7 Tips To Appeal To Digital Natives
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How To Appeal To Digital Natives

The term "digital native" was coined by Mark Prensky back in 2001, a speaker, consultant, and writer. Prensky stated that these young learners are raised in a digital society, which means that they don't have to deal with technology learning curves. These individuals already know their way around a smartphone and tablet, and informal learning comes naturally to them. In fact, a world without mobile devices seems virtually unfathomable. However, new tech tools and gadgets bring new rules of online learner engagement.

1. Always Tie Your Online Training To A Purpose

Digital natives are purpose-driven. They need a reason for every online training activity, or else they won't actively engage with the subject matter. In short, they must know why they are doing something, how it can benefit them in the real world, and how they can use it outside the online training environment. It's all about context. Thus, you have to tie your online training to a purpose and stress the real-world applications before, during, and after the online training experience. Highlight all of the skills and information they will gain by completing an interactive online scenario. Make them aware of how the serious game will improve their workplace productivity. Be clear about the why and how of your online training program.

2. Clarify The Online Communication Guidelines

Some digital natives have a 24/7 outlook when it comes to online communication. Technology knows no bounds, which means that they might expect a prompt response from their online instructors or peers at all hours. This is why it's important to clarify your online communication guidelines in advance, such as the preferred contact methods, how long it typically takes to respond to messages, and who is responsible for handling their inquiries. For example, they can rest assured that they'll be able to get the email support they need between 10am and 2pm, because that's what you outlined in your online communication guidelines.

3. Integrate Social Media As Much As Possible

Digital natives spend a significant amount of time on social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. They have already perfected their profiles, and "followed" people and organizations that matter to them. In addition, they are completely comfortable posting replies and leaving comments. In other words, they feel right at home on social networks. So, it's only natural that social media should play an important role in their online training. Create social networking online groups where digital natives can interact and share ideas. Develop a page for your online training course and post links to articles, online training videos, and other valuable online training resources.

4. Use Online Training Apps

There is an app for virtually everything these days. Why not take full advantage of modern technology by integrating training apps into your online training program? A variety of apps are free or low-cost, which makes it easy to fit them into your corporate eLearning budget. They also allow digital natives to build their skills, access online training materials, and get a good dose of informal learning on the go. Digital natives can even use their mobile devices in the workplace to receive "moment of need" online training support.

5. Discover Their Tech Tools Of Choice

Every digital native has their tech tools of choice. They may use a number of different devices and gadgets on a regular basis, but there are always a select few that they prefer. Conduct in-depth audience research to identify which devices and platforms they use so that you can choose the eLearning authoring tool, Learning Management System, and online training materials that are a perfect fit. For example, using a Flash-based eLearning authoring tool may be fine for laptop or PC users, but it will exclude corporate learners who access the online training course via their smartphones. Ideally, you should opt for a responsive design eLearning authoring tool that adjusts the page layout depending on the device or browser. This way your corporate learners can use their tablets, iPhones, and laptops to get the online training they need anytime, anywhere. Before deciding on an eLearning authoring tool, take advantage of the free trial period to make sure it meets all your online training requirements.

6. Make It Interactive

Interactive, immersive, and tactile online training activities are the ideal approach for digital natives. They need to be able to form a deep connection with the online training content in order to receive the real-world benefits. Branching scenarios, serious games, online training simulations, drag-and-drop activities, interactive videos and live online training events are all great ways to boost learner engagement. Make full use of smartphones and tablets by including tactile online training content, such as online training simulations that require swiping or tapping interactions on the screen. The trick is to remove all of the distractions that may stand in the way of immersion.

7. Give Them Control Over The Online Training Experience

One of the most common traits of digital natives is that they like to pursue their own path. They must set goals and learning objectives that meet their specific needs. At the beginning of the online training program ask your corporate learners to create a personalized online training plan based on their preferences, goals, and performance gaps. Invite them to take a self-assessment to identify strengths and areas of improvement. Include an eLearning course map that features all of the online training activities and then let them choose what they complete and when.

Digital natives seem to behave in a different way, which puts a whole new spin on the future of eLearning course design. We must be ready and willing to offer them tech-forward online training that meets their needs and considers their new cognitive behaviors. Use these 7 tips to step inside the shoes of a digital native and create online training content that capitalizes on modern-day technology.

Adobe Captivate Prime LMS helps you deliver stimulating learner experiences for digital natives. Go live instantly with the Fluidic Player that plays virtually any eLearning content seamlessly regardless of what format it may be; PPTX, video, PDF, and DOCX files, or AICC, xAPI, SCORM packages. Improve retention by allowing learners to make revision notes in the Fluidic Player for future referencing. Enable learners to consume content in online or offline mode, on any device, and track their progress using a personalized dashboard. Apply your enterprise brand colors to key interface elements or choose from attractive themes to change the look and feel of your UI.

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