INSIGHTS

Instructional Design
Jim Breen
By Jim Breen | Aug 2016

5 Ways To Effectively Engage Millennials In eLearning

ENGAGE-MILLENNIALS-IN-eLearning

In this article, PulseLearning explores how to effectively engage Millennials in eLearning, as Millennials are rising up as the workforce majority.

How To Effectively Engage Millennials in eLearning

In 2015, “Millennials“, or those born roughly between 1980 and 2000, became the largest workforce cohort in the Unite States, surpassing the “Baby-boomers” and Generation X, their direct senior predecessors.1 What makes Millennials unique is that this is the first generation to grow up with computing technology and the internet. This means these individuals expect innovative work conditions and assume they will use a vast range of technology at work. Here PulseLearning list 5 ways to effectively engage Millennials in eLearning.

  1. Provide training and development opportunities.
    Although Millennials are often painted as narcissistic, distracted individuals more interested in self-gratification than education, this is far from the truth. In a recent study, Millennials were asked which three benefits they would value most from their employer. Cash bonuses came in at third place, flexible working options second, and interestingly, it was training and development that took the top spot.2So the first step is easy. To engage Millennials in eLearning and provide them with job satisfaction, you need to offer access to effective, relatable training, development resources, and opportunities.
  2. Make training meaningful.
    A study showed that managers think Millennials value money the most; however, “meaningful work” was ranked by Millennials as the most important factor indicating career success.3 Millennials need to feel a sense of purpose in their work and that they are making a difference, they are hungry for knowledge and information and are ready and willing to apply it. For these reasons, training needs to be relevant and meaningful. In eLearning, immersive, interactive scenarios are a great way to engage while providing sound information. Effective scenarios place learners into a situation and allow them to problem-solve the best solution. Because Millennials also grew up with YouTube and find video highly engaging, consider using videos throughout online training with real employee stories to establish emotional connection. A video asset alone could become a learning module.
  3. Provide mLearning solutions.
    Research indicates that Millennials expect flexible working arrangements and believe they will be “working mainly flexible hours” in the future.4 For this reason and considering that Millennials are used to accessing information in-the-moment through mobile devices, successful learning solutions must incorporate mLearning delivery and be available on smartphones and tablets. An mLearning approach is more than simply making eLearning available on mobile devices; it requires an integrated design methodology that engineers the learning experience into concise “micro-learning” moments that are easily digestible in short windows of time. Millennials are known to have a shorter attention span so a micro-learning delivery ensures key learning messages are retained.
  4. Appeal to generational values.
    In all honesty, it’s true that Millennials are narcissistic, a whopping 60% more than the previous generation!5 However, it gets better; Millennials are open to change and are creative and adaptable, all great workplace qualities. In order to engage Millennials in eLearning, training should respond to these preferences and be an engaging experience that uses a variety of media and interaction opportunities. It’s no secret that most Millennials love social media because most share, like, and tweet on a daily basis. Effective eLearning programs should include social media discussion groups and forums. Presenting the “what’s in it for me?” (WIIFM) up front in module introductions can help satisfy the millennial narcissism!
  5. Consider the smartphone as the key mobile device.
    True (but also slightly disturbing), 87% of Millennials surveyed said their smartphone never leaves their side and is the first thing they reach for on waking.6Statistics like these show that it’s not enough to design just for desktop and tablet, it’s the mobile phone that will be the key device moving into the next generation. Designing training for smartphone format requires skill to effectively use screen real estate and highlight key information. Apps and gamification can be great inclusions in an eLearning strategy fit for Millennials.

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