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How to Train Multi-Generational Classes Online

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  • 1. How to Train Multi-Generational Classes Online Roger Courville 1080 Group, LLC Sponsored by
  • 2. Image source: CarbonNYC via flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/carbonnyc/3150765076/ Trainers today face the convergence of two trends.
  • 3. Image source: CarbonNYC via flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/carbonnyc/3150765076/ The workforce is as age-diverse as ever. Trainers today face the convergence of two trends.
  • 4. Image source: CarbonNYC via flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/carbonnyc/3150765076/ The value of virtual classrooms is increasingly understood and accepted. The workforce is as age-diverse as ever. Trainers today face the convergence of two trends.
  • 5. Increasingly the question trainers are asking is evolving.
  • 6. “Should we use web conferencing as part of our training strategy?” Increasingly the question trainers are asking is evolving.
  • 7. “How do we improve our effectiveness with virtual classrooms to serve age-diverse learners?” “Should we use web conferencing as part of our training strategy?” Increasingly the question trainers are asking is evolving.
  • 8. The Approach: To help trainers better address age diversity in the virtual classroom, 1080 Group: •  Reviewed existing literature on generational differences in the workforce. •  Surveyed 737 learning and development professionals.
  • 9. A. What research suggests about generational learning & development differences. B. Highlights of the 737-person survey. C. 7 strategies for addressing age diversity in the virtual classroom. D. Conclusion. E. Appendix: Reference charts and resources. In this paper
  • 10. A. What research suggests about generational learning & development differences. B. Highlights of the 737-person survey. C. 7 strategies for addressing age diversity in the virtual classroom. D. Conclusion. E. Appendix: Reference charts and resources. In this paper
  • 11. Researchers disagree on: 1.  Exact dates for defining generations. 2.  Exactly what differentiates generational categories.
  • 12. Researchers disagree on: 1.  Exact dates for defining generations. 2.  Exactly what differentiates generational categories. Researchers agree on: 1.  Shared events influence each generation. 2.  Individuals of any generation are diverse. 3.  They tend to share thoughts, values, or behaviors because of those shared experiences.
  • 13. For this paper: Generations are defined in the following categories: Traditional Before 1946 Baby Boomer 1946-1964 Gen X 1965-1980 GenY 1981-1999
  • 14. Preferred way to learn soft skills (in order of preference) Traditional Before 1946 Boomer 1946-1964 Gen X 1965-1980 GenY 1981-1999 1 On the job On the job On the job On the job 2 Discussion groups Discussion groups One-on-one job coaching Peer interaction 3 Peer interaction One-on-one job coaching Peer interaction Discussion groups 4 Classroom instruction – live Classroom instruction – live Assessment and feedback One-on-one coaching 5 One-on-one job coaching Peer interaction and feedback Discussion groups Assessment and feedback Studies did not include options for live, virtual classroom instruction.
  • 15. Preferred way to learn hard skills (in order of preference) Traditional Before 1946 Boomer 1946-1964 Gen X 1965-1980 GenY 1981-1999 1 On the job On the job On the job On the job 2 Discussion groups Discussion groups One-on-one job coaching Peer interaction 3 Peer interaction One-on-one job coaching Peer interaction Discussion groups 4 Classroom instruction – live Classroom instruction – live Assessment and feedback One-on-one coaching 5 One-on-one job coaching Peer interaction and feedback Discussion groups Assessment and feedback All generations find live interaction with others is effective for both soft and hard skills.
  • 16. Top developmental areas (in order of preference) Traditional Before 1946 Boomer 1946-1964 Gen X 1965-1980 GenY 1981-1999 1 Skills training in my areas of expertise Skills training in my areas of expertise On the job Leadership 2 Computer training Leadership Skills training in my areas of expertise Problem solving, decision making 3 Team building Computer training Team building Skills training in my areas of expertise A potential challenge for instructional designers: planning virtual classroom instruction appropriate for both “digital natives”and“non-natives.”
