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Generational Training

Today’s workforce is comprised of four generations. How do we keep such a generationally diverse group of learners motivated in today’s training? As any learning professional can attest, this can be a challenge. However, by catering to the learning styles of each generation, I have found that you can create an engaging learning environment for all employees. Here are four ways to accomplish this for each generation:

Veterans (also referred to as Traditionalists or the Silent Generation)
(Born prior to World War II)

  • Provide traditional classroom structure when possible
  • Allow them time to work independently versus in groups
  • Do not single them out in group discussions
  • Present information in bulleted or outlined form

Baby Boomers (Born during or after World War II)

  • Provide group activities and time for discussion
  • Allow them opportunities to practice new skills individually
  • Avoid role plays if possible
  • Present information in an organized fashion with major headings

Generation X (Born after the Baby Boom)

  • Provide time to discuss and/or resolve issues in small groups
  • State facts up front
  • Do not involve them in non-value added activities
  • Present information in bulleted form

Generation Y (Born of Baby Boomers and early Xers)

  • Provide a more structured and supervised learning environment
  • Incorporate visually stimulating and multi-sensory learning whenever possible
  • Ensure their learning is tied to what they are doing
  • Recognize that employees may not ask for help; therefore, make assistance readily available

That’s great, but what do you do if your class includes multiple generations? How do you cater to each generation’s needs? Mix it up. If you change up the delivery method every 20-30 minutes, you will be sure to keep all of your learners engaged.

For more information regarding the learning styles unique to each generation, read Generational Learning Styles by Julie Coates.