I’m a learning experience designer, a millennial one. I don’t know what “cringe” is and I still wear skinny jeans. My job is to design visual assets that bring online courses to life. I'm always concerned about making interesting and useful training videos, that aren’t boring and appeal to the majority. I’ve learned a lot from my senior instructional designers and project managers, and I began to understand and appreciate all the eLearning best practices.
But now, with a new generation coming into the workforce, I feel myself facing an almost midlife crisis (Gen X, please don’t laugh. I’m almost turning 30 and it hurts!). I figured I might as well learn something with the younger generations and share some ideas so we can be better at developing an online academy and producing great content.
I often think that I’m stuck between a generation that invented the basis of eLearning, that have all the theory figured out, and a new generation that is completely different from that one. I can relate to both generations, I feel both their struggles and I think it’s my job, as a millennial, to close the gap between Gen X and Gen Z when it comes to eLearning.
There’s no denying Gen Z, loosely, people born from 1997 to 2015, are true digital natives. They have grown in the digital age and have been exposed to the internet, to social networks, and everything that my generation grew up with a little bit later in time.
Gen Z is a generation that demands transparency and authenticity. They don’t like to waste time but are eager for different and exciting new ways of learning. Video is, of course, a great asset and widely used by Gen Z. And if you already work with video, great! You have all it needs to start creating and preparing for a new generation that will soon be your target audience.
Here are the 4 main aspects we should all keep in mind
1. Don’t be afraid to take chances and remember to be authentic
Gen Z is the most innovative and resourceful generation ever. Being skilled with the latest technology helps them to be more agile and to experiment with new ideas. Take, for instance, all young YouTubers that make millions a year just with shooting gear and their bravery to share relevant content.
You too can be brave and start thinking about new courses and knowledge you want to share with your team. Forget about the daunting aspects that scare you and keep you from producing content and start sharing. Be transparent and authentic, that’s what matters. High-cost productions aren’t everything, content authenticity that resonates with your audience is key.
2. Embrace bite-sized content and different formats
Bite-sized content is already an eLearning best practice. So, if you’re already doing that, you’re on the right track! Don’t forget about that when creating content for Gen Z. They love bite-sized content, and so should you. Take for example TikTok or Instagram creators. In about 60 seconds or less they share design tips, life hacks and even entire recipes.
When creating content for your audience, think about Gen Z’s "snack media" habits, make it short and interesting. You can divide content into chapters and even create content in different formats. With bugle, you can make video content available (an efficient and preferred format when it comes to eLearning) but also make use PDF documents, create quizzes and challenges.
3. Engage with the community and keep them interested
Gen Z is highly social and are always connected. If you think about content creators they usually engage with the community and ask about their thoughts and feelings on particular subjects. And that’s what keeps the community engaged. If you’re a training manager, engaging with your audience is key. Share informal content, ask for your students’ opinion, understand their struggles and with that information you can design a better and informed learning journey. That sounds logical, right?
4. Don’t think, for a second, that producing video is scary
Video is second language for Gen Z. They use it for learning or to connect with friends through messages. This means that they are willing to try and experiment with new software. Even if they’re not familiar with it! They’re not afraid to experiment and neither should you. There are a lot of different software available that can ease your way through video creation and start offering new and exciting learning materials. From explainer videos to screen-casting, nowadays you can do it all by yourself. Try, for instance, our new integration with loom. You can easily record your screen, share a presentation and create a whole course for your audience. It’s that easy!
There’s a new generation getting into the market and taking the centre stage. They will soon be your target audience and, like always, we all need to keep up and be aware of their specific needs. Adaptation is key. eLearning methodologies and video content are here to stay. Even with a new generation coming. What needs to change is our mindset, the way we face content creation and get frozen thinking about the difficulties of producing video. I’m here to tell you that it’s not daunting, all you need is the courage to take risks!
If you’re looking for more information on creating effective online courses, check out our free certification course on “Creating an Effective Online Course”, created by our Digital Learning Experiences team, that I’m a part of, or get in touch with us. We’re here to help you every step of the way.
You may also find interesting:
The North Star metric and bugle's use case (guide)
How to get more ROI from your training (article)
How to encourage lifelong learning among your employees (article)
12 Tips to choose the right training platform (article)
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