Approaches in Learning: Differences Across Generations

Generations will always have different learning styles. The introduction to new technology and forms of communication effect the way we learn and adapt in the workplace. With around four generations tackling the workforce at once, the differences in teaching and learning can become challenging. What works for the younger Gen Z will not always work for Gen X, and so on.

What are the differences?

Many generational differences stem from loyalty placement. Baby Boomers and Generation X tend to commit to companies long-term, often tying themselves to their managers or superiors. Millennials and Generation Z, however, tend to gravitate more towards their colleagues, with more investment in equal respect and career growth. On top of that, communication styles vary heavily across the generations. Older employees might favor phone calls and face-to-face interactions, while the younger folks prefer emails. This can sometimes lead to missed information and confusion across teams.

This is not to say, however, that Millennials and Gen Z aren’t interested in learning and growing. It’s just that they rather learn in a more interactive environment, instead of being “thrown to the wolves.” LinkedIn mentions, “Because Millennials value connection — in person or online — they enjoy peer-led training and often want social media elements to be part of their training. They like to learn collaboratively, solve problems as a team, and receive feedback from a teacher. Like Gen Z, Millennials value regular feedback, so it helps to tell them how they’re doing and suggest further learning opportunities.”

There is also a difference in the value of independence. Much of Gen X, which is generally well-versed in tech, prefer to direct their own learning structures and paths. However, Boomers would rather receive additional training, especially if it involves technology and programs of which they don’t have as much experience in.

What actions to take

To be sure that you’re attending to the needs of every generation in your workplace, remember:

  • We don’t all fit into the same size box
  • Always provide purposeful direction
  • Be open to new ideas and forms of communication
  • Determine gaps and misunderstandings as they occur
  • Listen to and value the younger generations
  • Provide different types of training programs
  • Take suggestions from those of all generations

If you’re interested in a collaborative work environment, where all generations of valued and heard, check out the open jobs at Green Key today!

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