Last week, we had the pleasure of being joined on a webinar by renowned millennial researcher, Dr. Christy Price. During the webinar, Dr. Price shared some of her latest findings with us and covered what she calls the new “R”s for engaging millennial learners. Throughout the webinar, we generated a lot of discussion around some of the challenges related to training millennials. We specifically asked the audience to do the following:
“List your top 3 challenges or concerns related to training millennials…”
[Before you read any further … think of some answers yourself. Even if you are a millennial, think of the challenges you may face.]
As you can imagine, we got a wide variety of responses from employees in roles ranging from Instructional Designers all the way to Vice Presidents of Training, Operations and even Sales. These employees also came from a large number of industries, such as: government, retail, finance, tech, consumer goods and more.
Here are some of the overarching challenges that were brought up on the webinar:
1. Millennials Crave Novelty
Millennials by choice, are constantly consuming information. As a result, they can be very easily distracted and with the advent of mobile technology, it’s very easy for a millennial to have a screen that can perform a variety of functions, right at their fingertips. If training isn’t being delivered in an engaging or new way (through the use of mobile or other non-traditional platforms), it would be naive of any trainer to expect a millennial to be absorbing let alone, retaining any training material.
Examples of specific challenges listed by audience members: Short attention span, expect technology to be integrated into training and the need for visuals vs. text.
2. Millennials Crave Immediate Gratification
If millennials have questions, they can simply reach into their pockets and find answers. The internet has truly decreased the level of patience for the generation that grew up with it. As a result, when it comes to training, the material has to be highly relevant to them and millennials also need to be given a way to prove their understanding immediately. This could mean building reward or gamification mechanisms into your training or even having more hands-on experiences, where millennials can see the immediate effects of their training.
Examples of specific challenges listed by audience members: Millennials value more pragmatic and less abstract information, they want more interaction and there can be a lack of interest in training.
3. Millennials Need a Why
Drawing on the first and second challenges, this one is a natural third. Without a reason or a bigger picture, millennials can simply lose interest. If the training material is not relevant or personalized to them, then they can simply find the information they need elsewhere on their own time. Time wasted with irrelevant training could be considered highly demotivating for millennial employees. When training millennials, consider always starting with a clear outline for the purpose of the training.
Examples of specific challenges listed by audience members: They feel diluted with information, they do not value info for info’s sake and training is considered something they need to just get completed.
Written by Shum Attygalle.
A recorded version of the webinar with Dr. Price is now available on-demand. View the recording to discover research-based insights that Dr. Price has for how you can create learning environments that are suitable for engaging millennials.
What additional challenges are you facing as a millennial or as an employer training millennials? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @Axonify.