavy website. Blogs have turned into vlogs and YouTube is growing rapidly. According to the Pew Research Center 92% of online adults ages 18-29 reported watching videos on a video-sharing site compared to 80% for ages 30-49 and 54% for ages 50-64.  An important factor in video production for millennials is to keep it short. The average YouTube video length is about 4 minutes. Millennials prefer short media to quickly spark interest, keep their attention, and get to the point. We’re more likely to retain information if it’s cut into short segments that we can summarize in a sentence. We can still learn from long videos but we aren’t quite as likely to remember everything the narrator said.We are comfortable with video; make it exciting and concise to help us retain the info.

It is exciting to see how training is changing to incorporate new technologies and learning techniques. Mobile learning, gamification and video based learning are methods that millennials are comfortable with but they can benefit all generations. If you are creating training for millennials remember that we are not as different as we are made out to be, just like other generations we are dedicated to adding value in our workplace, we just may take a different route to get there.

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