7 Reasons Why Baby Boomers Dread Online Training
By Christopher Pappas


Why Baby Boomers Dread Online Training And Tips To Get Them Actively Involved

Baby boomers were born before the information age began, between 1945 and 1964. The percentage of baby boomers in the workplace is expected to drop to 22% by 2020. Baby boomers play a crucial role in your organization. The challenge that many eLearning course designers face is that this generation did not grow up with mobile phones and iPads. Therefore, they aren’t as tech-savvy as Millennials. How do you offer them the personalized online training resources they require so that they don’t feel alienated or disconnected from your online training program? Here are 7 reasons why baby boomers dread online training and some tips to get them actively involved.

1. Use Of Complex Technology
As mentioned earlier, baby boomers did not grow up with technology. This means that you have to keep things simple, personal, and comprehensible when developing online training courses for them. Make it easy to navigate so that they can focus on assimilating the information quickly instead of spending the first 10 minutes trying to familiarize themselves with the controls. The technology you use to build online training courses for this generation should be user-friendly. Also, use text that is easy to read, preferably San Serifs. If you look at people from this generation, you notice a trend of maintaining the same phone for years. This means that when this generation finds a technology that they like and trust, they stick to it. Thus, you need to find an intuitive and reliable LMS so that baby boomers can get used to the system’s features and functions.

2. Failure To Honor Their Experience
This generation has worked for many years. They tend to have more experience compared to younger generations. Their online training needs are therefore different from those of Millennials. That is why generic online training doesn’t work that well for them. Baby boomers don’t need instruction. They need facilitation. eLearning developers must develop online training modules that encourage active participation, discussion, and collaborative teamwork. Most of the time, baby boomers participate in online training because they want to. Many of them are on the brink of retiring. What they seek is not academic merit or career advancement. They seek personal growth. Thus, organizations should give them every opportunity to put their knowledge into practice and focus on their own development.

3. Insufficient Challenges
Baby boomers thrive in challenging situations. They feel uncomfortable staying in the same position for a long time. Every challenge is a growth opportunity for them. How can you bring challenges to baby boomers in online training? Branching scenarios and case studies are an excellent way to test their mettle. Include simulations to allow them to use their knowledge and problem-solving skills to solve real-world problems.

4. Lack Of Personalized Support And Feedback
From a general point of view, baby boomers need more one-on-one assistance than other generations, as many of them are not as familiar with learning technology. Developing online discussions is one way to offer ongoing support. Keep in mind that baby boomers often value positive feedback more than they value monetary incentives. They do not take criticism very well. Even constructive criticism is disappointing for them. Providing personalized eLearning feedback makes baby boomers feel valued and appreciated. Thus, you must put feedback mechanisms in place when developing online training for mature learners.

5. Failure To Ease Them Into Technological Tools
When developing online training courses for baby boomer employees, it is wise to have a support module at the very beginning. Include all the important details that they need to know to allow them to navigate the online training course with ease. If the online training module or activity requires a particular technological device, develop videos to train them on how it is used. Remember to gauge the level of technological friendliness of the baby boomers before developing an online training course. This will help you determine how familiar they are with the LMS platform and whether they can access the online training resources autonomously.

6. Does Not Fit Into Their Busy Schedules
Baby boomers are juggling a variety of obligations. As such, they don’t have time to sit through long online training courses or presentations. Instead, they need quick information that’s timely and targeted to their needs, such as microlearning online training tutorials and infographics that allow them to concentrate on personal areas for improvement and offer on-the-spot performance support. In fact, you may want to incorporate a bite-sized online training repository they can use during their moment of need. Preferably, one that’s divided into skill, task, or topic-based categories for easy access. You can also encourage them to train whenever it’s most convenient by developing personalized training contracts. They simply need to accomplish the goals within a set time frame and can set their own milestones.

7. Lack Of Control
Baby boomers like to have control of the online training process instead of being told how they should gather the necessary information. As such, you should empower mature learners and give them the option to choose their own online training paths. For example, incorporate online course catalogs that allow them to select online training resources that resonate with them. This also helps you overcome the IT hurdle, in that they can opt for online training activities based on their level of tech-savviness. For instance, those who may not be comfortable participating in a fully interactive simulation at the moment can access a more basic online training tutorial.

These are the 7 most common reasons why baby boomers dread online training. When creating an online training course, ensure that you use technologies and online training activities that do not exclude this generation. Avail support tools to them so that they can overcome generational hurdles and maximize the online training benefits.

Baby Boomers make up an ever-increasing percentage of your audience, but what really makes them tick? Read the article 8 Important Characteristics Of Baby Boomers eLearning Professionals Should Know to explore their characteristics before creating your next eLearning course.
About The Author

Christopher Pappas is the Founder of The eLearning Industry’s Network, which is the largest online community of professionals involved in the eLearning Industry. Christopher holds an MBA, and an MEd (Learning Design) from BGSU.

eLearning Blogger | EduTechpreneur | eLearning Analyst | Speaker | Social Media Addict

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