Millennial generations needs in the design and delivery of training.

14322523_10154650908715832_4391318693932779514_n:Training the Generation X and Millennial generation

 How the differences between the Baby Boomer generation and the Generation X and Millennial generations impact learning and training. What we can do to make training more interesting and effective for members of the younger generations.

Think of these five needs, or five factors, as antidotes

Boomer Habits                                            Millennial Needs

Use telling, text-oriented methods                 Involve to solve

Take a linear approach                                    Offer options

Use a leisurely, even pace                               Pick up the pace

Apply a trainer-focused style                          Link to the learner

Employ a prudent amount of fun                   Turn up the fun factor

Let’s take a look at each og these five differences and suggest ways of addressing Millennial generations needs in design and delivery of training.

10522562_10152946554170832_5806779337945096730_nInvolve to Solve

Interactivity is of the essence. Younger learners crave interaction—with each other, with the material, with problems and information, with experts and people who really know. They don’t want to be told; they want to find out! This is the one factor that always comes out at the top of the list when members of the younger generation describe their ideal learning situation. Discovery learning, engaged learning, collaborative learning, and other such approaches that have been popular in schools over the last two decades focus young learners on what they want to know and how to find out—often with the help and involvement of others. Discovering answers and obtaining information on their own is something younger learners do daily and have come to expect in a learning situation. Giving them a handout of the Top Ten Customer Complaints may not be nearly as effective as letting them sort through a hundred customer complaint forms and discover the top ten complaints for themselves.

            Baby Boomer culture is basically competitive. There were so many of us as we were growing up that we fell almost naturally into a competitive stance toward most situations. We competed for our parent’s attention with our brothers and sisters. We competed for our teacher’s attention in our crowded classrooms. We competed for scholarships, dorm rooms, and part-time jobs and then moved on to competing for real jobs, promotions, and attention from the boss. Many of us are still competing as to who can look younger than they really are!  The emerging generations are far less competitive in their general approach to things. They had fewer brothers and sisters growing up and were more involved in teamwork and group projects in their school years. That’s not to say there are no competitive individuals among the younger generations or that they love to work in groups, but their general approach to the world is not an immediately competitive one.

            Connected to their less-competitive nature is the younger person’s attitude toward risk and failure. In general, they are less risk-aversive than their Boomer elders. No one wins a video game without taking risks and learning from numerous failures.

            I suggest we design training that involves the learners in solving problems connected to the focus of the training and that we allow them to explore problems and discover ways to solve those problems. This can be done through absorbing, challenging, interactive games and structured activities. Let them risk; let them fail; and let them learn on their own terms as much as possible.

14196003_10205800943656861_8056031839396348260_oOffer Options

The younger generations live much of their lives in a hyper existence, above and beyond their immediate time and place. Connected globally, interacting simultaneously in a variety of media, they multi-task their way through each day—working, learning, communicating, and playing on many channels at the same time. They are accustomed to doing more than one thing at a time. They expect options and choices and free samples. They love to pop in and out as they like.

            While Boomer learning has more or less been dominated by text, the younger generations of learners have taken in as much of their learning from graphics, sound, and physical manipulation as they have from text. Interactivity is mandatory. Learners want to literally, physically interact—with things, with people, with ideas. And they want to choose which and when.

            To progress in a video game, you must coordinate the movements of your hands and thumbs with the changing visual images on the screen and respond to a variety of changing audio cues as well. A learning environment that offers little in the way of graphics and sound and that requires almost no tactile participation stands the chance of boring young people, even if those young people are interested in the subject matter and want to learn. They are not passive learners. Action, interaction, and choice are imperative.

            As a trainer or facilitator of Millennial learners, you may need to go above and beyond what you’ve done before. You may need to rethink and redesign your approach to training to include more action and interaction, more options and choices, a variety of parallel processes, and random access to an assortment of learning alternatives. Let the learners choose the “how” of getting to the endpoint, or at least offer a variety of pathways that may be taken.

Pick Up the Pace
  Think for a moment about your own style. What is the pace or tempo of your training? At what speed do you move through the material? If you have mostly older participants, you may want to make just a few adjustments to the speed of your training. But if you have a majority of trainees under 30, you may definitely want to pick up the pace. Try to make it snappy. And there are a number of ways to do so.

            Try starting your training with a bang. Immediately begin with an involving, challenging activity—and I mean immediately. Introduce yourself and the course later. Get the learners up and doing before they can really settle in. Catch their attention and their imagination in the first 20 minutes of your program.

