Dealing with Gen X learners
Who are gen X anyway?
They are often known as the MTV Generation, referring to the famous music channel that changed the music industry. They are all those who were born between the years 1965 to 1980
What are they like?
Having grown up in a declining economy, with both parents working, they tend to be independent and cynical. They place a high value on work-life balance having witnessed how tough it was for their workaholic parents. They work hard to find ways to accomplish success and have more time for leisure. They are generally achievement oriented, enthusiastic, confident, adaptable, entrepreneurial and technologically savvy.
Gen X characteristics related to learning and tips for trainers:
- They genuinely respect trainers who demonstrate expertise and may ask many questions.
- They can process large amounts of data at a time; however they want information presented to them in abbreviated forms such as sound bites and checklists.
- Their motivation to learn comes from the realization that knowledge and skills would increase their professional worth.
- They enjoy learning experiences if it is fun and allows them to experiment; therefore, game activities and role-plays are good strategies
- During training events, they need many opportunities to apply their knowledge and solve problems through group discussion, simulations, case studies,..etc. so program designs must include a variety of learning experiences.
- Don’t forget that this is the MTV generation so do not overlook their need for entertainment and inject competitive games and physical activities.
- They expect high quality materials, including workbooks, manuals, videos and other visual aids.
- Because they like to challenge and be challenged, expect that they will question and demand proof of what’s being said so be sure you have your facts and figures straight to support your messages and explain why a particular skills or piece of information is important.
- They are not big fans of being told what to do, so provide opportunities for them to discover things on their own through structured experiences and self-assessments.