Personalized online training experiences are powerful and allow you to build a meaningful connection with your audience. Making your online training course relatable can be challenging, but doubly so for multigenerational workforces. The question is, can you really create online training that caters to everyone’s needs?
How To Make Online Training More Relatable For Your Multigenerational Workforce
The beauty of online training is that you can deploy your training resources to a global workforce. There’s no need to pay for travel expenses or printed materials. Everything is done on the learner’s preferred device. But that also creates some new obstacles. Particularly when your team consists of different backgrounds and experience levels.
You must mind the generational gap to give everyone the relevant resources they require. Here are five top tips to make online training more relatable to your multigenerational workforce.
1. Understand How Generations Learn
The most critical step is to understand how different generations acquire and retain knowledge.
Different generations have specific traits that impact the learning process. Understanding their key characteristics can help you develop content that is inclusive, as you’re able to include elements that resonate with them on a personal level.
a. Greatest/Silent Generation
The oldest generation that could still be in the workforce was probably born in the early 1940s. This generation is typically unsure about new technology. Their main objective in the workplace is to produce quality rather than efficiency and speed. They tend to learn linearly and expect one concept to lead to another concept logically. It’s all about practicality and routine.
b. Baby Boomers
Baby boomers are those born between 1946-1964. They often comprise the highest percentage of the workforce. They are more focused on teamwork, and their objective at work is to succeed – which is often a relative term.
Thus, you need to do your homework to identify their drives.
They love structure and systems, and they hesitate to accept any change in any area of their lives. Boomers need relevance. You can provide real-world examples that are relevant to their job duties.
c. Generation X
Comprised of those born between 1965-1979. These people don’t particularly care for hierarchies of power, and they tend to shun authority.
Compared to the other generations, they are more willing to accept technology. They love an informal approach to learning and accept change as a potential learning opportunity. They also enjoy interacting with peers and learning things that they can apply immediately.
This group tends to have extremely protected lives. They are the most technologically-savvy generation and tend to enjoy open communication. Their work style is fluid and so is the way they learn. They enjoy making connections while learning and prefer instant and constant feedback about their performance.
Unlike other groups, they dislike linear training and prefer learning at their own pace and choosing their own order of things.
Ensure that you have the right mix of learning techniques since millennials do not have the concentration or attention span for long online training activities. Instead, replace them with short, microlearning tools that provide “moment of need” knowledge.
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2. Allow Them To Create Their Online Training Resources
Once you have understood the way different generations in your workforce gain knowledge, it’s necessary to adapt online training to suit their needs. While the diversity may be challenging, it’s also a hidden strength.
Encourage your employees to develop shareable resources and upload them to the online training platform. This will allow them to learn from others and get feedback that will help expand their knowledge. They can also see everything from a different perspective and challenge their own assumptions.
For best results, set some ground rules and provide employees with a list of resource recommendations.
3. Pair Different Generations
Technology is great when offering training. However, it can also be a challenge for a significant portion of your workforce. For example, baby boomers who may not be familiar with LMS platforms. This is mainly because individual capabilities usually vary from one generation to the other.
Develop a mentorship program that allows them to work together toward a common goal and help one another bridge the gaps. Millennials who are tech-savvy can show their co-workers how to access the system or troubleshoot an IT issue, while baby boomers can help others learn, as they have unique experience and wisdom to share with their peers.
4. Create A Just-In-Time Online Training Library
A bite-sized online training library offers something for everyone. Especially when you incorporate a good mix of online training activities, modules, and self-assessments to appeal to your multigenerational workforce.
For example, those who prefer more interactive online training activities can opt for serious games while those who enjoy low-tech training can access downloadable mini-manuals and demo videos.
You can even compile learner-generated content to create a microlearning library that facilitates peer-based feedback.
5. Know Your Audience
It’s important to keep in mind that the generations’ classification is just one piece of the puzzle. There are so many other aspects that influence the way people gain and retain knowledge. Things like culture, level of education, personality, and life experiences all play a huge role in how individuals learn.
Understanding these parts of a person will ensure that you offer valuable training that will drive them towards success. Conduct online assessments, surveys, and interviews to learn as much as possible about your audience.
Developing online training for your multigenerational workforce improves both training effectiveness and staff satisfaction. Thus, employees are more likely to remain with your organization once they’ve acquired the skills and knowledge they need instead of taking their talents elsewhere.
Just remember, avoid falling into the “stereotyping” trap by researching your audience and not merely relying on their key characteristics. Some baby boomers may be tech pros, while some millennials might be reluctant to hop on the eLearning bandwagon.
Originally published on: 01 Oct 2018