Last week, I had the ever-so-joyous pleasure of a flat tire. Who doesn’t LOVE that?
(The photo above was clearly taken before I made it to the tire place for a replacement the next morning!)
I was driving with my son, Matt, when it happened. While I am grateful it happened in a place when we were not in danger, I actually learned – or maybe was reminded of – something during the experience.
Matt will be 13 next month. Like most boys his age, he is never far from his gadgets – particularly his phone or iPad. So, as he was riding in the car that afternoon, Matt had his phone in hand, playing a game. When the notification appeared that the tire pressure was low, I pulled over to investigate. By the time I got back in the car, Matt was already on his phone, looking up the online user manual so he could understand the car’s messaging system and look for online tutorials on what we should do next.
I, being in the “pushing 40” crowd, probably would have just grabbed the owner’s manual from the glove compartment. Whippersnapper.
This left me in awe. Not the “my kid is a genius” kind of awe (well, maybe a little), but in a way that got me thinking about learning instincts across generations. Matt is a “digital native.” I am not. Where my instinct told me to look for a static book, Matt knew to go to the internet to find current information.
His homework is the same way – while he sits in his comfy bedroom using a search engine to do research for an assignment or project, I sat in an uncomfortable Naugahyde chair at my local library branch, scouring a likely-outdated set of World Book encyclopedias.
So, with this experience in mind, here are 3 things I learned about how to engage Millenial (and younger) learners:
1. Leverage “just in time” learning.
Just like Matt instinctively sought out online resources and tutorials to learn what to do about our flat tire, it’s important that you provide the right learning solution for the right learners at the right time. Don’t skimp on the needs analysis to determine the most appropriate learning solution for every situation.
2. Make learning social.
Whether you use social collaboration tools like Yammer or Chatter, create blogs or wikis, host internal Twitter chats or use a blended learning approach, do what you can to connect learners to others. Make the social nature of learning come alive in your organization, and be mindful with how to intuitively connect learners with tools and each other.
3. Embrace technology.
Mobile learning, video-based learning and games are all wonderful methods for engaging learners, but it is important to be mindful of how you utilize them. Be careful not to consider designing a learning game because it would be “fun,” but rather the act of simulating a task or reenacting a scenario that mimics an on-the-job environment. Likewise, the idea of using mobile or video-based methods simply for the sake of incorporating them into your learning program would miss the mark. Embrace technology; recognize its merit, and implement learning solutions accordingly.
It’s funny how the headache of dealing with a flat tire can make one think. Mad props to my kiddo for this one! This is Matt, after a recent 5k:
Your turn: How do you create a learning environment that engages learners of all levels in your organization? Please share your thoughts and tips in the comments!
Got some old school folks in your network who could use a reminder about engaging young learners? Be kind and share this post!