If Millennials Invented Training, Here’s What It Might Look Like

Imagine if a group of millennials had been given the task of inventing some means of accelerating learning in the organization. What would they create? How much would it look like the training we know?

It’s pretty easy to guess at the answer. The learning would be delivered via smartphone; it would be delivered in short chunks; a lot would be video; it would probably be gamified; it would deploy user-created content (e.g. someone creating their own YouTube video) or user-curated content (users sharing / ranking / liking learning content they found helpful). If you gave them a decent budget they’d almost certainly want to do “neuro-something or other” to optimize learning.

I spoke to Carol Leaman, CEO of Axonify and this is pretty much exactly what Axonify has done. All these things we talk about as being the future of learning are already here. It makes me wonder if we are hanging on too hard to our legacy approaches. We’ve invested so much in old systems that we’re only slowly adding on things like mobile access or gamification or a design based on findings from neuroscience. Maybe it’s time to start with a fresh sheet of paper and re-build learning so that we’re using a system that looks like it was invented by a millennial.

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What is interesting?

  • Things are really coming together in the learning technology world; all the things a millennial would wish for (or more likely would assume already exist) are becoming relatively easy to implement. A learning professional can have a lot of fun with these new approaches.

What is really important?

  • Essentially all the new platforms are SaaS which means they’re affordable even for small companies.
  • Retail has always had a big problem with learning because it hates taking associates off the floor to take a course (even if it’s just for 30 minutes). The three-minute chunks in the Axonify-style approach solve that problem. Even in a busy store, managers can allow staff 3-minute learning breaks.

Note to my readers: I’m always interested in innovative firms that signal where HR is heading. I love these firms that are striving to make a difference, but a mention does not necessarily mean they’ll be right for you.

David Creelman, CEO of Creelman Research, is a globally recognized thinker on people analytics and talent management. Some of his more interesting projects included:

  • Conducted workshops around the world on the practical aspects of people analytics
  • Took business leaders from Japan’s Recruit Co. on a tour of US tech companies (Recruit eventually bought Indeed.com for $1 billion)
  • Studied the relationship between Boards and HR (won Walker Award)
  • Spoke at the World Bank in Paris on HR reporting
  • Co-authored Lead the Work: Navigating a world beyond employment with John Boudreau and Ravin Jesuthasan. The book was endorsed by the CHROs of IBM, LinkedIn and Starbucks.
  • Worked with Dr. Wanda Wallace on “Leading when you are not the expert” which topped the “Most Popular List” on the Harvard Business Review’s blog.
  • Worked with Dr. Henry Mintzberg on peer coaching, David’s learning modules are among the most popular topics.

Currently David is helping organizations to get on-track with people analytics.

This work led to him being made a Fellow for the Centre of Evidence-based Management (Netherlands) for his contributions to the field.



1 Comment on “If Millennials Invented Training, Here’s What It Might Look Like

  1. Other options I’d like to put out there for managing
    and optimizing training are no code Quick Base apps. They’re easy to build and have
    simplified every aspect of organization for us – from identifying who needs
    what kind of training or certification to assigning educators. We can also set
    up automated alerts for upcoming events, get notifications on attendance…and monitor
    feedback to continually gauge and improve our training curriculum.

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