  • 17. Motivations and values vary by generation Traditional Before 1946 Boomer 1946-1964 Gen X 1965-1980 GenY 1981-1999 Relevance to organizational goals; knowledge of history and context Relevance to career goals; training by invitation as a perk Training relevant to personal goals; skepticism Training as a fast track to success; realism Assume they are meeting objectives unless they receive contrary feedback Prefer well- documented feedback all at once Prefer regular feedback Prefer frequent, on- demand feedback Public recognition Public and peer recognition Recognition from the instructor Social and networking opportunities Your opportunity: be cognizant of differences.
  • 18. Research Takeaways •  Awareness of generational differences is the first step to adjusting instructional design and delivery. •  Live interaction is valued by all, though preferences for the nature of those interactions varies. •  No previous studies have looked at generations relative to the virtual classroom; virtual classroom strategies will necessarily be inferential.
  • 19. A. What research suggests about generational learning & development differences. B. Highlights of the 737-person survey. C. 7 strategies for addressing age diversity in the virtual classroom. D. Conclusion. E. Appendix: Reference charts and resources. In this paper
  • 20. “When were you born?” 4% 59%32% 5% Before 1946 1946-1964 1965-1980 1981-2000 737 respondents represent the voice of experience.
  • 21. 2% 7% 10% 18% 62% 0 to 1 year 1 to 3 years 3 to 5 years 5 to 10 years 10+ years “How many years training experience do you have?” 80% of respondents boast 5+ years experience.
  • 22. I work in an internal corporate training department I do training but not as part of a training department I work for an external training company “What is the nature of your training role?” 13% 31% 57%
  • 23. “What industry are you in?” 3% 4% 5% 5% 7% 9% 9% 9% 9% 13% 13% 14% Professional Services Medical, Pharma, Biotech Consumer Services Manufacturing/Transportation Hospital, Clinic, Doctor Office Insurance Government - State & Local Financial Services Government - Federal Education Software/Technology Other
  • 24. “How would you rate your students in terms of satisfaction and comfort with virtual classrooms?” 5 = Very satisfied/comfortable 1 = Not satisfied/comfortable 4.3 3.9 3.1 2.4 4.6 4.2 3.4 2.4 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5 5.0 Gen Y Gen X Boomers Traditional Satisfied Comfortable Younger trainers were more likely to rate older students with lower scores.
  • 25. “When you are the student, what is your preferred learning modality?” 4 most preferable, 1 = least preferable 1.35 1.35 1.47 1.41 1.42 2.15 2.38 2.36 2.56 2.36 2.70 2.95 2.80 2.74 2.84 3.80 3.32 3.37 3.30 3.38 0.00 0.50 1.00 1.50 2.00 2.50 3.00 3.50 4.00 Gen Y Gen X Boomer Traditional Overall Teleconferencing On demand Web conferencing Live, in person Among distance learning options, web conferencing is preferred by every generation.
  • 26. 31% 38% 50% 61% 71% 85% Meet environmentally friendly goals Enable new courses Replace in-person courses Reach new geographies Include learners who could not attend before Reduce travel budgets “How has using virtual classrooms affected your organization?” (select all that apply)
  • 27. “How else have virtual classrooms affected your organization?” (actual respondent answers) Accommodate flexible faculty teaching schedules and/or locations | Shorten the education process | Encourage participation from shy learners and workers | Less disruption to schedules and production | Keep up with large number of changes | Don’t have to spend the time to travel to class | Accommodate client or student preferences | Be more consistent in our message | Meet legal requirements in a timely manner | Expand our market
  • 28. Survey Takeaways •  Learners prefer live, interactive classes (online or off) if the experience is also visual (versus telephone/audio only). •  Virtual classroom“satisfaction” scores that are lower than “comfort”scores suggest room for improvement in instructional design and delivery. •  Instructors should plan to address generational tendencies in virtual classrooms similarly to in-person classes.