            Keep your delivery pace quick and lively. Do a lot less “telling” and lot more “showing.” Don’t read anything out loud. Cut back on those overhead transparencies and PowerPoint presentations or end them all together. Tighten up all group activities. Better that participants have less time to do things than more time.

Link15195989_1140922826006123_8790694217671068748_o to the Learner

If you’ve been teaching or training for a number of years, you probably have a good feel for your material and your audiences. You’ve learned what works and what doesn’t. You’ve come up with some especially good examples and illustrations. It can feel so good when you’re on a roll. You’re standing up there explaining something and you see the light bulbs go off. You make a comparison, you give an example, and they laugh, they nod, they get it!

            Then comes the day when you notice that a number of people are not laughing or nodding. They may be sitting politely waiting for you to continue or, good grief, they may be rolling their eyes and grimacing! What’s wrong with these people? Your clever analogy to Sgt. Pepper, or your pun on the famous Beach Boys song, they completely miss the target! Whoosh, over their heads and out the door. And there you stand. But most of all, talk with members of the emerging generations—your kids, your relatives, your neighbors, your students. Talk about generational differences. Ask them what they like and don’t like about Boomers. Get their input when you design training. Better yet, let them design their own training and you can facilitate them through it!

            As much as possible, customize your training programs. Be flexible and adaptable to the learners who are present at any given delivery, from any given generation. Have a variety of illustrations and examples ready so that you can pick and choose those that best fit the audience or use a variety of them for a mixed-generation group.

            Younger learners enjoy utilizing their senses. They want to see it, hear it, and get their hands on it if possible. For many years, proponents of accelerated learning have extolled the benefits of appealing to all of the senses in learning situations.The challenge is to do so in ways that engage all learners without coming across as unprofessional and cheesy.

Turn Up the Fun Factor
The more we can bring some of that level of enjoyment into the corporate classroom, the more we will have the attention and the commitment of not only our younger learners, but most likely, learners of all ages.

Have a great week,

Kirilka

By doing we learn by feeling we even learn more

As a group dynamic trainer my job is to design and to implement the right program to the particular group, according to the goals, objective, topic, and of course according to the group needs and expectations.
There are many training technologies, including instruments, structured experiences, role plays, case studies, simulations, and games. All can be used to create an interaction between the theories, models, and concepts presented and the realities of everyday life. In considering the goals of the training and the conceptual input to be presented, the trainer must decide what balance there will be between cognitive input and experiential learning. Then, with a complementary balance in mind, the trainer can decide how this will be achieved. Will the cognitive input consist of lectures, readings, handout,? Me personally I always use handouts. Which experiential technologies will work best? There are various effects of each alternative, and these must be considered carefully. Above all, the trainer should not choose to use a structured experience, role play, or case study simply because he or she likes to do it. The case study is an effective way to illustrate concepts and reinforce theory. It also presents and allows for various points of view. If the trainer’s objective is to help the participants to use concepts to analyze situations and make decisions, the case study may be the best alternative.

It is a long procedure and process to create the program is the same process and procedure to implement it as well. There are different circumstances that the trainer have to keep in mind while creating and implementing the program for example the day by day sessions: first third and fifth days are the challenging one for the trainers, but again this is my point of view.

The group behavior and reactions?
The hardest part 😉
I can explain why – on the first day of training – when we talk about the training that is 7 or 10 days with group of people who don’t know themselves and are with different age, background and work and life experience, different culture – first day is the one that is for braking the barriers and getting to know each other. Of course in this particular day, people sit next to the one that for example is from their country, and they are hiding themselves as much as they want and can. Day two is for this to get in to the topic and to see ourselves in different situation to get out as much as we can from our comfort zone. Day 3 is to show to the trainer that we are the smartest and the best 🙂 day 3 is when we know each other better and we are group, so we are acting as a group. … and so on and so for.
In my previous post I share with you my last project under Erazmus + with the topic “Face the conflict”, there was one comment about what kind of activity I used. I am not going to share them the program was created, delivered, implement from me and I am not sealing my job for free, but I am going to share the methodology that I used with photos from this particular training:
Experiential learning (learning by doing) the purpose of experiential training is to let participants feel the learning as well as think it, to let them “try on” new behaviors and new emotional as well as cognitive responses.
There are a number of different ways of changing people’s attitudes and of developing individuals’ behavioral skills. I will discuss some of them in this post: structured experiences, role plays, case studies, debrief sessions, etc.. These technologies have been used in to the Face the Conflict training and in 99,99% of my trainings.

