Why Training Millennials is Difficult and How to Crack it

0 Comments. Employee Training
Training millennials

If you do the math, you’ll see that by the year 2025, millennials would make up to 50% of the global working population. An interesting fact about this workforce is that they could have an attention span of merely 8 seconds.

Try putting two and two together. It’s a matter of grave repercussions. Especially when it comes to training and getting these millennials fit for work.

Due to a myriad of distractions around(social media addiction being the topmost), it’s extremely difficult for millennials to grasp and retain information delivered in lengthy and continuous formats.

training millennials
Source: Business Insider

But there are also positive sides to it. Dwindling attention span maybe a deterrent in training millennials but, their eagerness to try out new technologies is a trait that can be leveraged to design the perfect training program for them.

A report by PwC titled ‘Millennials at work, reshaping the workplace’, reveals that “one of the defining characteristics of the millennial generation is their affinity with the digital world. They have grown up with broadband, smartphones, laptops and social media being the norm and therefore expect instant access to information.”

So, ultimately to get the expected return on your millennial training investment, you’ll have to remold your training methods. And it should be in sync with the needs of a generation that grew up with technology.

To speed up your consumption of information, we have listed down the ways in which you can use technology and plan out the best training program for millennials. As an add on, we have also collected the examples of companies who have already started using these methods and have been decently successful so far.

How to Leverage Technology While Training Millennials

Even before training millennials could become a matter of concern, technology had the solutions ready. Few of those solutions are:

Performance Support Tools

No matter how fancy this term may sound, unconsciously, you have already used one or the other performance support tools.

Any learning modality, that provides concise knowledge right at the moment of need is a performance support tool. Say, for example, the dictionary in your phone can be called a performance support tool. It’s perpetually available and requires no prior training for usage. Whenever you are stuck with a difficult word while reading and choose to use the dictionary, it provides to-the-point answers.

Why this works?

A performance support tool( PST) is based on the concept of learning-by-doing. It makes sense to train millennials using this approach because they are open to experimentation, and love to learn by using the product hands-on.

How to use it?

When videos and static help documents are used for training millennials, the user first understands how to perform a task and then performs it. But with a performance support tool like Whatfix, both the processes of learning and implementation can be carried out simultaneously. Whatfix lets you create small interactive tutorials for all the tasks your employees would be carrying out on the software in use. The tutorial will be in the form of an interactive walkthrough that guides the user and prompts him/her to take an action.

Whatfix can easily be integrated into the software on which you need to carry out user onboarding or training. Or, if you are using an LMS, Whatfix being SCORM and DITA compliant, can also be integrated with it. The gif below shows how an interactive walkthrough looks like on the ServiceNow platform.

training millennials

 Microlearning

Microlearning can be simply understood as providing E-Learning in small doses, as tiny chunks of training material. These training materials could anything that can be comprehended in a short time, for example, infographics, flip-books, interactive videos and PDFs, whiteboard animations, etc. This is in contrast with the content heavy training courses, which get monotonous with time.  Even the aforementioned performance support systems can be used for executing microlearning.

Why this works?

Microlearning is learner-centric and is designed as a just-in-time learning piece. It is usually in rich media formats and is compatible with multiple devices (including desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones). Microlearning works for millennials because it takes only a tiny bit of the learner’s time and helps them apply the lesson in real time before they have a chance to forget it.

training millennials

 Source: E-learning infographics

How to use it?

21Mill brands itself as an expert for millennial based learning. It is built for the millennials in your organization and comes pre-loaded with 21-training topics such as Understanding Generations, Putting Down The Device and Integrating Social Media At Work. 21mill can also be customized to fit the exact training needs of your organization.

 Collaborative Learning

In a traditional e-learning setting, employees learn the training content in a secluded, self-paced environment. But, using collaborative learning, they get to interact with their fellow learners and share learning experiences. This encourages active learning where each learner has an opportunity to take an active part in learning activities.

Why this works?

Talking specifically in terms of training millennials, a research done by PwC on millennials says that, millennials are innately collaborative and accustomed to learning in teams and by doing. Since in collaborative learning, learners share a platform, they can complement each other’s shortcomings. In case an employee finds it difficult to understand a concept, he can get his partner’s help instead of directly approaching his instructor. This can alleviate the pain of learning a grueling topic alone.

training millennials

         Source: Egyptronix

How to use it?

For example, Dare2share is BT, the British Telecommunication firm’s social collaboration platform. It allows employees to pass on knowledge and insights to their colleagues through short (5- 10-minutes) audio and video podcasts, RSS feeds, and discussion threads, etc. BT employees can view content on Dare2share and rate each learning module according to its relevance and quality. If they want to learn more about the topic covered by a module, they can connect with the person who posted it and ask for more information.

Gamification Technologies

Video games have always been designed to entice players with a reward. Similarly, when gamification technology is used at the workplace for training employees, it provides them with incentives to complete the mentioned tasks on time. With the application of game elements like scoring points, competing with a fellow player, etc., employees are made to solve non-game business problems quickly and effectively.

Why this works?

The employee training ecosystem has adopted the age old saying “If you can’t beat them, join them.” Training & development teams have realized that by adopting game elements into the design of their millennial training programs, they are offering employees a much more engaging learning experience.

training millennials

     Source: Bunchball Nitro

How to use it?

You can deploy Nitro to amplify enterprise apps, websites, and social networks. By applying game mechanics strategically within existing systems, the Nitro gamification platform motivates customers, employees, and partners to engage in high-value activities. You can assign challenges based on group, role, geography, past behavior and also gain insight into what motivates your audience with robust analytics and expert reports.

Summing it up…

Training millennials is a challenge for sure, and for that you will need to keep an eye and an ear open always about the new trends and techs. When your millennial employees do not remember the knowledge delivered during training, they would probably end up wasting significant productive time. This would lead to poor on-job-performance and reduced productivity. And this here is a tap that keeps flowing until you buck it up.

What all methods do you use to train millennials in your organizations? Tell us in the comments below.

Shivani Nalkar

Shivani Nalkar

Shivani is a Content and Social Media Marketer at Whatfix. She is a voracious reader and a dilettante chef. She joined Whatfix as a fresher, and is spending her days learning the tips and trick of her new trade.
Shivani Nalkar

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