  • 29. A. What research suggests about generational learning & development differences. B. Highlights of the 737-person survey. C. 7 strategies for addressing age diversity in the virtual classroom. D. Conclusion. E. Appendix: Reference charts. In this paper
  • 30. Start with, but don’t end with, healthy generalizations. 1
  • 31. The more people you train, the harder it is to understand the unique needs of every individual. The trainer’s challenge: Ideally you know every learner and their needs. If you don’t, you’ll have to start with reasonable assumptions.
  • 32. Stereotypes: fixed, over-simplified images or ideas of persons or things. The trainer’s risk: Generations may have shared characteristics or values, but every individual is different.
  • 33. Use age as one of several classifications to guide the first stages of instructional design. The trainer’s opportunity: Remember, this helps if you have nothing else to go on. Better: take other characteristics into consideration such as job role or skill level.
  • 34. Take action •  Remember: generations are a starting point, not an ending point. Even in a common age bracket there is likely to be diversity in virtual classroom comfort. •  Don’t assume age and technical acumen are correlated. •  Use healthy generalizations to give you a place to start planning. •  Plan to“design in”opportunities to understand the individuals in a specific class or cohort.
  • 35. Use registration questions, even for an internal audience. 2 Which best describes your experience with…
  • 36. Most training sessions simply tell learners where to show up…
  • 37. …but virtual classrooms make it easy to refine your healthy generalizations of learners to make your program more relevant to them.
  • 38. Take action •  Write questions that will give you insight into preferences, attitudes, fears, knowledge and/ or knowledge gaps. •  Review the questions in light of known generational preferences, adjusting them to avoid bias. •  Evaluate registration reports before the class begins. •  Use a free-form text field or email private, pre- class feedback and inquiry outside of registration.
  • 39. Enable multiple“prep for success”opportunities. 3
  • 40. Digital natives Digital non-natives Communicating online is second nature Communicating online may feel unnatural Think in online terms and analogies Think in offline terms and analogies More likely to understand context for synthesizing new experiences May not have other digital experience to relate to More than one way to“get there” One set of (linear) instructions Can easily“undo” Fear of doing it wrong Learners will vary in their comfort with virtual classrooms.
  • 41. Many learners, especially in Traditional & Boomer generations, are willing to take responsibility for their own success.
  • 42. Consider both on-demand and live alternatives. Have a minute to get set up?     Pre-recorded video Instant web conferencing meeting Real time, flexibleSelf-paced, scalable
  • 43. Take action •  Remember: resistance may have more to do with not wanting to feel“out of touch”than willingness (given appropriate guidance). •  Provide a clear“start here,”preferably in advance (e.g., document or participant guide). •  Be clear on expectations and responsibilities, but consider making preparatory work optional.
  • 44. Consider turning the course upside down. 4
  • 45. GenY 1981-1999 Gen X 1965-1980 Boomer 1946-1964 Traditional Before 1946 All generations appreciate interaction.
  • 46. Class duration = content + interaction   Interaction can only occur when there is time.
  • 47. Class duration = content + interaction   Move some content/lecture to other media Discuss, reflect, apply Interaction can only occur when there is time.
  • 48. Complement the virtual classroom experience with relevant support. 5
  • 49. Traditional Before 1946 Most tolerant of lecture; prefer structure for assignments Baby Boomer 1946-1964 Appreciate involvement; willing to“roll up their sleeves”and figure it out Gen X 1965-1980 Tolerant of informality; prefer flexibility in how to achieve outcomes GenY 1981-1999 Accustomed to finding and socializing content, desire clear outcomes Generations tend to exhibit different preferences for how they learn…
  • 50. …and their preferences should also guide your design and media choices for learning support.
  • 51. Take action •  Remember: Traditionals are most tolerant of lecture, but tolerance decreases as age decreases. •  Design for discussion, guided reflection, application, peer to peer. –  Re-distribute some content to other media. –  Adapt live sessions to be more interactive. •  Integrate other media with live, virtual classrooms, even if the virtual classroom is your primary modality. •  Explicitly request that learners schedule time for pre-work or inter-session learning.
  • 52. Create an interactive environment early. 6
  • 53. Learners’experience with common webinars might be this…
  • 54. …so their expectation for a virtual classroom might be this.
