7 panelists joined us for one of our most controversial eLearning Open Mic topics yet—teaching to different generations.
We hear so often that “Baby Boomers like this” and “Millennials are killing this” and are told that each generation has different learning styles and we should teach to them this way or that way. However, many learners hate being lumped into a generational category. Panelists Colette Boynton, Domenic Caloia, JeVaughn Jones, Irene Knokh and Paul Tingler were joined by Jenn Fairbanks and Misty Harding of eLearning Brothers to tackle this hot topic.
We first opened up to ask if panelists and attendees DO design content based on the age of their learners.
Our first panelist response was: “It’s not so much about age. It’s about quality. As a designer, I like to design online learning so that the learner gets to choose which way they like best. If you design it right, the generations get to pick which way they learn best, regardless of age.” – Domenic
It quickly became clear that there was a consensus around allowing learners as much choice as possible.
“I think it comes down to personal preference based on experience training and teaching adults and adolescents.” – Cody
“Good, well-designed training should hit all those different points (audio, video) and leave it up to the learner to decide. I don’t think it’s generational. I think there’s plenty of us, who are older, who would like to just do an online training. And plenty of millennials and generation z who would like to have a more in-person opportunity. It gets dicey when you try to generalize too much.” – Colette
Attendee Irene pointed out that different countries have different definitions of “old” and that everyone learns differently, so you can’t make assumptions about how people learn based on “generations x, y, z, etc.” Irene also recommended Ray Jimenez’s blog.
There was a lot of support for following other tried and true learning methods and instructional design principles.
“…can’t group learning into generational learning. We should use what has been in existence for years, theories, etc. Like VARK, have to consider the ways we learn and address each one in our course. That’s why we do blended learning too.” – Kimberly
Misty wrapped up the discussion by noting that many of the things discussed today in the open mic boil down to doing a really good, thorough audience analysis before starting your eLearning development. Know your learners and you’ll be able to create successful, effective training they enjoy!
Continue the conversation and share your thoughts in the comments below.
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