The Millennial Mindset

Millennial Corporate Learning - Dr. Jim Guilkey

I have written before in this blog about some of the unique needs when it comes to corporate education programs and millennials. As you already know, they matter greatly to your ability to succeed, for they make up nearly half of the workforce today. In past posts, I’ve stressed two primary things: 1) that you can’t effectively train any population unless you understand how they learn, and 2) a unique strength of M-Pact Learning is that it is ideal for teaching any demographic. This second point is possible because M-Pact Learning is applied learning design that understands how people learn and that is customized to the specific learning needs of the company and its people. We’ve trained everyone from oil-change technicians to surgical assistants, so we understand how to design learning approaches that are effective for very specific and very diverse needs. As a result, we have studied academic research on millennial learning and we’ve spent a great deal of time talking with millennial workers and reviewing post-training feedback from them. Needless to say, we’ve formed a clear picture of millennial expectations about learning.

Millennial Expectations

Like anything applied to an entire generation, this list below offers generalizations but these hold up quite well. Millennials tend to:

  • Place importance on the value of learning
  • Wish for learning that can lead to advancement and development of knowledge
  • As online natives, they are accustomed to searching for and finding answers to questions and do not hesitate to apply the power of internet searches
  • Be accustomed to graphic expression
  • Dislike strict linear learning
  • Wish to understand why they are being taught what they are taught
  • Feel comfortable leaping from one learning methodology and one technological platform to the next
  • Demand expediency
  • Have little tolerance for information they view as unnecessary

What do some of the expectations mean for your training needs? How does M-Pact Learning meet these expectations? For starters, in all M-Pact Learning curriculum, we incorporate layers of learning and use diverse approaches to different learning needs. With millennials, our approach works well because we build flexibility into the process; often you can learn material out of order, or you can skip ahead if you truly have (and can show evidence by application) already learned some of the material. We mix up mediums as appropriate to the material at hand, sometimes using video, sometimes applying graphic interfaces. Some material can be placed inside a competitive environment, while others can only be taught through field experiences or structured learning simulations. We avoid large blocks of writing. Millennials are used to graphics and animation. We make heavy use of micro-modules that allow learners to access what they want when they need it. This is just a handful of examples of why M-Pact Learning works so well for this generation. 

You can’t teach millennials if you don’t know how they learn. And much of how they learn comes from being the first online native generation. I’ve dedicated an entire chapter to millennials in my book M-Pact Learning: the New Competitive Advantage. Consider taking a look, because the one thing I can guarantee you is that you will never gain an advantage over your competition if you can’t reach this generation with excellent training that meets their expectations and their needs.