  • 55. Take action •  Show, don’t tell. For example, instead of telling students to raise their virtual hand if they have question, ask them a question that requires them to use the“raise your hand” feature in the online training tool. •  Verbally guide their responses. For example, “Share that answer in the chat panel that you find in the lower right…” •  Accommodate different communication preferences by varying the tools you use (e.g., poll, chat, group exercise or discussion, etc.).
  • 56. Use breaks and self-directed time strategically. 7
  • 57. Use a timer to set clear expectations.
  • 58. Take action •  Ask for focus in exchange for ample break time to handle interruptions or emergencies. •  Invite one-on-one communication during breaks (perhaps privately) to individuals. •  Remember: –  Gen Y typically appreciate shorter, focused learning sessions and/or segments. –  Traditionals typically appreciate formality, including starting/ending on time.
  • 59. Summary of Strategies 1.  Start with, but don’t end with, healthy generalizations. 2.  Use custom registration, even for an internal audience. 3.  Enable multiple“prep for success”opportunities. 4.  Consider turning the course upside down. 5.  Complement the virtual classroom experience with relevant support. 6.  Create an interactive environment early. 7.  Use breaks and self-directed time strategically.
  • 60. A. What research suggests about generational learning & development differences. B. Highlights of the 737-person survey. C. 7 strategies for addressing age diversity in the virtual classroom. D. Conclusion. E. Appendix: Reference charts and resources. In this paper
  • 61. Conclusion •  All generations prefer in-person classrooms. •  Of all distance learning options, live training that is both aural and visual (using web conferencing) is preferred by all generations. •  The benefits of using virtual classrooms are well understood and accepted. •  Every generation has“digital natives”and“non- natives.”
  • 62. Recommendations •  Trainers will benefit by understanding differences in generational values and motivations when: –  Communicating the“why”of using virtual classrooms. –  Creating content and instructions to familiarize learners with virtual classroom technology. –  Writing questions to pre-assess knowledge and skills. –  Designing virtual classroom activities, exercises, and interactions. –  Planning feedback.
  • 63. A. What research suggests about generational learning & development differences. B. Highlights of the 737-person survey. C. 7 strategies for addressing age diversity in the virtual classroom. D. Conclusion. E. Appendix: Reference charts and resources. In this paper
  • 64. Traditional Before 1946 Values and learning tendencies Virtual classroom strategies Relevance to organizational goals; knowledge of history and context Bring them into the value creation process. They’re more likely to be“on board”if they understand how they’re supporting the organization by saving time or money, being inclusive of other learners, or other benefits. Structured environment with clear expectations Set forth a clear agenda. Be sure that even free- form discussion has a clear purpose. More likely to relate to“mechanical”technical than“digital”technical Consider explicit instructions, perhaps in a separate participant guide. Reinforce activity instructions visually (e.g., screenshot on the PowerPoint slide) Conformity, formality Address them respectfully, but facilitate as the “authority.”Avoid situations where they could appear foolish. Public recognition Deliver appropriate, non-patronizing praise for accomplishment Assume they are meeting objectives unless receiving contrary feedback Consider feedback optional, perhaps inviting them to approach you instead of requiring it.
  • 65. Baby Boomer 1946-1964 Values and learning tendencies Virtual classroom strategies Relevance to career goals, training by invitation as a perk Clarify connections between being successful in the virtual classroom with professional growth and value to the/an organization Involvement Ask for input before, during, and after sessions. Invite them to suggest ways to apply the content they’re learning (with you and each other). Optimism, hard work Provide a“map to success”that helps them understand the steps to make the most of learning in a new environment. Deal with challenges (technical or otherwise) as as something to be conquered. “Safe”rather than honest answers, public and peer recognition Be explicit with ground rules for confidentiality, disagreement, and discussion. Include of private chat and/or anonymous forms of feedback. Include enough discussion time to allow for peer feedback and encouragement. Prefer well-documented feedback all at once Use comprehensive virtual classroom reports as foundation for a focused discussion.
