We are all familiar with the fact that there are different learning styles. We’ve heard terms like spatial learner, auditory learner, and kinesthetic learner, to name a few. What that all means is that people absorb knowledge in different ways and training should be tailored to an individual’s learning style whenever possible.
As if that does not complicate the training process enough, it also appears as if people of different age groups have preferences when it comes to how material is presented to them and how they learn. Given that you probably have a variety of age groups among your technicians — from baby boomers, to Gen Xers and millennials — you may have to train them in different ways.
Here are some things you need to know to structure training in a way that best meets the training needs of your technicians. The way people learned growing up is often the way they prefer to learn on the job.
- Baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) were taught by lecture and by reading. They read books from cover to cover, in fact. They did not grow up with computers and other technology so may need more direction on how to use technology to learn.
- Gen Xers (born between 1965 and1980) learned via a combination of lectures and small group activities. The used books as resources but did not necessarily start at page one and read them through to the end. This generation wants to know how what they are learning will help them in the real world. They are competent with technology, prefer clear instructions and do not like a lot of red tape.
- Millennials (born between 1981 and 2000) had information available at the click of a mouse. They are extremely comfortable with computers and technology. They tend to have shorter attention spans, are team oriented and want immediate feedback. They expect technology to be part of their job and their training.
A key thing to remember with training is that there is no one answer on how to deliver training. While you need to be mindful of the preferred learning styles of different generations, subject matter ultimately dictates how training needs to be delivered.
In developing your training modules, try to keep these factors in mind, but remember the ultimate goal is to ensure your technicians have the knowledge they need to get the job done. Sometimes that will mean reading through material, and sometimes it will require watching a video.