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Designing eLearning For Millennials: 5 Elements Of The Utmost Importance

Does the nebulous, oft-used term “Millennial” get you thinking about its relevance? Well, fret no more! According to Pew Research, “Anyone born between 1981 and 1996 (ages 23 to 38 in 2019) is considered a Millennial”[1]. Born into the digital era, they are bound to feel at home with digital learning courses. In turn, this poses a challenge for eLearning courseware design, since the Millennials won’t settle for anything less than engaging, interactive, immersive eLearning content.

Moreover, considering that Millennials will constitute a majority of our workforce soon, it is imperative that our eLearning courses resonate with how they would like to learn now. While conventional eLearning courses continue to suit the older generation of learners (Baby Boomers and Generation X), they fail to appeal to the Millennials.

1. Set Learning Free With Device-Agnostic eLearning

First and foremost, Millennials tend to resist online training that restricts them to a computer screen. With the proliferation of technology, mobile devices (especially smartphones) have become ubiquitous and changed the way individuals interact with the world around them. Millennials want to have the freedom of moving freely from one device to another to get things done. Hence leaving out these additional touch points such as tablets or smartphones for learning dissemination does not make business sense, if not anything else.

How can you deliver mobile learning?

  • Set learning free by making your learners able to take their online training wherever they go and access it anytime.
  • Modern-day rapid eLearning authoring tools such as Articulate Rise, Lectora Inspire, Adobe Captivate, etc., allow the development of a single course that can be accessed on all devices and browsers.

So, all set to go mobile?

2. Use Microlearning As The New Norm

According to Pew Research Centre [2], hyper-connectivity has led to quick-acting and multitasking in the Millennials. Hence, they lack patience and look for quick choices. How do you adapt to these changes in online learning? While opting for online training, ensure learning resources are bite-sized so that they are easy to digest.

In a world of 280 characters (Twitter) and graphical posts (Instagram), going micro is one of the most effective ways to immerse millennial learners in the training content. The most common format of microlearning that Millennials have grown up with is unarguably the ‘video’.

  • You can develop short videos for explaining processes, demonstrating products, procedures, and much more.
  • You can allow learners to vote, tag, and comment to make these microlearning videos conversation-enablers – much like the trend in social media.
  • Coming to the business perspective, microlearning assets used in eLearning such as infographics, videos, podcasts, quick questionnaires, etc., are much easier to develop, update, manage, and disseminate.
  • You can effortlessly disseminate microlearning assets using the intranet, LMS, emails, and even smartphones.

3. Leverage The Power Of Shared Learning

Social learning has been the primary way humans gain knowledge from one another and seek opportunities to pass it on, and the Millennials are highly social. In the online training framework, social learning is leveraged using various collaborative methods (such as discussion forums, chat boards, videos, blogs) and social media. Hence, incorporating social and collaborative learning in online training leads to enhanced engagement, while offering scope for professional growth.

Social and collaborative learning enables learners to work in groups, who may be geographically dispersed but connected via the Internet. Also, it helps in building an active learning community and fostering a productive learning culture in your organization. It makes the Millennials responsible for knowledge sharing, motivating and enhancing their willingness to learn further.  Some of the benefits of learning socially include:

  • Active learning and sharing of knowledge
  • Breakdown of knowledge blocks
  • Meaningful takeaways at different points
  • Enhanced behavioral competencies such as cooperation, problem-solving, teamwork

4. Give Control With Personalized eLearning Experiences

Have you noticed the “recommendations for you” tab popping up every now and then while scrolling through an online shopping site? Well, those are shown after a website studies your browser history. This leads to creating a personalized feeling for the user, especially Millennials who resist information overload and look for just-the-right information personalized for them.

Hence, while designing eLearning courses, it is important to make the learner feel as if they are in control of their learning. This can be in the form of non-linear content, giving them the option of skipping certain content, downloading additional information, and more.

Additionally, personalization can be in the form of:

  • The option of choosing own learning path
  • Using avatars
  • Branching Scenarios
  • Choosing courses based on skill gaps identified

Moreover, personalizing the eLearning experience definitely works in favor of making your learners feel more connected to the course.

5. Engage With Gamification

Seldom, you would hear a Millennial saying they loathe playing games. In an era where games such as Pokémon Go and PUBG are the unanimous favorites, leveraging gamification in eLearning is another way to ensure your training is millennial-worthy!

  • When game-like elements are incorporated with relevant challenges and scenarios your learners typically face in real-life, it serves as an effective way to foster better performance.
  • Rewards, badges, and incentives help in building motivation, excitement, and a healthy competitive spirit that Millennials seek.
  • To make learning more exciting, you can add leaderboards and encourage learners to seek the top spot. Gamification helps in emulating an immersive and engaging learning environment, much like an actual game.
  • Even better if your gamified modules can be micro-nuggets that deal with one specific learning objective at a time, especially for the Millennials who prefer quick and easy learning. Having short game-based nuggets increases the scope of retention and applicability.

The primary reason why you should consider making eLearning appealing for Millennials is that they are going to be the future of your organization. Since Baby Boomers will retire soon and the Generations X, Y, Z will be onboard, don’t you want them prepared for the challenges in the workplace ahead?

References:

[1] Defining generations: Where Millennials end and Generation Z begins

[2] Millennials will benefit and suffer due to their hyperconnected lives

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