Thursday, April 10, 2008

E-Learning Best Practices: Bridging the generational gap

Last year, 30 percent of employee learning last year occurred online, according to two reports on the U.S. training market as reported in the recent Workforce Management article “E-Learning Hits Its Stride.”
“One of every three hours of training is now being delivered via some form of technology, and that ratio is expected to climb in coming years.”
A few reasons for e-learning becoming more prominent: higher fees for instructor-led classes and organizations’ reluctance to let employees miss work to attend training sessions.

Also, younger generations entering the job market are more accepting of, and prefer to be taught with the latest technology. But, how do you bridge the gap between young employees and older employees who may not be as accepting of e-learning?

A new Workforce White Paper titled “Bridging the Multigenerational Workplace,” outlines some best practices in e-learning across all generations.

Make a plan. First, they suggest to take a quick inventory of the different generations that make up your workforce and then develop a plan that addresses the expectations and requirements on each generation. The plan should include specific guidelines to ensure managers are managing, developing, evaluating and rewarding each generation accordingly.

Introduce technology training. Remember that older generations may not be as comfortable with technology as younger employees. Incorporate hands-on training programs focused on technology, starting with every employee’s first day on the job.

Address training differences. Mold your training programs to address different learning styles and generational differences. For example, Baby Boomers generally prefer relationship-based learning styles while Gen X prefers independent learning.

Manage performance and give feedback. Remember that younger generations thrive on constant praise and feedback. Use performance reviews to show what employees have accomplished, what they need to accomplish going forward, and how and when they can expect to be rewarded for their accomplishments.

Reward strong performers. Design promotion and compensation practices to meet the needs and expectations of multiple generations.

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