Learning that Targets Millennial and Generation Z Workers




Learning that Targets Millennial and Generation Z_auditorium benches chairs class

Both Millennials and Generation Z can be categorized as digital natives.  The way in which they learn reflects that reality.  From a learning perspective, a company’s learning programs must reflect that also.

Utilizing technologies such as microlearning, which is usually delivered with mobile technology, or machine learning to can engage these individuals in the way they are accustomed to consuming information.

Microlearning

The Definition

Microlearning is delivering learning in bite-sized pieces.  It can take many different forms such an animation or a video.  In either case, the information is delivered in a short amount of time; in as little as two to three minutes.  In most cases, micro-learning happens on a mobile device or tablet.

When should micro-learning be used?

Think of it as a way to engage employees already on the job.  It can be used to deliver quick bits of information that will become immediately relevant to their daily responsibilities.  To be more pointed, microlearning is the bridge between formal training and application.  At least one study shows after six weeks following a formal training, 85% of the content consumed will have been lost.  Microlearning can deliver that information in the interim and can be used at the moment of application.

Microlearning shouldn’t be used to replace formal training, but rather as a compliment which makes it perfect for developing and retaining high-quality talent.

Case Studies

Amnesty International piloted a microlearning strategy to launch its global campaign on Human Rights Defenders.  The program used the learning approached to build a culture of human rights.  It allowed Amnesty to discuss human rights issues in a quick, relevant, and creative manner.  As such, learners were taught how to talk to people in everyday life about human rights and human rights defenders.

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Dell has also used the strategy to implement a digital campaign to encourage 14,000 sales representatives around the world to implement elements of its ‘Net Promoter Score’ methodology.  Using mobile technology and personal computers, the company was able to achieve 11% to 19% uptake in desire among sales reps globally. 

Machine Learning

The Definition

Machine learning can also be used as a strategy.  Machine learning, which is a branch of artificial intelligence, is an application that provides systems the ability to automatically learn and improve from experience without being programmed to do so.

For the purpose of explanation, the example of an AI-controlled multiple-choice test is relevant. If a person taking the test marked an incorrect answer, AI would then give them a question a bit easier to answer. If the question was answered wrong again, AI would follow with a question lower in difficulty level. When the student began to answer questions correctly, the difficulty of the questions would increase. Similarly, a person answering questions correctly would continue to get more difficult questions. This allows the AI to determine what topics the student understands least. In doing so, learning becomes personalized and specific for the student.

Experience Learning

But technology isn’t the sole basis for disseminating information.  Learning programs should also focus on creating more experience opportunities that offer development in either leadership or talent.  Those programs should also prioritize retention.  Programs such as mentoring and coaching are great examples.

Dipankar Bandyopadhyay led this charge when he was the Vice President of HR – Global R&D and Integration Planning Lead – Culture & Change Management for the Monsanto Company.  Monsanto achieved this through its Global Leadership Program For Experienced Hires.

“A couple of years ago, we realized we had a need to supplement our talent pipeline, essentially in our commercial organization and businesses globally – really building talent for key leadership roles within the business, which play really critical influence roles and help drive organizational strategy in these areas. With this intention, we created Global Commercial Emerging Leaders Program,” Bandyopadhyay  said.  “Essentially, what it does is focus on getting external talent into Monsanto through different industry segments. This allows us to broaden our talent pipeline, bringing in diverse points of view from very different industry segments (i.e., consumer goods, investment banking, the technology space, etc.) The program selects, onboards, assimilates and develops external talent to come into Monsanto.”

In Summation

Microlearning and machine learning are valuable in developing the workforce, but they are not the only ones available.  Additionally, it’s important to note an organization can’t simply provide development and walk away.  There has to be data and analysis that tracks employee learning success.  There also needs to be strategies in place to make sure workers are retaining that knowledge.  Otherwise, it is a waste of money.

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