September 2013


Here are more reflections on the article I read recently on the impact of Millennials on the workplace.

Millennials are a hot topic.  There presence is all around us and unavoidable.  The ubiquity of millennials reminds me of the late 90s, when the Internet was young.  It was fresh and exciting.  It was new and full of potential.  We were told it was the solution to all our problems.  The train was leaving the station and you needed to be on it.

I share this as a word of caution.  In the late 90s and early 2000s many organizations believed that e-learning was the solution to their training problems.  It was flexible.  It saved time.  It was cheaper.  Time revealed that e-learning had limits.  We have learned how to integrate e-learning into a larger strategy that addresses the learning outcomes in an instructionally sound manner and accommodates the needs/preferences of every learner.

We should take the same approach with millennials.  Try to avoid getting caught up in the hype.  Resist the pressure to focus on them at the expense of the rest of your workforce.  At the same time begin to explore how to revise your training strategy to account for their preferences.  I have advocated for many of the changes identified in the article above in this space.  Taking a calm and methodical approach will serve you and your organization well.

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This morning I read yet another article on the impact Millennials will have on the workplace.  This time the focus was the training implications.  While the author clearly has thought through the learning options and preferences of Millennials, I found myself asking if they justified the wholesale revision of instructional strategies.

Full disclosure: I believe in the basics and am not easily persuaded by calls for new strategies. I am especially wary if those changes put the medium ahead of the learning need.  I have experience working with Allen Communication.  I respect their work and perspective.  However, the have an interest in selling “learning solutions.”  Without questioning their motives, one must bear that in mind.

Before revising its learning strategy, every organization needs to understand their culture and how learning fits into their overall strategy.  Only after considering the needs of the organization should one consider changing their learning strategy to focus on the learning needs and preferences of a particular audience.