Any millennial who is looking at his or her career options will greatly value the option of learning languages. In these times when monolingualism is a serious disadvantage for any worker, it is essential that companies offer digital and online language courses to attract, retain and develop millennial talent.
Millennials are redefining corporate training, and it is up to Training & Development and HR experts to produce innovative training programs that will satisfy their desire to learn.
The transformation of language training
Foreign languages are often regarded as simply personal skills and are not given any importance, despite being precisely the skill that gains us immediate recognition when we work internationally.
Is our company giving millennials eager to improve their language skills the resources they need? And, if we are already investing in language training, are we making sure that the format is attractive to the modern learner?
Thanks to specialized apps such as Memrise, Babbel and Duolingo, which claim to have 120 million users, learning languages has become an affordable option for everyone.
A transformative communication model that encourages collaborative learning between trainer and student is ideal for online language training. This learning model emphasizes the trainer’s interest in learning from the learners and helps establish clear expectations and assessment tools.
These current models fit perfectly with the way millennials learn, and should be part of any corporate training strategy.
Here are just a few of the reasons why millennials prefer online language training
Millennials are a generation of communication, and many of them choose to communicate through digital channels. The rise of digital tools has changed the way our brains work. Digital natives do not learn in the same way as they did forty or even twenty years ago.
The techniques that were used in the past for worker training and language instruction are unlikely to succeed with the modern learner. A blended or flipped classroom model is more likely to work better.
Technology has given us uninterrupted access to information, and the modern student has a globally universal attitude toward learning. The classroom is no longer the standard model in large global organizations. HR and Training & Development experts are introducing self-regulated learning materials accessed from sector-specific online discussion group portals and user-oriented videos.
In addition to this content, most portals include learning communities that provide practical information and support. This is ideal for millennials, who are not apprehensive about remote learning. And if the package includes video learning, they are even more likely to participate.
It provides a portable and consistent learning experience for all employees, and ensures that everyone receives crucial information in the same way, regardless of who is providing the training. At the same time, it provides a framework for operating and maintaining a quality management system throughout the organization.
Comfort: the place and the time do not matter
Millennials place a high value on convenience and practicality, and learning online offers them flexibility and endless options. The challenge facing many companies today is to offer their workers more flexible contracts that give them the option to work from home while still meeting their training needs.
In addition, today’s meeting culture in organizations has put trainers on edge: How will Training and Development ensure that everyone is properly trained when there never seems to be a gap in the agenda of an entire team or division?
With online training, the learner is not bound to a specific time or place, and the popularity of the flipped classroom is increasing for this very reason. Many millennials are already familiar with this model from their college and university days.
With the existence of training videos and interactive lessons, today traditional classroom training is accessed from home, prior to the online session. The group sessions become the forum where problems are solved, concepts are consolidated and where collaborative learning takes place.
Most importantly, all aspects of training can be rethought to make the most of the most scarce resource: time. Any face-to-face training can be maximized, and the results are amazing, as the millennials see clearly the purpose of investing time in learning.
The gamification of learning makes learning fun and interactive for millennials, who have grown up seeing video games as an integral part of their lives.
Many Millennials enthusiastically welcome the gamification of language training, as they are very receptive to creative learning options tailored to their digital preferences.
Gammatization enhances the student experience while helping workers achieve real, measurable and meaningful goals. A good gamification strategy, with high levels of participation, serves to improve the ability to retain and remember concepts.
A quality grading also helps students to take responsibility for their own learning. Learning becomes visible, and the student has the freedom to make mistakes and try again without fear of negative consequences.
Balance between work and personal life
It is also important to keep in mind that millennials expect more balance between their work and personal lives than previous generations. This is often reflected in the expectation of a flexible response to their needs.
Learning languages online allows them to move forward at their own pace and in the times they choose, integrating learning while on the move, traveling for work or stopping for lunch.
Online language training also takes into account the different rhythms and styles of learning, solving a problem typical of the traditional classroom, where a single approach policy usually prevails.
Learning small amounts of information and using them immediately or, what is the same, micro-learning, is also popular among modern students. It is very effective, as well as being a model of eLearning that is much easier on the millennial brain.
Reaping the rewards of blended language training
Finding new solutions for a mobile workforce is on the agenda of all HR and Training & Development experts, and blended language training is shaping up to be the way forward. Face-to-face training is still a popular option in the world of language training, but experience shows that it is not always sustainable in the long term. A flipped classroom model, with video content and other online materials, will encourage millennials to learn more languages and make good use of their time.
In addition, companies have discovered that online training is a powerful tool to help them improve the ROI of their language training. Today, training and development experts are already aware of the potential of online language training for millennials. The time has come to offer them the gamut and other attractive alternatives to classroom training so that our innovative language training model becomes a competitive advantage.