Over the past five years, the development of microlearning and subsequent implementation has increased dramatically.
This dynamic method of teaching allows for the delivery and teaching of specific content or topics, in concentrated and specific bursts. Although many employers and workplace trainers understand that this is highly useful and applicable to the Millennial and Gen Z generations, it has been recognised that this delivery system may need to be adapted slightly, to ensure it is equally as well received by previous generations including, Baby Boomers and Gen X.
Who are Baby Boomers and Gen X?
The aptly named Baby Boomer generation is named as such due to the significant rise in births following the end of World War II and the return of troops serving overseas. The Baby Boomers are for being born in an era of multiple opportunities, dynamic culture, and lower expectations known as; the golden age. The successor of this generation, Gen X, is a cohort born between the 1960s and the 1980s, an era of economic growth and the pressures of accelerated culture.
The subsequent Millennial generation is considered as possibly the most technologically savvy, with access to computers, games consoles and mobile phones for the majority of their lives, this generation is often distinguished as ‘digital natives’. For these reasons, it is understandable that the exposure to considerably different life events, as well as the arguably level of importance with regards to priorities, raises the assumption that the Baby Boomers and Gen X have a more reserved approach to technology.
Digital adopters and microlearning
Despite the growing number of Baby Boomers and Gen X currently active on digital and social platforms, these generations, more so Baby Boomers, are widely regarded as more likely to express a degree of technophobia, due to the lack of exposure to technology during the prime learning period of their lives.
When we consider microlearning as a method of training, it seems less daunting and more easily digestible, which is particularly useful for digital adopters. For the younger generations, they may fly through these modules, however, Baby boomers and Gen X may find the delivery method less accommodating. In order to deal with these hurdles there a number of ways in adapting the ways in which we deliver microlearning modules to these generations.
Working in groups
These generations are often team players, collaborating together to achieve the result required utilising different strengths and abilities of the group. So applying this mentality to microlearning and developing an understanding of technology will put less pressure on individuals and allow them to work together to reach conclusions. This method also allows for discussion of the topic and to take more time to reach conclusions.
Confidence may be one of the key barriers for older generations when it comes to microlearning delivered across more complex platforms such as computers. Gradually building confidence in using these products for both personal and social use will develop a familiarity with the systems, which can then be applied to the microlearning.
Sociologists claim that both the Baby Boomers and Gen X demographics are a collection of proud individuals, who typically choose not to disclose if they are struggling or admit to the desire of wanting to learn more. Based on these findings, it is logical that combining a social need and a practical preference would benefit the Baby Boomers and Gen X demographics. Workshops that integrate these needs could offer a microlearning scheme, reinforcing to the individual that they are not isolated when it comes to technological mastery. At the workshop, individuals will be taught step by step the different uses of technology, applications, and websites, while following the microlearning curriculum. Group training sessions are also more affordable, an additional incentive to learn computer skills.
With regards to Baby Boomers and Gen X, tactical schemes of microlearning should be introduced to ensure these generations aren’t left in a technology time warp. Research conducted by Breezie, a simplified tablet interface platform that manages schedules and interests for senior citizens, suggests that those who fall in the Baby Boomers and Gen X categories are more willing to learn new skills if they are in a community environment. Furthermore, Breezie found that older generations find touchscreen interfaces easier to familiarise with, rather than the traditional desktop. So if your microlearning practices are not flexible enough to incorporate simplified tablet or mobile options, it may be worth reconsidering the method of delivery.