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Posts Tagged ‘genY’

Designing Learning for Digitial Natives (aka GenY, aka Millenials, aka Next Generation of Workers)

The Big Questions for May are:

  • Do you believe that we have to design, develop and deliver instruction differently for the so-called Digital Natives?
  • Are there differences in learning expectations and styles or can we just design good instruction and know that it meets all generational needs?
  • If you have an audience that includes natives and immigrants, how can you effectively design instruction without breaking the bank?

The second question is the one that really captures my attention. We’re at a point now where people, regardless of age, are tired of reading reams of text without context, without personal meaning, and without impact. ADDIE, ARCS, Blooms, etc. box Learning Designers into a scripted method of design that typically yields topic-centred, page-turning, predictable eLearning…. you know the kind I mean… the “Upon completion of this course you should be able to…. blah blah blah” eLearning.

Maybe, we need to hold ourselves to a higher standard. Why are millenials the only ones who want to be engaged, who want to learn at the moment they need it not 3 months before, who need a social component to their workplace learning? Why do we think Boomers want to read an eBook instead of take a eLearning course?

When will we realize that it’s time we dropped the prescribed methods that were developed 20 years ago and looked at what our learners need…. each time we design a learning solution for them?

I’ve been reading Michael Allen’s books lately and attended Ethan Edwards (from Allen Interactions) session at the eLearning Guild’s Annual Gathering in April. We can do better. Is it more work? YES! Is it worth the effort? YES!

We will rarely (never?) be in a situation where we’re designing learning for only one generation. Our workplaces are made up of multiple generations. We should be designing not for the digital immigrants, not for the digital natives, but for the people that are taking the course. How?

  • Put the content into a context that meaningful TO THEM!
  • Challenge them apply the what they’re learning in realistic situations
  • Give them feedback that encourages them
  • Put them at risk of failure (they’ll fail in the real world!)
  • Let them connect with other people – peers, mentors, managers
  • Make them want it – create motivation around the solution

Design for your learner… regardless of when they were born.