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The Millenials are Coming to TD!

Updated: Aug 21, 2018

Bruh, they are already here!

The millennials are coming. The millennials are coming! Does this sound familiar? It seems every think piece on the state of the training and development industry mentions millennials and the notion that people born between the early 1980s and early 2000s are shattering paradigms (and/or creating new ones)

First of all, BACK IN MY DAY, we were called Generation Y, not millennials. Secondly, nearly everything I’ve read from the Bureau of Labor Statistics regarding future workforce trends consistently cites the aging workforce and the labor force participation rate that is expected to increase fastest for the oldest segments of the population—most notably, people ages 65 to 74 and 75 and older—through 2024 (e.g. Older workers: Labor force trends and career options, Occupational choices of the elderly.)

A lot has been made about learning styles (including the debate as to whether they really matter or if they pseudo science) and how training approaches need to try harder to solve for those nuances. And this is no different.

You can take 10 baby boomers, and 12 millennials (because you know – according to baby boomers – it takes more millennials to do the work you can do) and regardless of the differing demographics, you will have some that prefer learning through books, some that like videos, some that like jingles to remember things, and a fair share that just like to learn through doing.

Baby boomers lingering in the workforce longer and a rise to prominence of the workers that grew up with the internet doesn’t really shatter any paradigms as it pertains to learning. It’s always been about having a variety of approaches and appealing to learning preferences. Adaptive learning has always been sought after. Technology just makes it easier, more cost efficient, and more realistic to do this more consistently.

The real learning curve here as a professional in learning & development is knowing which technologies and approaches:

a) Demonstrate value

  • Is it worth the time/resources invested?

  • Is there a bigger learning curve to going paperless than benefit via reduction in expense?

  • Are you delivering training online and/or virtually to save money but now have reduced learning “stickiness”?

b) Have repeatable use/scalability to other projects

  • Is this a one-and-done?

  • Does the technology integrate and play nice with other systems and applications in place?

  • Can 2 birds be killed with 1 stone? (Please refer to all local hunting laws and regulations about applicable hunting seasons and any bird species-specific prohibitions that may apply.)

c) Compliment the nature, amount, and scope of the content being delivered

  • Are you asking people to learn to type by reading a book?

  • Are you providing access to experts and giving opportunities to apply & assess knowledge?

d) Solve a problem

  • Is there a true business case or are you “keeping up with the Joneses.”

  • Are you doing the same thing just in a different way to achieve some perception of modernity?

(Remember: people don’t like to change unless there is a compelling and explicit reason for doing so).

Author: Greg Moore at

Sucked into the seedy underworld of corporate training and development as a tech writer and personal learning advisor for a successful eLearning company, Greg has found lifelong friendship and gratification doing everything from building online courses, apps, games, to media production and editing, voice over, animation, traditional as well as virtual instructor-led training, and [HIS TRUE PASSION] strategic organizational design work such as competency mapping, career pathing, and creating fluid org charts.


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