For many years, training in the corporate world has been largely the same. On-the-job learning generally involved apprenticeships, classes, manuals, mentoring and conferences. All are resource-intensive and time-consuming ways to learn new skills, but they work. However, the workforce is changing, and millennial employees are fast becoming the largest cohort in the workplace. These individuals typically learn in different ways and for different reasons than their predecessors.
According to a Quantum Workplace study, millennials rate professional growth and career development opportunities as the No. 1 factor in choosing to stay at a company. Therefore, having a robust, responsive training system that meets the needs and expectations of younger employees is imperative.
Cutting-edge companies are now leveraging emerging methods of corporate training to keep their workers engaged, creating better-prepared employees in less time.
With the spread of the Internet and all of the various technologies associated with it has come the rise of a new type of learning. eLearning generally comes in the form of online classes with unlimited registration and Web-friendly features. The materials are contained in the cloud and accessible to all, classes are taught via videoconferencing and coursework is submitted via the Internet.
This type of learning is already a big market. In fact, the Tribune Express noted that online course provider Coursera has as many as a quarter of a million students in its most popular courses. Companies can leverage these types of classes to educate many workers at once, especially if these learners are all in different locations. Gone are the days when employees had to take a week off work to go to a conference and learn something new - now the conference comes to them.
Designed to leverage the ubiquity of smartphones and other handheld pieces of technology, mobile learning consists of classwork consumed on mobile devices. Courses are designed in smaller segments with visuals and other interactive elements created to be seen and used on a screen no larger than a phone's. This form of learning is tapping into a growing trend. According to an infographic by Its Learning, 80 percent of people in the United States will own a smartphone by 2017.
By creating learning content that can be viewed on a phone, a company makes its training material much more convenient for its employees to access. The distinct style of mobile learning means it allows workers to drop in and out of coursework when their schedules allow. Learners can do their classwork between meetings, at lunch or while taking the train home after work. This flexibility is the greatest benefit of mobile learning.
Wrapped up in the concept of eLearning and mobile learning is the self-descriptively named microlearning. The idea is that information is presented to the learner in small, discrete course chunks that focus on just one major idea and take no more than 10 minutes to complete. Video is an especially popular medium for microlearning, but other formats such as quizzes and blogs are also used extensively.
Millennials have an incredibly short attention span - in fact, a Microsoft report found that the average attention span is down to just eight seconds. This makes microlearning a preferable method of educating a young workforce, as the short bursts of information mesh well with the limited amount of time an average worker will spend focusing.