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What do Gen Z’ers really want from learning?

Lessons L&D can learn from the smartphone generation.

Helen Marshall Chief Learning Officer

What do Gen Z’ers really want from learning?

While putting nearly a fifth of the population in the same box is far from ideal, we do know one thing for certain: Gen Z hasn't known a world without the internet. 

Those born between the mid-90s and 2000 are entering the workforce not just tech-savvy, but born and raised surrounded by all things digital. This brings with it a host of challenges and opportunities for L&D to keep up with.

So what lessons can L&D learn from Gen Z?

Microlearning is the way forward

News through push notifications. Opinions in 280 characters or less. Updates through Instagram stories and learning from TikTok. There's an awful lot of digital content being consumed by Gen Z, and it's all happening little and often. 

Lesson #1: Make your content clear, concise and intentional. Strip the fluff out of your content and focus on what's actually practical. When the length of the resource matters, words are expensive - especially in video. Quality over quantity.

Learning at the point of need

With a phone in their hands and Google at their disposal, Gen Z learners have always had the ability to find answers to their questions in a few clicks. Allow this experience in your workplace learning platform and that's half the battle won.

The beauty of carefully chunking up your content in a considered way means you can tap into arguably the most motivational driver behind learning: necessity. 

Lesson #2: Support learning at the point of need. Intentionally breaking big topics down into multiple resources is a good place to start. Ideally, each topic would be searchable on your learning platform and available at the point of need.

A picture paints a thousand words

Instagram. YouTube. Snapchat. TikTok. Twitter. These are five of the most popular places Gen Z can be found online. The fact they're all highly visual, photo and video-based platforms can't be a coincidence… can it? 

Lesson #3: Visual design matters. Create content that feels similar to what people would actually choose to look at outside of work. We believe editorial designs, sleek interfaces and high-impact video have a place in elearning. 

Learning is better when done together

What's another thing all of those social media platforms have in common? The clue's in the name: they're social. They let people communicate and learn from each other in an authentic, human and personal way.

Lesson #4: Champion user generated content. Encourage your team to share the knowledge that's in their heads with each other. Content doesn't always have to be super highly polished; a 'top tips' video filmed on a phone can be hugely valuable if it's packed full of useful and relevant content. (#60secondscoop)

Activities and gratification

As well-structured as it might be, there's not a whole lot that's engaging about a 40 minute elearning module where all you can do is 'click next to continue'. 

So let's take a leaf out of Gen Z's book. They're natural information seekers, resourceful and willing to go looking for what they need. Remember, this is the generation that has grown up with YouTube and Wikipedia as teachers.

Lesson #5: Give people a say in their own learning. Autonomy and flexibility matter. On a platform like THRIVE Learning & Skills Platform, you can build pathways and campaigns to deliver learning content in a recommended journey. But if someone wants to skip one thing, move onto another and come back later, they can do that.

Want to learn more about what's possible when you embrace forward-thinking technology to engage your learners? Book a THRIVE Learning & Skills Platform demo today.

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