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Redefining Knowledge Transfer: Cross-Generational Training in the Digital Age

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

In an era where the workforce spans up to four generations, devising effective training strategies that cater to everyone’s needs is critical. As these generations possess unique characteristics, value systems, and comfort levels with technology, what do you need to consider when designing engaging and successful training programs?

Gen Z: The Digitally Native Generation

Gen Z, born between 1997 and 2012, is the first generation to grow up entirely online. They're true digital natives who are comfortable with technology, social media, and digital communication. Despite being more connected than ever, 73% of workers between 18 and 22 report feeling sometimes or always alone, and most have only experienced remote or hybrid ways of working.

With this in mind, social learning can be a really important way to develop problem solving, communication and leadership skills, while also providing the opportunity for people to connect.This might involve micro-learning modules that provide bite-size pieces of information in engaging, interactive formats. Game-based learning, an approach where elements of gaming are integrated into learning to make it more engaging, could also resonate well with this demographic. Leaderboards, achievement badges and leveling systems can help increase motivation and participation.

Millennials: The Bridge Generation

Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, witnessed the transition to an era of smartphones, social media, and other digital technologies, and, as a result, are comfortable adopting new technologies. As a result, training for this demographic should aim to balance digital content with more traditional forms.

Since the pandemic, more millenials than ever are working in either a hybrid or fully remote work pattern, up from 32% in 2019 to 53% in 2023. While 31% are happy with the work/life balance this provides, it can be difficult for organisations to provide engaging training that helps upskills their employees. Introducing elements of social learning (such as game-based challenges) and incorporating channels that foster discussion, can help to create a community-oriented environment that allows to millenials to connect with, learn from and compete with their peers.

Gen X - The Analog to Digital Transformers

Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980, experienced a significant part of their formative years without the internet but throughout their careers, have adapted to technology and digital tools,

As many Gen Xers have at least 20 years work experience and find themselves either at the peak of their careers or in leadership roles, implementing self-paced, flexible training options that allow them to learn at their own convenience, could be more impactful.

When looking to create a training or development programme that includes Gen-Xers, simulations or virtual scenarios can help them to visualize the real-life application of the knowledge they’ve gained. Also look out for interactive training sessions that provide immediate feedback for this demographic

Training that Transcends Generations

It's important to understand that while generational tendencies provide guidelines, individual learning preferences can vary greatly. Therefore, a one-size-fits-all training approach might not work. Instead, adopt a flexible, personalized training approach that offers various formats and delivery channels to cater to different preferences.

Incorporating game-based learning into training programs can be a powerful tool to increase engagement across generations. Yet, how it is implemented should align with the preferences of each generation.

Above all, all employees value training and development opportunities, seeing them as crucial for career growth. The challenge for organizations is to provide training that meets their unique needs while remaining flexible and adaptable to future changes in the digital landscape. By understanding and respecting these generational differences, we can create training programs that are engaging, effective, and, most importantly, resonate with the learners.

To find out how we can help you create training programs that work within a multi-generational organisation, get in touch with our team.


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