8 Tips To Engage And Inspire Millennials In eLearning

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

Millennials are the first generation to truly grow up with technology. According to Neil Howe and William Strauss, authors of "Generations: The History of America's Future, 1584 to 2069", learners who were born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s fall into the millennial generation. They are classified as highly collaborative and ambitious individuals who thrive in online social environments. Millennials also want learning anytime and anywhere, as well as educational experiences that are rewarding and personally fulfilling. So, how do you check all of these boxes and create engaging and inspiring eLearning for your millennial audience?

  1. Tap into the power of social networking.
    Millennials feel right at home on social networking sites. They spend a fair amount of time chatting with friends, communicating with co-workers, and even conducting business via social networking. By incorporating social media into your eLearning strategy, you are not only offering them an invaluable social learning experience, but you are leveraging the power of educational technologies in your eLearning course. Ask them to start a forum that explores the subject matter, or encourage them to research a project using solely social media, such as LinkedIn and Facebook groups.
  2. Always include a learning motive.
    Above all else, the millennial generation needs a reason to learn. They will only become active participants if they have a valid motive and know that it ties into a real world purpose or goal. This primarily comes from the fact that they are pragmatic. These learners want to be able to apply all of the information they have learned and put every skill to use. Theories and ideas are all good and well, but millennials need to be able to see how every piece of information translates to the real world.
  3. Offer them a real challenge.
    The millennial generation isn’t typically interested in mundane experiences, they want an adventurous journey that tests their mettle and teaches them something about themselves or the world, preferably both. This is why it’s essential to offer them a challenge, an obstacle that they must overcome. It can come in form of an interactive branching scenario or a story that evokes emotion and ties into a real world problem. The main goal is to make it compelling and unconventional so that they can put their problem solving skills to work.
  4. Consistent feedback is key.
    While some generations may shy away from feedback, especially when it’s not necessarily favorable, millennials, generally speaking, actually expect it. They are constantly exposed to other people’s thoughts, ideas, and comments thanks to social media sites, and they expect to get the same feedback in their online learning experiences. Give them constructive criticism that can benefit them in the long run, and ask for their feedback in return. This gives you the chance to identify the strengths and shortcomings of your eLearning course, making their input an invaluable tool.
  5. Gamify the eLearning experience.
    Virtually every generation enjoys a good game, but millennials grew up immersed in a gaming culture. Gaming consoles, such as Nintendo, PlayStation, and Xbox were all the rage while millennials were growing up. Offer rewards, badges, or just the opportunity to track their progress in an online game-like environment. They are also particularly fond of leaderboards, primarily due to their friendly competitive streak. Just make sure that their motivation is more intrinsic than extrinsic when you’re designing your eLearning gamification strategy.
  6. Keep eLearning bite-sized.
    Millennials don’t usually have the attention spans or time to sit around and complete an hour long eLearning course. This is why it’s vital to keep your eLearning bite-sized by creating modules that take minutes rather than hours. Shorter lessons also help them to more effectively retain the information, as it prevents cognitive overload and allows them to focus on one topic at a time before moving onto the next online lesson.
  7. Make eLearning fun and flexible.
    Learners from this generation want their learning to be fun, fast, and flexible. They are generally pressed for time, so they want to make the most of the little learning time they have. Include a diverse range of online activities to keep their attention and give them the chance to complete online modules when it’s most convenient for them. Don’t spend too much time on any screen, but still ensure that they have enough time to absorb the information and retain it for future use.
  8. Encourage online group collaboration.
    The millennial generation thrives in social environments. They enjoy interacting with their peers and working together to solve a common problem. This makes them ideal candidates for collaborative eLearning strategies. Ask them to form a group and complete an online assignment using an online project management platform, such as an online presentation or website. This also enables them to benefit from the eLearning experience and skills of their peers, as well as get that all-important feedback we discussed earlier.

Create an eLearning experience that millennials won’t soon forget by using these top tips. Make the most of their “tech native” sensibilities and hold their undivided attention, so that they can achieve their learning goals and reap the real world benefits. Also, bear in mind that millennial learners are from diverse cultural and educational backgrounds. As such, when you’re creating your eLearning course you should target a diverse demographic. Do your research to gauge what is appropriate and what is not, as well as their preferred technology tools and devices.

Want to discover more tips and techniques for engaging adult learners? Check the article Tips To Engage and Inspire Adult Learners to discover 11 tips to overcome the obstacles that are often associated with training adult audiences.

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