Repurpose Formal eLearning for the Millennial Learner

In our technologically driven society, it’s hard to escape the desire to use just-in-time devices and mechanisms for learning, even in a formal environment. Millennials’ reliance on technology has changed online learning processes; and new devices, social networks and other computer programs and functions have advanced the ability to learn.“Among Millennials, thos

e 18-to-34-years-old, the majority—70 percent—own laptops,” according to the Pew Research Center. “Only 57percent of them own a desktop computer, which makes it clear that this is a generation that prefers to carry electronics.”Because millennials are constantly connected, their relationship with technology drives their willingness and readiness to learn. Learners have begun to expect user-friendliness and convenience from their devices because of new technologies like the iPad and smartphone. Readily available learning material has become a necessity for this generation, so developers need to start thinking about how to bring the learning material to the user, and not the other way around.Overcoming technological distractions associated with eLearning has become essential for instructors. However, these “distractions,” like social networking sites and gaming apps, can also be integrated into the learning plan to motivate and connect with learners on a level that they’re more familiar with. Because social media lies in millennial “territory,” courses that integrate these sites allow users to understand at a quicker rate, and they can create content, which adds an interactive aspect to the process.“The “instantaneous” character of social media is undeniable and it is creating users who expect to become experts in a hurry and with no barriers to entry,” said Joanne Scouler and Jason Green in their Learning Solutions Magazine article.

The prevalence of social media in eLearning is obvious, and instructors must start adapting so they don’t miss an opportunity to connect with students. When distance learning is involved, these sites are a resource for improving relationships, so using an authoring tool that allows for incorporation of social media, and mobile learning material, is ideal.“Three-quarters of Millennials have created a profile on a social networking site, compared with half of Xers, 30 percent of Boomers…” Pew said. “There are big generation gaps, as well, in using wireless technology, playing video games and posting self-created videos online. Millennials are also more likely than older adults to say technology makes life easier…”The key is to mix traditional formal learning processes with new informal learning mechanisms. And, you can use an authoring tool like Lectora to have the best of both worlds. Features like mobile device support, including mobile templates, multimedia creation tools and HTML5 media support allow developers to create content that is accessible and identifiable to the millennial learner. Flash videos and animations can change the dynamic of a course, and they are easy to create and add to a Lectora course.

Then, you can deliver your interactive eLearning content through a learning management system, like CourseMill. The features in this LMS also comply with the needs of millennial learners, and bring the immediate, right-now feel that these learners crave. Live, real-time discussion forums allow instructors and learners to share ideas and communicate without a wait period. Students can take courses on the go on their mobile devices, which is an important component because the majority of millenials are essentially attached to their smartphones and tablets. These tools play a major role in both development and execution, so courses can be specifically made to suit the learners’ needs.When creating eLearning material for millenials, it’s important for the developer to adapt to the technology and devices that are dominant in their lives. Traditional, completely formal eLearning strategies are not as effective with these learners, so the material must be repurposed to fit a technologically based lifestyle.