Millennials NEEEED Self-Directed Learning

Millennials NEEEED Self-Directed Learning

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In an excellent article by Heather MacNeill, entitled “For Millenials, Consider Self-Directed Learning,” the author offers this important premise:

Millennials are one of the largest drivers for fast-paced change across business landscapes. Their thirst for self-direction in their careers is starting to make learning professionals look at development programs differently. According to thought leaders like Daniel Pink, people have an innate need for a certain amount of freedom in their lives; at least some capacity to plot their own course. In the business world, this translates into employees’ desire for obtaining ownership of their professional direction.

In a world that is already fast-paced, powered by a fast-paced internet, and consumed now by those raised on a steady diet of “fast-pace”, this necessitates that learning programs at corporations must evolve – even faster – to meet those needs in order to keep employees engaged in their career. If employees stay involved in their current careers and take advantage of opportunities provided for personal growth, they won’t look at other employment opportunities.

And the data seems to support this: Express Employment Professionals’ conducted a survey last year exploring the reasons why employees leave jobs. Data suggests:

40 percent of young workers are likely to change companies because they aren’t given the opportunity to learn and advance as quickly as they’d like

It seems that millenials, more than any other group, feel the need to learn and to have a say in what and how they learn. This kind of self-driven motivation is something to be encouraged, since self-driven, motivated employees are invaluable to any corporation.

Here are some ideas to implement via Edvance360 LMS immediately:

  1. Some millennials prefer to learn on their own by referencing world-class books and videos, so create a public community on Edvance360 and embed links to Harvard Business Review and other resources. Encourage sharing of resources via the Resources tool. Track the downloads of videos and other resources to know which ones are the most popular, in order to determine the types of courses that might need to be offered and other resources to share. Encourage discussions around resources and feedback so their peers can learn from them.
  2. Some prefer collaborative learning — online and in person, so offer both for every course on Edvance360. Use the collaborative tools (like wikis, discussions/debate, groups, etc.). Use supervisor resource areas in both Lessons and in the course tools to give group facilitators resources that connect with the course content but do so in a way that is conducive to group dynamics. Always require a group project that has real-world value. 
  3. Others prefer to use their various mobile devices to consume learning content and offer their own ideas, so use Communities in Edvance360, emphasizing discussion/debate and wikis. Wikis are excellent collaborative tools that give learners ownership and are often our most-downloaded tool. 
  4. Most importantly, use the new E360 Navigator tool to ask employees “what do you want to learn about?” Their answers to this question will then connect them with the individual lessons, pieces of content and courses that match those expressed desires. This results in higher completion levels because the employee already sees the value and does not have to be “sold” on the value of the learning.

Using the tools and processes above, learning program directors can have better visibility into the resources team members find valuable. This can then lead to supervisors guiding employees to additional resources and even learning leaders or mentors who are experts in those areas. This kind of care for employees will ensure they will take care of our customers, which is always good business.