Multi-generational Learning in Training Environments

Factoring multigenerational learning processes into training programs can be difficult. Encouraging innovation in training programs in order to reach all age groups should be considered a must for adult learning and development teams; but it can be difficult to create training programs that engage everyone. Here are a few must-haves for training multigenerational learners:

Personalise the Learning experience
Providing a personalised learning experience involves providing appropriate learning for an employee that maximises retention and application on the job. This is where it is important to consider learning styles how best to teach to those styles. Teaching styles that were used in primary and secondary teaching as well as any tertiary education will have a major effect on this, as will technologies used in the teaching process, and in everyday life (how comfortable are they reading online or digitally; have they participated in online learning forums or webinars before, etc.)

The divide may not only be generational, but could be based on level of education, or use of technology on or outside of the job. Discuss preferences and be willing to cater to more than one type of learner.

Personalising training allows learners to feel in control of their learning.

Engage your learners
Feeling engaged in ones learning is a huge part of what can keep a learner motivated to continue with education. Some learners will be self-motivated, due to any number of reasons, and are likely to remain engaged with their learning throughout. However, there will likely be a larger group that struggle to feel motivated, and engaging them in a range of ways will help them complete the training in the least painful way possible.

Make program activities relevant and results oriented
Gen Yer’s, especially, want to know how what they are learning could be used in the real world; they want marketable skills that can be added to a resume and used for the future. They will be focused not only on skills for their current job, but on skills that can lead to career growth or movement.

Activities that can simulate real world situations, or lead to examples of using skills outside of the classroom, are a great way to engage with those wanting to be able to see tangible results in their learning.

Create a safe environment for practice
Baby Boomers are often low risk takers in a work environment. They may be afraid that if they cannot perform new skills or tasks well, they will be vulnerable on the job. Having a space within training to practice and perfect new skills will make them more comfortable when they go to use them in their job.

Creating activities that incorporate these new skills is a great way to allow everyone to practice with no pressure of them effecting job security.

Create multiple formats of support
To accommodate everyone in the program, it can be important to be open to communicating with them in the best way for each learner. Offer multiple ways they can contact the trainer, including face-to-face discussions, as well as email, phone calls, and a blog or Facebook group where participants can discuss and share knowledge and support each other, with or without the facilitators input.

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