Younger people often throw around the word “backwards” to describe the older generation and their aversion to adopt new technology. This divide becomes more glaring when it comes to the use of smartphones and other mobile devices. As companies anticipate an influx of Millennials to swell their ranks by the end of the decade, they must customize their training so it not only appeals to a younger, technologically savvy audience, but this training must be responsive to the needs of their older employees as well.
One strategy to incorporate span the generation divide involves the use of mobile learning to supplement existing training courses through just-in-time training or performance support—shorter modules related to specific problems that an employee can access on the job. This kind of training suits the YouTubing Millennials and accommodates older generations who prefer to apply their knowledge at work rather than sitting around in a classroom all day.
Mobile learning need not be a sea change that leaves older generations to sink or swim. The workplace can introduce mobile learning gradually, accommodating Millennials while also allowing their older colleagues time to get used to the adjustment.
Another defining characteristic of mobile learning is its brevity, with training courses often broken into micro modules that are only a few minutes. These bite-sized chunks appeal to learners regardless of age and lead to higher retention and better completion. No adult wants to sit through hours of training when then they have been working in a career for decades, and Millennials are accustomed to finding quick, relevant answers having been raised in the era of Google.
By delivering shorter lessons, mobile learning allows learners to gain the specific skills they need in the moment while giving them the opportunity to apply those skills in context.
Regardless of one’s generation, adults are busy. With today’s communication technology, training can no longer be confined within the classroom or even within the walls of a company, but it must reach learners constantly on the move. Mobile learning allows learners to complete their training wherever they may be, anytime of the day, and on any mobile device such as a smartphone, laptop, or tablet.
This flexibility appeals to older adults who are busy with families and other responsibilities since it allows them to learn whenever is most convenient for them, and it also acknowledges the |Millennial audience who is accustomed to being connected through one device or another at all times.
Given the flexibility of today’s learning solutions, mobile learning isn’t just for Millennials. In fact, this style of learning can be effective for anyone that prefers to apply their knowledge in context, retain information given in smaller chunks, and have the flexibility to learn wherever they are and however they choose. When mobile learning is paired with sound instructional design principles such as these, an old dog can indeed learn new tricks.