Just when training managers are heaving a sigh of relief that they finally have their training programs for millennials in place, a new generation enters the workforce. Yes! Gen Z arrived at the workplace in 2017. This is a generation of individuals born between 1995 and 2012. Remember Gen Z or the iGeneration is a generation that learned to swipe the mobile screen even before they learned to speak. They value their independence and this applies to learning as well. Gen Z prefers self-directed learning and would love to take an efficient, non-traditional route in learning. What better than an e-learning solution to give Gen Z its much valued independence in learning?
Most organizations today have e-learning in place. As the workforce continues to grow with Gen Z employees, we might need to tweak our existing online training programs to come up with the right e-learning solution for Gen Z. Here is what you need to keep in mind before designing online training programs for Generation Z.
Keep it Short and Sweet
Gen Z is not actually known for its attention span. If millennials (Gen Y) had short attention spans, Gen Z’s attention span is even shorter. This is a generation that appreciates on-demand training. They do not have the patience to sit through lengthy training programs. Because they get bored easily and are ready to move to the next task on hand, there is no choice but to deliver learning in small bites.
What this means for a training manager is that you will need to break lengthy e-learning courses into multiple, short courses. If you have a 45-minute e-learning course, the right e-learning solution would be to consider chunking it appropriately and breaking it down to 3 or 4 short microlearning nuggets.
Facilitate On-Demand Learning
For Gen Z, learning needs to be possible anywhere, anytime. When they need to learn something, they need it NOW. If their learning demands are not met instantly, they will just hop on to YouTube and get the information they need. Gen Z learners might come across as impatient.
The right e-learning solution to address a Gen Z learners’ needs is to make e-learning accessible 24 X 7. You can also encourage self-directed learning by providing them access to additional content such as videos, eBooks, whitepapers, and blogs.
Make Learning Interactive
Gen Z will learn effectively if they are left to find solutions by themselves. For example, the explore and learn strategy can be used to explain the organizational structure, business strategy, and culture to new employees. The learner is given the choice to explore information on the company according to his preference.
They have a need for speed and are interested in interactive multimedia. You could try gamification or a game-based e-learning solution to provide an interactive learning experience.
Gamification is the application of gaming techniques and game elements (e.g.: leaderboards, points, badges) to e-learning courses. Game-based learning on the other hand uses games to enhance the learning experience.
Interactive videos increase learners’ attention and can be designed for high-impact training.
Learning simulations can help learners develop competence (e.g. simulations used to train learners on a software application) whereas the usage of scenarios can help them relate the training content to real-life situations at the workplace.
Because they have grown up on a steady diet of video games, Gen Z finds e-learning engaging when it is presented in an interactive and fun way.
Deliver Personalized Learning
Learning analytics can be used to gather information on your Gen Z employees’ learning preferences and deliver training on those topics, in preferred formats.
Gen Z appreciates opportunities for advancement at the workplace more than anything else and values that even more than money. They like flexibility in learning and would like to follow their preferred learning path. So you will need to think of presenting the same content in different ways. For example, using branching scenarios in your e-learning solution is one way to let the learner follow a personalized learning path. You could also try non-linear navigation that encourages self-exploration.
Implement Responsive Learning
According to a report from Statista on Gen Z users in the USA, more than 35% spent an average of 6-10 hours on their mobile devices every day. They would want the flexibility to access information on multiple devices and multiple platforms. The right e-learning solution for Gen Z without doubt, needs to be responsive. You may also want to include learning apps that let them download content and view it offline.
Integrate Rich Visuals
Gen Z has been connected with technology ever since their developmental years. Their brains are wired to sophisticated, visual images. As a result, the part of the brain that is responsible for visual ability is more developed. This makes visual learning more effective. By integrating rich visuals in e-learning solutions for Gen Z, you can be sure of capturing their attention and delivering engaging learning. Use GIFs, images, memes, and videos to pique the interest of Gen Z.
While you take care of the above factors while designing e-learning solutions for Gen Z, do not forget to include face-to-face interactions and mentoring in your training programs. This is a generation that is more competitive than its predecessors. With their love for ‘snackable’ content, an e-learning solution in the form of short, crisp, clear packages is what Gen Z would look for. If you haven’t already paid attention to these factors in your online training programs, it’s about time you got started.