Keeping up with the Millennials
All around the world, companies and governments are starting to wake up to the fact that their populations are getting older.
According to Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures, 2014 was the first time ever in Britain that our population included more people of a pensionable age than children under 16. The ONS produce their forecast every 2 years (the next report is expected Oct/Nov 2016) and the expectations are for the trend towards an ageing population to be confirmed.
For many industries this presents something of a potential crisis. For instance, more than 60% of workers in the construction industry will retire over the next 20 years, quite possibly leaving a shortfall of talent.
How technology can help
Younger generations have an expectation around technology, training and social support that stems not only from their ease when using technology for leisure, but also from the changing methods of teaching within our schools. Study after study shows that young people are entirely comfortable in a digital world – in short, they are fish in a digital sea.
Two expectations are particularly relevant to online learning and training. Firstly, Diana Oblinger, writing for Educause, suggests that young people gravitate towards group activity. They are hyper-connected, in the sense that they use multiple devices and channels to stay in touch with their social circles, and the boundary between online and off is much less clear.
Secondly, they are interested in technology. The range of digital devices the typical teenager and 20-something employee owns continues to grow, and will continue to grow as the Internet of Things reaches maturity. As a result, they quite simply expect “services” to be online and indeed available simultaneously across as many of their devices as possible.
It follows that nurturing employees of today and of tomorrow can be aided with appropriate technology. And yet, the rate of change means that many organisations struggle to keep up. It’s both expensive and resource intensive to keep adapting to new standards, channels and gadgets, so it’s often easiest to maintain the status quo.
In certain cases, this can be sensible. Some technological developments are temporary fads, and I’ve yet to see reports of anybody going out of business for failing to put their marketing budget into Second Life. But this is no reason for complacency – organisations that fail to use technologies that make them more efficient will fail to attract the talent they need to survive.
This is as true of training and development as any other area. Although some training will always happen in the real world and in face-to-face situations, young people assume they will be able to find support online. This may be in the form of plain old content, but it’s increasingly true that learning is social and geared towards peer-to-peer learning, instant feedback and help from tutors, and learning from many different sources (not just the ones provided in the “official” curriculum).
Industry needs to start addressing this issue now, which is why Coracle have been developing their End-to-End Talent Nurturing platform. This is a package of products allowing you to provide a full range of learning and development both online and offline.
- Evaluate learning and training needs
- Design and test new learning programmes
- Organise the assessment process from publication of examination papers to invigilation, marking and certification
- Build and publish courses, then log and analyse learner progress at an individual level
- Intervene and support individual learners
- Assess newly-acquired skills and knowledge using examinations, tests and quizzes
By developing this range of packages, we’re aiming to take the pain out of training and development, and help organisations keep up with the changing attitudes of those entering or about to enter the workforce.
You could say it’s the result of our own social learning, or you might call it crowdsourcing. Years of feedback and listening to the people who use our products have given us a pretty good idea of what organisations need. End-to-End Talent Nurturing is the fruit of many incremental improvements requested by our customers, and as such, the package is already being used by many thousands of learners the world over.