The modern workplace is teeming with millennials. This new generation of workers grew up with technology and has a very distinct set of characteristics. They are wildly collaborative, determined to move up the ladder as quickly as possible and easily bored. More than a regular paycheck, they value jobs with a sense of purpose and meaning. They care about their development and are hungry for learning; in fact they would take an online course on a bus., aboard a train or on a cafe-- if it connects with them on a personal level and fuels their passion. It isn’t surprising that this tech-savvy generation prefers eLearning over any other modes of instruction. But how does an eLearning designer keep millennials engaged in a course?
Add Social Learning in your eLearning Strategy
Millennials treat social media as their second home. They document how they feel, what they are thinking, even what they eat in social networking sites. To them, it is a place to get together with friends and family, get updated on what is happening around them, and express their individuality. At work, millennials use instant messaging as a means to share expertise, get support and collaborate with colleagues. Based on these behaviors, it’s safe to say that social learning will appeal to millennials more than any other type of eLearning.
Social learning can be integrated into your eLearning strategies in a number of ways. One simple and costless way is to create a chat group for all learners who are enrolled in your eLearning course. The chat will serve as the means for all learners to ask questions about the course, start a conversation about content that interests them, raise issues they encountered, and gain additional insight from everyone in the virtual class.
Include WIIFM in your Course
Millennials need to know the purpose of everything they invest their time and energy in. It’s important to be clear on what benefits they will gain if they complete your eLearning course. Use words that will tie the training content to your target learner’s duties and responsibility. Also mention examples of how they will be able to apply what they learned in their job. The more you are able to establish the connection between the training and the learner’s career and passion, the more driven they will be to actively participate in the learning activities.
Make Room for Feedback
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram raised millennials to embrace feedback—both good and bad. This sets them apart from baby boomers and Gen-Xers who prefer a less confrontation. You can make eLearning more palatable to millennials by inserting plenty of opportunities to provide and receive feedback in your course.
For instance, you can add a link to an online training evaluation survey in every module. It does not have to be a long survey with five or ten questions. A quick temperature check that they can answer by clicking an emoji (happy face for satisfied and sad face for dissatisfied) will get you immediate feedback without boring your millennial audience.
You may send frequent feedback by adding pocket quizzes or short assessments in your eLearning course. Revealing the correct answer right after they click “Submit” will let learners know how well they are doing, while teaching them concepts they have missed in the course.
Go for Gamification
The hype around gamified eLearning is real and there is a good reason behind it. Millennials will make up most of the workforce in the very near future, and they are well, game obsessed. They grew up playing all sorts of games online, on their computer and gaming consoles, so it isn’t surprising that they enjoy learning through game, too.
You can use leaderboards to appeal to the millennials competitive nature. They can either strive to beat their own high score or try to top someone else’s best score. Either way, you will have very engaged learners who might even go through your course several times in an attempt to be on top of the leaderboard.
Badges, as well as trophies, are effective in keeping the engagement level up in eLearning. It is a way to reward your most engaged learners, while encouraging them to try out different features of the eLearning course, gain a new skill, finish all of their lined up courses, and even share what they learned in the social learning platform.
You may also add an indicator of how far along the learner is in the course in the form of levels and progress bars. This helps the learners keep track of what has been completed and how much work is left to be done after every module in a very visual way.
Serve eLearning in Bite-sized Pieces
Millennials are always busy. They like to dabble in many things all at once, making them extremely prone to multi-tasking. If you make a one-hour long eLearning module here is a huge chance that your millennial learners will be already be distracted at the five-minute mark. It is best practice to keep your eLearning course within the range of 2 to 5 minutes, the magic number for optimal engagement.
Amp up the Challenge
Millennials like a good challenge. YOLO (you only live once) mentality which is popular among millennials transcends from their day-to-day choices to their career. They want learning activities that push them to their limits and simulate adventures they have not been on before. Adding challenging puzzles, make-your-own-ending type of games, as well as real-life problems will make your eLearning course a hit among millennials. Tied up with social learning, this strategy will help you gain free marketing for your course as your millennial audience shares about his adventure on social media platforms.
In conclusion, eLearning is already the top choice mode of instruction for many millennials. The job that needs to be done by eLearning designers is to create eLearning that can sustain engagement. The use of social learning, WIIFM, quick feedback mechanism, gamification, bite-sized learning and challenging activities in your eLearning strategy will ensure that your course is valued and prioritized by your millennial audience.