The assumption, when dealing with anyone under the age of thirty, is that everything must be done online if we want them to pay attention. Preferably through Facebook or Twitter, but maybe occasionally though Instagram or a loud obnoxious YouTube video. We all know of course that they
won’t pay attention anyway but that this is the only shot we have to make an impact. Right?
I have one word for every Human Resource, Corporate Training or Development Manager who thinks this and that word is “Phooey” (from the Latin meaning the sound you make when you scoff loudly, with derision and great enthusiasm).
After spending some time at various Financial Literacy and other Avo Conferences around the country over the last few years, I am convinced that we are doing Generation Y a great disservice. Time and again I have heard that yes, they do want online training. They need it because it allows them their own time and space to receive and process information. It allows them to fact check as they are training, using other resources (because this generation doesn’t take everything at face value), and it allows them to concentrate at a time and place suitable to themselves. But, and they are begging us, don’t assume that they can learn in isolation and in one medium only.
This generation has been described as lost, isolated, lonely and searching for meaning. What does this mean for corporate development? Is the e-Learning programme you have been studiously building over the last ten years worthless? I don’t think so, but I do think that we need a blended
approach encompassing both e-learning and classroom learning.
If we assume that our rising stars, our under thirty’s, can learn without guidance and wisdom from those who have walked the - often difficult roads - they themselves are walking, we do nothing more than isolate them further. In every single interaction I have had with this group they have indicated
that mentorship and human interaction is missing from their learning journeys.
The ability to access the learning is but one step in their training process. They need to see modelled behaviour. They need to learn to apply the information and learning, understand consequences and the applicability of their learning to their roles, and they need to have access to wisdom. Wisdom is gained through experience and the only ones who can share the unique knowledge needed by the millennial’s in your organisation, actually reside internally. How you choose to engage and share that wisdom, is up to you.