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Millennials Killed LMS (and Why This Is a Great Thing)
Millennials are disruptors and innovators by nature. They’ve killed so many things we’ve been accustomed to from napkins, motorcycles, and homeownership to banks, department stores, and even football. No wonder they’ve made their way to corporate training and traditional LMS, bringing change there too.
So, what’s changed under the influence of these disruptors, and are these changes beneficial for employee training and learning in general?
Millennials’ disruptive behavior, explained
Inside Quest had an interview with a renowned author, organizational consultant and motivational speaker, Simon Sinek, in which he described millennials’ perception of the world, the reasons for their aspirations and their psychological background that made them the way they are.
Millennials will say: “We want to work in a place with purpose, we want to make an impact, we want free food and bean bag chairs.” And yet when provided all these things they are still not happy. That is because there is a missing piece. It can be broken down into four pieces: parenting, technology, impatience, and environment.
But what do these four pieces actually mean?
First of all, Sinek says that the majority of millennials were raised according to failed parenting strategies. “They were told that they were special, they were told they can have anything they want in life, just because they want it. Some of them got A’s not because they earned them, but because the teachers didn’t want to deal with the parents.” This is why we have a generation that desperately strives to make an impact. Being adults, millennials want to keep proving to themselves and the rest of the world that they can make a difference.
Secondly, millennials were brought up during the time of big technological advancements; this is the reason they’re called “digital natives”. The Internet, PCs, mobile phones, tablets, social media—the pace of change was huge, and it heavily impacted millennials’ personality development. “We are growing up in a Facebook/Instagram world, so we are good at putting filters on things, showing people that life is amazing even though I am depressed. We know that engagement with social media and our cell phones releases a chemical called dopamine. That’s why when you get a text—it feels good.” It’s all about doing your best and getting instant gratification in the form of likes, shares, comments, etc. This brings us to the topic of millennials’ impatience and the ongoing need for timely feedback.
Lastly but most importantly, millennials’ perception of the world and themselves becomes disrupted once they enter the workforce. “We put them in corporate environments that care more about the numbers than they do about the kids. They care more about the short-term gains than the life of this young human being. We are putting them in corporate environments that are not helping them build their confidence, that isn’t helping them overcome the need for instant gratification and teach them the joys, impact and the fulfillment you get from working hard on something for a long time that cannot be done in a month or even in a year.” In an instant, millennials saw that getting what they want and making a difference was not that simple.
As their world had been disrupted, millennials have become the disruptors themselves.
In what way have Millennials disrupted corporate training?
In spite of being exposed to corporate environments that do not correspond to their initial vision, millennials have learned to adapt by focusing on self-development. According to Psychology Today, 94% of millennials make personal improvement commitments. What’s interesting is that while Baby Boomers spend an average of $152 per month on self-improvement, millennials spend nearly twice that though their income is lower. Another study shows that 60% of millennials would prefer a job where there’s a greater scope for professional development rather than a higher salary. Moreover, 58% want their employers to provide them with ongoing learning opportunities.
While companies are happy that this generation is eager to learn, because highly-skilled employees drive business success, it’s not that simple. Millennials expect development opportunities to be fun, engaging, relevant, immersive, and hands-on. That’s why corporate training has changed drastically to meet modern learners’ demands. Along with that, L&D professionals have shifted their focus to learning systems that can satisfy millennials’ needs.
So how have millennials changed eLearning?
1. They’ve made it adaptive.
Being impatient and tech-savvy, millennials forced a traditional LMS to work at the speed of Google and, basically, function as a search engine but with highly relevant and bite-sized content. On top of that, top-notch learning systems adopted Netflix-like machine learning algorithms that know which courses to suggest even before a user recognizes the need for one.
Thanks to such adaptive features, modern learning platforms personalize each individual’s learning experiences, adapting training content to their needs, learning preferences, and their level of knowledge and skills. What’s more, they allow not only L&D professionals to edit or add existing material, but also encourage users to share their experiences and create content on the fly for their peers. This is a big advantage for companies not only from the cost-saving perspective but also because when a valuable employee quits, their knowledge remains in-house.
2. They’ve made it mobile.
Millennials spend more than five hours per day on their phone, so mobile learning appeared to be a consequential extension for a modern learning platform. You don’t turn on your PC or laptop in order to google something. You take your mobile phone because it’s easier and faster, right? So why should corporate training differ?
Moreover, not everyone spends a lot of time at a desk, so deskbound platforms are not an option for today’s mobile learners. Employees wanted around-the-clock, easy access to information to solve urgent tasks, so they turned to mobile learning platforms.
3. They’ve made it social.
Millennials spend 5.4 hours every day on social media, so L&D professionals with progressive views took this fact into consideration, leveraging social learning principles in order to make training as natural for millennials as possible. Thanks to social features, today’s employees now enjoy a Quora-like experience in asking and sharing information, using hashtags to look for relevant themes, and have a Facebook-like newsfeed.
Remember millennials’ impatience and the need for instant gratification? Social media style learning platforms serve not only as a resource for knowledge but also as a place where employees can get feedback and support from their fellow workers. This promotes better connections across a company and improves team collaboration.
4. They’ve made it easily consumable.
For quite some time, they said that millennials’ attention spans were getting shorter. In fact, a new 2018 study shows that this generation is simply more selective towards what type of content to consume. YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat—they are all forms of microlearning.
To attract millennials’ attention, L&D professionals shifted to learning platforms that deliver content in the same, bite-sized way. Short videos, infographics, podcasts—whatever the type it is—are easily digestible and take only 5-7 minutes of employees’ time. This approach helped to get rid of the “I don’t have time” excuse, reduced cognitive load, and decreased the forgetting curve.
5. They’ve made it more visual.
Studies revealed that the average human brain processes video content 60,000 times faster than a text-based information. Other surveys, in which two-thirds of millennials preferred to watch a video as opposed to reading the text along with 72% turning to video-based platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo for their infotainment needs, support this result.
When L&D professionals understood that video content became the new text, they implemented learning systems which allowed the embedment of video materials in existing training lessons and provided employees with the possibility of creating their own videos as they do on Snapchat or YouTube.
6. They’ve made it look like a game.
According to a study, 57% of millennials (18 to 34 years old) play video games at least three times a week, and two-thirds of them say that it helps them learn how to create winning strategies, tackle various challenges, and work effectively in teams.
By implementing smart gamification principles that support modern learning systems, L&D professionals managed to easily fulfill millennials’ needs for engagement and made routine tasks more fun and competitive. Gamification also provided opportunities for giving instant feedback to millennials through earned points, badges and leaderboard ranks. In addition, Rallyware internal data shows the increasing interest of Millennials to leaderboards, who visit these pages up to 8 times a day—a sense of friendly competition has shown to be a driving force for this generation.
Millennials want to work in a workplace that fosters innovation, adaptability, and progressive views. One way to ensure this is to make your company a learning organization that’s ready to constantly develop, that’s open for change, and that takes care of its employees by supporting them and providing ongoing opportunities for growth. And the best way to offer this growth is by leveraging the capabilities of modern learning experience platforms.
Request a Rallyware’s learning experience platform demo if you want to adapt training to your employees’ needs and drive real business results!
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