Training millennials can be a difficult task due to their high expectations for how information is presented. They are independent, goal-motivated and seek personal growth. It’s important to understand what motivates them and how they learn to create an impactful training program.

5 ways to optimize an online training program for millennials

1. Show the Big Picture Independent, idealistic and impatient, millennials need to know that there is a greater purpose behind prescribed training that translates directly to present and future success. Emphasis on developing instantly applicable skills that help solve real challenges millennials face while on-the-job is the key to driving their engagement with your online training program. To obtain initial traction and continued support, the real-world benefits should be accentuated at the onset of the training program and advertised throughout so that millennials can see that what they’re doing fits into a larger picture that will not only help them perform day-to-day tasks better, but that will position them for advancement down the line. 2. Keep It Fresh Millennials expect to see “new” information presented in a way that is fresh, interesting and meaningful. If information is not presented in this way millennials are quick to turn to Google—their holy grail for finding similar information that comes in a prettier package. To acquire and sustain millennial interest in your training program you’ve got throw out antiquated methods of delivering content, like lengthy videos or text blocks, and embrace modern online learning approaches, like gamification and microlearning. Make training engaging by using rich multimedia content in your courses and by offering a blended learning approach that allows for a combination of online training, webinars, instructor-led training and self-guided training. Or, break up longer courses with mini exercises and quizzes to keep millennials on their toes. 3. Give Them Freedom The “do-it-yourself” mentality is a common characteristic of the millennial generation, as most millennials prefer to discover something for themselves and solve problems on their own terms. If you want millennial trainees to keep an open mind about prescribed training and make the most out of your online learning platform you’ve got to give them some control over their learning experience. Millennials will be more apt to take online training seriously if they feel like training is more about individual discovery and growth and less like something they have to tick off on their weekly “To-Do” list. Avoid giving millennials a play-by-play by only presenting key information—the pieces of the puzzle—and allow millennials to figure out how to use that information—how the pieces of the puzzle come together. By giving millennials the freedom to choose which eLearning activities they can complete after they have met the baseline course requirements you will create a space for self-guided learning to take place—something that will appeal to millennials’ need for autonomous development. 4. Let Them Follow Along Progress tracking shouldn’t live only on the administrative side of your Learning Management System (LMS) if you want to get the most use out of it from millennials. Eager for validation, millennials have a strong desire to know where they stack up and what they can do to improve. Ensuring that millennials have access to a “My Progress” page will help them see the big picture, how far they’ve come and how they are tracking to meet overall objectives and goals, which will help them stay motivated to complete their prescribed training.

5. Tell Them How They Can Do Better Millennials will lose momentum if they feel like their training pursuit isn’t tied to internal recognition and personal growth. Even if engaging online courses provide millennials with much needed emotional rescue from repetitive tasks and with helpful information, if progress made isn’t recognized, corrected or rewarded millennials will write-off online training as a filler task instead of something that will help them improve performance and open up doors down the line. To mitigate this, managers should provide millennials with regular feedback and encouragement. To learn more about how to provide optimal online training for Millennials, download this free eBook: How to Reverse the Millennial Disappearing Act With L&D

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