6 Engaging Strategies for Training Millennials

What Are Millennials?

What Does This Mean When Teaching Millennials?

6 Keys to Developing Training and Learning for Millennials

1. They like to share, co-create, and collaborate — so capitalize on that!

  • Choose a real project with a deadline that applies to the concept being studied
  • Integrate the topics into the project milestones and include journaling, peer discussion and collaboration, and mentoring from a senior member of staff of a supervisor
  • Set email reminders to have participants respond regarding how they are applying the training concepts to their projects
  • Set discussion boards to tackle common problems seen in the emails
  • Create a follow-up peer coaching session for all participants to brainstorm and guide each other (with the help of the facilitator) in solving these problems

2. They want to balance their time between work, life, relationship, and play. Build opportunities to blend interactions and engagement, and keep things well paced.

3. Use eLearning and online self-paced activities to allow learning to happen in their spare time.

4. They want feedback that is immediately useful to them — coaching is key.

5. They have access to a lot of information but not much deep experience — give them the opportunity to “fail forward fast.”

6. They are ready to try out new models, but in some ways are more conservative than previous generations. Give them some solid guidelines to try, experiment, and change.

  • Keep your training specific. You can do this by giving them specific objectives and telling them what success looks like. eLearning is particularly well adapted for this. Present the information and test it to keep them interested and on task.
  • Build case studies or problem sets and give them the guidelines for solving the problem. If part of the point of the teaching is to get them to think beyond the information you’ve given them, tell them that and let them approach you with new ideas or ways of solving the problem you’ve set up in the training. Using email to provide project ideas or keep things working in a discussion board is probably the best way to do this type of work. If you have the opportunity of an online classroom scenario, this is where group work is ideal.
  • While previous generations of learners may have thrived with the open brainstorming approach of some learning activities, millennial learners are less likely to be comfortable with this approach. Learning managers need to understand that this conservative approach isn’t due to a lack of engagement, but is because of a generational set of experiences that don’t allow trust and culture to form just because the participant is considered an ‘employee’ or ‘team member.’ Integrate time into the learning process to help build a trusted advisor, guide, or group mentality. Use empathy and sharing in environments where this is possible to help participant employees develop an affinity toward each other.
  • Acknowledge that not everyone in your training space is there for the same reason as you have developed the training — which means that you should have very clear learning outcome statements so all participants know what success looks like at the start of the learning experience.

So how do you train millennials?

  • Allow time for collaboration, discussion, and affinity building.
  • Make safe trial and error a standard part of every teaching and learning event.
  • Have clear guidelines and outcome models of what ‘good’ looks like to allow for participants to compare their own experiences and ‘scaffold’ from others.
  • Keep the training moments brief and to the point.
  • Use eLearning courses and other technology-based learning experiences like videos, games, quizzes, animations, and podcasts to allow learners to take their learning according to their chosen schedule and pace (and on their smartphones!).
  • Blend different types of teaching and learning in your workplace training environment by using eLearning, lectures, discussions, models, and practice.

Final Thoughts



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