“For the last few years, trainers have thinking about the new Millennial audience,” said Michelle Tupper, Instructional Strategist at The Connection Contact Center. “They are sophisticated, they like interacting with computers. They’re ‘self-study folks.’ But they want training that’s fun and has some element of game to it.”

For example, Tupper said, the “basic security module” for employees covers swiping the electronic card at the entryway and not leaving important papers out. “We invented a game where they have to enter an office complex and find the problems,” she said.

“Badging”—collecting electronic icons for successfully completing training modules—works well with Millennials, Tupper said. “They’re used to getting a badge when they play video games.”

High Tech, High Touch

Embedded video is another instructional element that works well with Millennials, Tupper said. “For example, when you’re doing on-boarding training, a piece of what you want to do in the Millennial generation is sell them on the company. The best way to communicate emotions and feelings and soft gushy stuff is via video.”

PowerPoint-based training technology is still big, Tupper said. “Captivate is still a big tool, but it’s kind of been taken over by Storyline.”

While Millennials are tech-savvy, they also crave the personal touch. “I would never advocate eLearning alone,” Tupper said. “We’ll give people a certain period of time to do the eLearning, then we’ll do a follow up WebEx call. We might do two hours in the classroom and then follow up with eLearning. In the call centers, we start with classroom experience, then two months of eLearning followed up by WebEx. Then they come back after two months for an in-person session, then there’s one-on-one coaching.”

Managing the Baby Boom Exit

“It’s the exit of the Baby Boomer generation,” Tupper said. “I see companies appreciating that it’s happening in droves. One area where I’ve done a lot of work historically is knowledge bases—a central place where we collect everything we need to know. It becomes almost an archeological record over time.”

Tupper said the presence of three generations in the workplace also allows for reverse mentoring. “I bring twenty-plus years of experience in the instructional design field, while one of my team members has information about new tools. I’m teaching him the theory of adult learning, he’s teaching me new tools. The tools and the theory are wedded. If I don’t know what a tool is capable of, I might not be making the best stuff. He might be using good tools, but if he doesn’t know basic adult learning theory, it won’t be effective.”

Reverse mentoring can help engage employees at both ends of the career spectrum, Tupper said. “We think that as people get older, they’re less valuable to the company. If an older employee is sought out to mentor, it makes them feel valued. It keeps them in their jobs longer.”

Photo Credit: Dan Iverson

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