Oct 072015


Employee education is essential to the long-term success of every business. As needs and trends change, training must be in place and adapt to both new and seasoned employees for higher productivity, effectiveness and self-fulfillment.

A clear understanding of how training contributes to employee motivation and business ROI is critical. Training programs are only effective to the extent they align with business strategy and how people learn. So how do you train a widely diverse workforce? The answer may be in the form of the Next Generation Classroom.

The Next Generation Classroom is transforming how companies deliver training. It offers multiple delivery options, leverages technology for robust two-way communication and collaboration, and adapts to a highly mobile workforce. The Next Generation Classroom is a hybrid approach to learning—leveraging live, in-class instruction with the convenience of remote learning. The Next Generation Classroom seems to have it all…but, can it truly appeal to the masses? Let’s take a look at the different learning styles of the generations and how Next Generation Classroom accommodates each.

Gen X and Millennials

For Gen X and Millennials (Gen X: 1965-1980 and Millennial: 1981-2000), online and just-in-time learning has been an integral part of their formal education. Millennials have been schooled in the art of learning by using technology at a very early age. They are used to ‘Googling’ information and instinctively turn to video and other digital content to instantly learn a desired skill. For this group, the smart training center offers the technology, digital content and mobile convenience they feel comfortable with and expect.

Traditionalists and Baby Boomers

For Traditionalists and Baby Boomers, the majority of their educational experience has been in a classroom with a live instructor and books. While this group is familiar with technology, they are not as reliant on it for gathering information and learning. For example, a Traditionalist is more apt to go to the library instead of surf the web to perform research. For Traditionalists and Baby Boomers there may be more of a learning curve adapting to the idea of the Next Generation Classroom. These groups feel more comfortable with the live classroom environment and may feel intimidated when faced with sophisticated digital content, audio and video tools, and online collaboration forums.

The Next Generation Classroom: Bridging the Generational Gap

The key of the Next Generation Classroom is it creates a balance between traditional teaching methods and technology—extracting the best of both worlds to create a rich environment that bridges generations and learning styles. It incorporates cross-over technologies and platforms that appeal to all, while introducing newer forms of communicating and learning to older generations.

The Next Generation Classroom accommodates for individual learning styles. Video conferencing, which is the cornerstone of the hybrid learning environment, provides convenience to remote students who wants to learn in their own space; and at the same time, provides a classroom environment for those who learn better this way. The goal of the Next Generation Classroom is providing a learner-centric environment where all can learn, communicate and collaborate through a multitude of ways: videos, digital content, online groups, social media, gaming, etc.


Achieving Balance in Employee Education

According to Aon One, the best combination of methods for learning are as follows:


  • 70% on-the-job
  • 20% mentorship
  • 10% formal training

In other words, in order to get the greatest ROI from training, a company needs to incorporate on-the-job training, mentorship and formal training in order to achieve the best learning mix. Formal training may be a blend of online, on-demand and traditional—and the Next Generation Classroom adapts to fulfill the formal training requirement in a creative way.

About the author:

Hugh McCullen, president of MicroTek, is responsible for expanding the company’s customer services portfolio and global presence. He strives to position MicroTek as a trusted partner, focusing on providing speed and flexibility for choosing training facilities, meeting and event management to help customers evolve non-core services into strategic assets.

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