23 February 2016

Engaging Millennial learners with video

With the oldest millennials now a quarter way through their career, moving into their first management rules and holding greater purchasing power, it’s crucial that we create a training approach that suits their needs. So how can you engage your millennial learners?

Think about a typical training module; long, lifeless course material that employees must wade through, one step at a time, line after line of dreary text broken up with the odd interactive activity to try and mix things up. Then look at the people that need training. With more than 80% of the workplace today being made up of millennial or Gen Y workers it’s more than likely like that most of your learners are made up of this group- the individuals that have brought a brand new meaning to the term 'short attention span'.

Millennials are digital natives; they’ve grown up in a fully digital world where they’re used to relying on technology for almost anything they do. With the oldest millennials now a quarter way through their career, moving into their first management positions and representing up to $200 billion of purchasing power*, it’s crucial that we create a training approach that suits their needs. So how can you engage your millennials learners?

In a world where we now spend more time online than we do watching TV, video must be an integral part of e-learning. Not many things hold the focus of a millennial for long, so they prefer digesting information in small pieces. They are nonlinear learners and enjoy jumping around in the communication realms. Plus, millennials expect information much quickly than other generations. That’s why video is perfect for learning. As L&D professionals, we need to get ‘to the point’ so to speak, with our training before learners get distracted by something else, probably WhatsApp. E-learning gets them there faster than traditional based learning and video will get them there even quicker. 

Here’s a few reasons why video is the perfect learning tool:

1.    It’s quicker than text

2.    It’s a great way to tell a story

3.    It creates an emotional connect

4.    It can be accessed anywhere

Crucially, millennials don’t want a single channel to consume new information. They want a multi-channel experience and the way they learn is no exception. Video is the perfect way to combat this, adding an additional multi-channel layer to any training strategy.

Interestingly, this group of individuals are agenda setters. They want to decide how and when they learn. Video makes a great tool for this as learners can choose not just what they watch, but how they watch it too. Your approach should incorporate video elements that can be watched at any time, in any order and on multiple gadgets.

Sold on the fact that video is a great method of engaging millennial learners? Create a video learning strategy works by:

Ensuring it works on a mobile device

Millennials have grown up with mobile phones and use them for everything in the personal and professional lives. Make sure your video can be accessed anywhere, on any device.

Talking their language

Drop the SME written scripts, ditch the talking heads and outdated voice overs. Instead choose short, snappy and visually engaging video content that your audience understand and get excited about.

Not being afraid to entertain

Entertainment and engagement go hand in hand. The popular search terms for videos are ‘funny’ or ‘how to’. You need to think about how you can bring these elements into your learning methodology.

Activate social learning

Let your millennial learners know how others before them have rated your video content. They seek moderation from a wider audience rather and will engage with it on this basis, rather than watching your video because you told them it was good. This includes showcasing evidence of how many views each video has had.

Make it worth their time

For a time conscious generation it’s crucial to indicate clearly how long it will take and why it’ll be worth it. Learners want some return on their time investment in watching your video training. Rewarding them with a certificate or other qualification is a great way to do this.

Create a sharing organisation

A millennial audience needs to buy into your workplace culture and this means giving them a say in the creation and presentation of learning materials. Curation of content, with particular emphasis on video is your job as the learning and development professional. But it has to be part of a wider sharing environment where your millennial learners are actively engaged in sharing and creating learning content.

Want to find out more about creating a bespoke training solution in your company that could really engage millennial learners? Speak to one of our specialists.


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