Millennials are the largest generation since the baby boomers. In fact, they’ll make up 36% of the workforce by 2014.
As learning professionals, we know we have to keep up with our audiences or be left behind. We also hear that millennials bring an interactive learning style, fluency with new technology, and a sharing culture. And so we all look for the next big thing to help us reach them. But maybe too many of us are trying to figure out how to talk to them. Maybe instead, we first need to figure out how to listen and learn from them.
At Allen, we’ve used our ANSWER analysis framework, lessons learned from dozens of award-winning projects at the highest-profile companies, and years of performance-based research to better understand what millennials add to the training equation. Yes, change can be disruptive; but with the right approach we can learn from millennials and create better training for all generations.
Success starts not with viewing new technology in itself as the solution to winning over millennials, but rather as a tool for creating layered approaches and improved engagement. In other words, with millennials, you can’t simply rehash old content in a new format and expect improved results. (This incorrect approach leads to suggestions like, “Let’s make that old compliance course work on smart phones!” or “Let’s add a game to the end of that boring curriculum to fix it!”)
In our projects, we’ve found that millennials naturally steer us to the best ways to use video-based learning, gamification, and mobile support. Even better, these tools can be just as effective with learners of other generations, if you approach them smartly.
Motivating, engaging, and inspiring learners to achieve real results within an organization has always been training professionals’ goal, but millennials present new challenges. Learning from Millennial training preferences will help you correctly apply new technology and create powerful training that leads to real workplace change. It’s a “keep up or be left behind” proposition, and we want to help.