A human being thinks, acts, and feels at the same time, but the three processes may not be congruent. The most effective way to communicate with or train a person is to reach the totality—the thinking, feeling, and behaving parts of the individual. Experience in the training and development field has made it clear that learning the principles of human behavior has little value unless it is supplemented by affective understanding and skill practice. The best kind of practice is performing under competent supervision in an atmosphere that is free of serious risk to oneself or others.

Creativity and risk taking : Still in our society tends to stifle creativity in early childhood, reinforcing thoughts and behaviors that are predictable, “realistic,” “worthwhile,” and “normal.” Throughout our lives, we are encouraged to be conventional, to follow the norms of the groups in which we live and work. Creativity—unconventional thinking or originality—tends to be expected only in “artists. „True creativity involves risk taking. Successfully creative people often have to work hard to push their ideas through the system. Personal orientations toward risk taking are formed from one’s experiences in life, successes and failures, and one’s perceptions about what one has to gain or lose. As one becomes more or less secure, one’s risk-taking orientation may change. People can change their styles in that they can decide whether or not to take more risks and to try out new ideas and behaviors. This is easiest to do if one also can place oneself in a supportive environment—one in which creativity and risk taking are encouraged rather than frowned on or feared. Individual growth experiences in a training also can encourage people to take more risks.
Role playing: Role playing is a technique in which people are presented with roles in the form of a case or scenario, then act out the roles in order to experience them for educational purposes. The ways in which these roles were approached by the role players then is discussed, and the action may or may not be tried again. Role playing is, then, a spontaneous human interaction that involves realistic behavior under artificial or “imagined” conditions.
Role playing generally is used for one of several reasons:
1. To practice behavior in preparation for a new role or an anticipated problem situation;
2. To examine a problem situation or past incident in order to learn how it could be/have been handled better;
3. To create insight into the motivations and roles of others or oneself.
In role playing, the emphasis is on developing new skills and insights and on solving and preventing problems. This differs from the lecture and the textbook approaches to learning, in which the emphasis may be on principles and determining the “right” answer.
With a real-life situation, one may never be sure that it was handled in the best way. The role play is a type of simulation in which a person or group can be introduced repeatedly to the same situation and can measure the effects of various behaviors. Because the situation can be repeated with various approaches, the impact of those various approaches can be assessed and discussed.
Thus, role playing demonstrates the difference between thinking and doing. Because the case study has a there-and-then content emphasis, it creates considerably less learner involvement than the role play and less potential for promoting transferable learning that is “owned” by the participants. The participants in a role play engage in actual behavior, confronting problems and other people. They receive immediate information about the effects of their behavior and about how they could act differently. Thus, they can relate the feedback to their actual ways of behaving in specific situations. This creates the motivation to inquire and to experiment with new behaviors.

Case study: It is important that all participants understand what is going on in the case before the trainer shifts the discussion to what should be done about it. It is not good to use case study on the first day with group that doesn’t know each other. Except to find the solution of the particular case, there is action planning some times to find the solution of the problem, but here we have a problem solving and decision making as well, all session with the case study have to finish with the debrief. Of course the most important is the Case that the trainer chose to use to be relevant to the group needs and background and skills.

The discussion that follows in the training is the core of the learning experience. It typically reveals various attitudes and habits that can be clarified, evaluated, and modified through group interaction. Observers can note not only what occurs in the role play but also their own reactions. For these reasons, the soft skills training has a wide utility in leadership and management development, training in communication skills, improvement of interpersonal relationships, and team development.

To see yourself in to different role, to open you eyes, to see and feel the reaction in to the safety environment (the training room) this is how you rise your sensitivity and try to act and react in to the particular issues to experiment with your behavior to learn by doing. This is the priceless. And again feedback: “The genuine feeling that you could rediscover the human feelings within yourself, through training, small talk, big talk, through serious and very unseriouss interactions. How nice it can feel to be human, to feel that you can enjoy being true to others, and most importantly, yourself. The thing that really makes my heart go a bit bleeding (yes, exactly like the guys that didn’t want to vote “Guilty”), is that the training, and overall experience was so fulfilling, so complete in its own nature, that you could cut bonds with your everyday routines, emotional patterns, and just enjoy the Cruise of happiness with our trainers, and rest of the one-of-a-kind personalities that there were. Leaving your everyday thoughts behind, and just being surprised, how happy you can be (as it is in my case)
It is so rare that you can find the environment where all can nurture each other with their honesty and exchange of true happiness, and help each other bloom to a full flower of their beautiful personalities. „ A small paragraph written by one of the participants.

Kiki