How to Engage a Millennial Learner

Amanda Leonard is Crescendo’s Program Coordinator, spending her time building out a wide range of content for our engagements. 

In the Learning & Development field, one of the growing issues facing facilitators is how to engage their Millennial Learners.  The same old tricks that worked for the Boomers and Gen X crowds just don’t seem to be holding the attention or passing on the necessary information to Millennial employees.  Luckily, higher education has been facing this problem with Millennials for years and has come up with some great advice.  Here are the top 4 themes we’ve found:

Make it Interactive!
Millennial Learners need to be more engaged in class, so bring in experiential components as well as team/collaborative activities to make content come to life.  Guide and facilitate learning, don’t just lecture.

It has to be Relevant!
Is this something I’m going to use tomorrow?  If the answer isn’t “Yes” you aren’t going to get it to stick.  Make sure everything applies to what they are doing now or in the near future.  And if you’re going to make sure specific items are learned, be upfront with rubrics so Millennial employees understand why it’s important.

Technology is Key!
There’s supposed to be an app for everything, including L&D.  Online-based programs not only help in the gamification of learning, but also make it mobile and personalized – which is important to Millennial Learners.  In-person workshops can also integrate technology through multi-media presentations.

Relax and Have Fun!
In-person or online, the learning experience needs to avoid being stressful – make it something that a Millennial will look forward to, not dread.  If you build rapport, it helps to get information across and keep them interested.

Millennial Learner Further Reading:
Faculty Focus – “The Five R’s of Engaging Millennial Students” November 2011
http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-and-learning/the-five-rs-of-engaging-millennial-students/

American Psychological Association – “Engaging the millennial learner” March 2010
http://www.apa.org/monitor/2010/03/undergraduates.aspx

“Millennial Learning Styles” – AACP Teacher Seminar PowerPoint, July 2009
http://www.aacp.org/meetingsandevents/AM/Documents/1-millennials_edited.pdf

Medical Teacher – “Twelve tips for facilitating Millennials’ learning” 2012
http://www.xyoaa.org/sites/all/modules/ckeditor/ckfinder/ckfinder/userfiles/files/education_materials/Millennials’%20Learning%20Tips.pdf

DePaul Teaching Commons – “Teaching Millennial Students”
http://teachingcommons.depaul.edu/Classroom_Activities/teachingmcs.html

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