  • 66. Gen X 1965-1980 Values and learning tendencies Virtual classroom strategies Training relevant to personal goals, skepticism Connect the value between being successful in the virtual classroom with personal growth. Fun, informality Adapt an icebreaker or game to lighten the mood or create rapport with you and others. Mentoring opportunities Design cohorts or group activities to include peer-to-peer assistance. Recognition from instructor Use the attendee list or other name-indicators to call on students personally Experiential learning, on-the-job training Design real-time or hands-on activities (e.g., role plays) that provide immediate application of knowledge and skills Allowing them to multitask Clarify learning outcomes, but enable enough self-sufficiency to demonstrate trust in them to succeed Prefer regular feedback Design feedback into the agenda/timeline. Provide clarity about when/where that will occur (e.g,. during class, after class).
  • 67. GenY 1981-1999 Values and learning tendencies Virtual classroom strategies Training as a fast track to success, realism Demonstrate value of live, group learning. Avoid lecture of content they could otherwise access on-demand (i.e., on the web). Social and networking opportunities Use public/open chat, perhaps also using Twitter, for live classes. Create a Facebook group for that class. Structured environment with clear expectations Don’t confuse multitasking or social behavior with needing to provide boundaries and a clear finish line Structured assignments with tight deadlines Design shorter, more frequent activities that require bursts of focus Accustomed to on-demand, social and mobile self-learning Design the live, virtual classroom to capitalize on the uniquely live, social elements of your learning program. Pre-record lecture and provide it to them outside the live class. Prefer frequent, on-demand feedback Provide input as you go, perhaps using a blend of tools to ensure appropriateness (e.g., public comment versus private chat)
  • 68. Cambiano, Renee L., Jack B. De Vore, and Rhonda L. Harvey.“Learning Style Preferences of the Cohorts: Generation X, Baby Boomers, and the Silent Generation.”PAACE Journal of Lifelong Learning. (2001). 31-9. http://www.iup.edu/WorkArea/linkit.aspx?LinkIdentifier=id&ItemID=18383. Defense Centers of Excellence.“Generational Learning Styles.”http://www.dcoe.health.mil/ Hansman, Catherine, Kathryn McAttee.“The Multiple Generations in Adult and Higher Education Classrooms: What We Assume, What We Know, What We Can Learn, and What May Be Missing.”2009. http://www.adulterc.org/Proceedings/2009/roundtables/hansman_mcatee.pdf Mackenzie, S.“How Interactive and Collaborative Technology can Enhance Adult Distance Learning -- A Critique of Approaches.”MA thesis, De Montfort University, 2008. http://www.zietraining.com/dissertation/AAA_DissertationFINAL%20%28031008%29.pdf. Populoh, Boris.“Generations X, Y, and Z: What Makes Them Tick?”The Journal of the Household Goods Forwarders Association of America, Inc. (March/April 2008). 6-8. www.iamovers.org/new%20images/.../2008_03_04.pdf. World Economic Forum. Global Population Ageing: Peril or Promise? 2012. http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GAC_GlobalPopulationAgeing_Report_2012.pdf Resources
  • 69. About 1080 Group, LLC 1080 Group, LLC is a training and research firm that helps organizations design and deliver interactive webinar, webcast, and virtual classroom programs. The collective team experience includes hundreds of clients, thousands of web seminars, and more than a million web seminar attendees. Contact 1080 Group at info@1080group.com, +1.503.476.1080, or www.twitter.com/1080Group. Roger Courville’s blog, curriculum vitae, et al can be found at www.thevirtualpresenter.com. Subscribe to 1080 Group’s newsletter and get a free bullets-to-visuals tutorial here: http://bit.ly/cyKZUJ. About GoToTraining Online Training Made Easy. Citrix GoToTraining is an easy-to-use online training service that allows you to move your live instructor-led training programs online for more efficient customer and employee training. Hold unlimited online training sessions with up to 200 attendees from around the world right from your Mac or PC. Reach more learners, collect real-time feedback, record and store your training sessions and more – all while slashing travel costs. To learn more, visit www.gototraining.com.

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