Workforce Development

Overcoming the Multigenerational Learning Gap

I recently had the pleasure of participating in a CLO Media webinar with Charles Jenning, director of the 70:20:10 Forum and member of the Internet Time Alliance, and Joseph Johnson, chief of staff at Defense Acquisition University. We tackled several hot topics in learning and development and spoke at length about what it takes to create a successful learning blend within the context of a multigenerational workforce.

During the webinar, participants were asked to name the primary challenge their organizations face when trying to implement an effective learning and development strategy. The number one response was “finding the right mix of learning delivery methods.” Getting the learning blend right in a multigenerational workplace is a tricky task, but when it’s approached and addressed effectively, it can take your talent (and organization) to the next level.

I was asked during the webinar if I thought there were meaningful generational differences when it came to learning. I don’t believe there are. I think that we are all adaptable, regardless of the generation we belong to. A recent article I read by Palmer Muntz said it best: “To accept generational thinking, one must be willing to swallow two large assumptions. One, that tens of millions of people born over twenty years are fundamentally different from people of all other ages. Two, that those tens of millions of people are similar to each other in meaningful ways.”

That is not to say, however, that it isn’t vital to take learners’ differing levels of technological aptitude into account.  Charles, Joseph and I agreed that incorporating both classroom time and online offerings is key to reaching learners of all types (and ages). Joseph emphasized the importance of fusing these two styles of learning, using them to support and enhance each other, rather than looking at them as separate initiatives.

What do you think is the most effective way to approach multigenerational learning?

You can hear the full webinar here: Ordering Up the Right Blend: Learning for the Multigenerational Workforce

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