Millenials Aren’t Aliens

Millenials Aren’t Aliens

The flurry of articles, both in the industry and out, obsessed with talking about millennial’s like they aren’t listening have painted them as self-centered, lazy and difficult. These ‘kids’ that expect a handout, aren’t interested unless it’s on their iPhone and don’t believe they can possibly fail aren’t aliens, they’re our future.

As we as educators have gained experience with years under our belts it may feel like we don’t know how to connect to these young whippersnappers, however what has been painted by the media as shortcomings are actually assets in the changing and competitive employment landscape. It’s up to us to help them achieve their potential, so it’s time we also change our attitude towards our 80’s and 90’s babies.

#1 – Groupwork is key

Younger generations find the isolation of an assembly line alienating and…boring. Getting your students into team situations gets them in the comfort zone and allows them to learn from both peers and instructors.

#2 – Feedback is Expected Regularly

What you may see as requiring validation, they see as guidance. Millenials have a ‘can do’ attitude that make them fearless in the face of challenge, but they like to know where they stand. Think of it like the bumper rails at the bowling alley – keeping them on the right track, whether it’s positive or negative feedback. Just remember that delivery is just as key when delivering regular feedback rather than formal assessments.

#3 – Strike a Balance in Flexibility

They expect structure and organization from their instructors and need set timelines, regular expectations and black and white requirements. Otherwise, they will be loosey-goosey with your vague terms of engagement. However, they want to feel like they have a voice. Millenials are used to multi-tasking given they were born in a multi-screen (think TV, laptop, smartphone) environment. They will thrive in flexible environments that allow them to schedule themselves within your set boundaries. Self-paced and online training can be invigorating for the younger generation, while students a decade or two older would have become frustrated.

#4 – Leverage Their Connectivity

These are experts in networking, right at your fingertips. Take queues from their instincts in how you can improve your school, both in training them to be great at their jobs, but how to attract more students and build your brand. Instead of making a knee jerk reaction to banning mobile phones because they are a distraction, engage them in providing programs that utilize their mobile phones in their learning process.

Share this post