How to Satisfy Different Generations of Learners
When instructional designers create eLearning courses, they do their best to address all learning styles. However, what many of us forget is that it is necessary to address learning styles across all generations. To do this, you should first conduct target audience analysis. If during the analysis phase, you discover that most of the learners are from Generation Y or Millennials, you should then gear your course towards these generations. In other words, you should make their learning as interactive as possible. You should also encourage collaboration by incorporating a wiki or a Facebook page. Additionally, as you design your course for younger audience, keep in mind that both Millennials and Gen Y don’t like to hear what they already know and they don’t like repetition. They just want to know what they need to know now! When younger generation signs up for training, the expectation is that the same course will be available in the eLearning and mLearning formats. So, to please a younger generation of learners, instructional designers should keep their lessons short and to the point. They should also try to gamify the training material as much as possible.
On the other hand, it is equally important to keep the older generation in mind. If during the analysis phase you discover that older people will be taking your course, you should ensure that the eLearning piece you develop satisfies the needs of Baby Boomers and the X generation. It is no longer a secret that older generations like learning through lectures and many of them think that gamification and interactivity are simply a waste of their time. While it is nearly impossible to make everyone happy, it is possible to find a compromise. For example, consider including a PDF file with most of the information found in your interactivities or add short lectures through video or audio narration. Another approach that some instructional designer may choose is to create two different versions of the course: one interactive and one passive. Those who decide to go with that option should understand that while flexibility will please learners, it may not very practical as it can be hard on the budget and very time consuming. Therefore, as an instructional designer, you are responsible for finding a middle ground, so that all groups of learners can benefit from your training classes.