8 Tips To Engage And Inspire Baby Boomers In eLearning

8 Tips To Engage And Inspire Baby Boomers In eLearning
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Summary: Baby boomers weren’t raised with computers on their laps and mobile gadgets at their fingertips. As such, teaching these mature learners presents its own set of challenges. Thankfully, there are some tips that can help you create motivational, inspiring, and engaging eLearning experiences for your baby boomer audience.

How To Engage And Inspire Baby Boomers In eLearning: 8 Tips For eLearning Professionals

Baby boomers were born between 1946 and 1964, just after the end of World War II. If millennials are the “tech natives”, then baby boomers might be considered relative newcomers to the ever-changing technology landscape. Some reluctant members of the generation are even here on a “visitors’ pass”, occasionally venturing into new tech territory. Thus, the challenge that many eLearning professionals face is figuring out how to use technology to their advantage while still making them feel right at home in the eLearning environment. Use these 8 tips to strike the perfect balance.

  1. Keep eLearning course navigation simple and intuitive.
    There may be baby boomers in your audience who are already tech-savvy. However, there are most likely going to be those who are at the other end of the spectrum and aren’t too familiar with modern technologies. For this reason, you need to keep your eLearning course navigation as simple and straightforward as possible. It’s all about intuitive user interfaces and easily accessible eLearning content. Make your navigation icons clearly visible and don’t use course maps that are difficult to decipher.
  2. Tap into their personal experience.
    Baby boomers have a wealth of life experience, and you should use this to their advantage when creating your eLearning course. Develop eLearning activities that encourage them to explore a topic or use their prior knowledge. Give them the information they need to know, and then set them loose and let them discover it on their own. This might involve online group discussions, eLearning scenarios, or any other interactive element that involves a hands-on approach.
  3. Cater to a diverse range of learning styles.
    As is the case with all generations, everyone has their own preferred learning style. However, thanks to the fact that technology is being thrown into the eLearning mix, you will also have to research their level of tech-friendliness when developing your eLearning activities and assessments. While one learner might absorb more information when watching an eLearning video or slideshow, another might fare better with text-only modules that involve minimal interactivity and visuals. Get a clear idea of how much tech they require and their comfort level with the various devices and tools.
  4. Allow them to set and track their own goals.
    Give them complete control over when they complete a module, in what order, and encourage them to set goals for themselves aside from the overall goals of the eLearning course. If at all possible, include them in the curriculum development process by soliciting their feedback. Baby boomers like to know that their thoughts and ideas actually matter, and giving them the opportunity to decide what goes into the eLearning course can motivate them significantly.
  5. Include plenty of online group collaboration activities.
    One of the most prevalent traits of the baby boomer generation is that they thrive in team settings. They like to work with others, make decisions as a group, and get involved in the learning community. Develop plenty of online group collaboration activities wherein they can share their personal experiences and insights. Better yet, pair them up with learners from younger generations so that both parties can mutually benefit. The millennials can share their tech expertise, while the baby boomers can offer their life experience.
  6. Center stories and activities on personal growth.
    Baby boomers are known for their “question everything and anything” philosophy. They don’t take anything at face value and feel the need to explore every facet of the situation before they make a decision. They also see every experience as an opportunity to grow as an individual. As such, it’s a good idea to center your eLearning content on relatable stories that evoke emotions, as well as eLearning activities that appeal to their strong work ethic; for instance, problems that take some determination and effort to solve.
  7. Offer individual praise and constructive criticism.
    As a whole, baby boomer learners don’t respond well to criticism. However, they do enjoy praise and recognition for their achievements. For this very reason, it’s important to have a solid feedback system in place when working with a baby boomers audience. Make sure that you immediately correct unfavorable learning or performance behaviors, but do so in a one-on-one manner. Take note of their accomplishments by offering them personalized praise to motivate and inspire them. You may even consider a gamification strategy that centers on rewards or badges, allowing learners to keep track of their achievements and show them off to their peers.
  8. Let them see the big picture beforehand.
    In order for baby boomers to truly be engaged in the online learning process, they have to know why they are participating in the first place. There has to be a purpose behind every eLearning activity and objective, and this purpose must tie into the real world. They need to be aware of what benefits they’ll receive upon completion of the eLearning course, such as what they will be able to do or how it will improve their life. Make certain to include each of the motives for taking the eLearning course in your eLearning course description, and then stress them again during the first online training session or module. Also, offer them a general overview that outlines the entire eLearning course, so that they can quickly see the big picture.

Keep these tips on hand to create learning experiences that cater to the needs of baby boomers. It will also allow you to integrate their traits into your eLearning strategy, so that you are able to motivate and inspire them regardless of their prior tech experience.

Looking for ways to create elements that stimulate the desire and energy in your learners to be continually interested and committed to your eLearning course? Check the article How To Create A Motivational eLearning Experience: 6 Tips For eLearning Professionals to discover 6 key tips to create motivational eLearning courses.