We’ve completed the first of three focus groups looking at what Millennials want in eLearning (or just training in general). This is part of our research for our new “Millennial Managers” training library (click here for more info, including how you can help).
In a group exercise we reviewed samples of eLearning courses from 12 different providers, representing several different styles. Some were video based, some were static, some were animated. Some included interaction, most did not.
Along the way our participants were asked to rate each course for effectiveness and engagement, as well as provide feedback on what they liked or did not like about a particular course.
Some of the results were not surprising – courses with high quality video production (ej4) scored very well, while courses with poor quality production did not. Interestingly there were many positive comments about interactivity in general, but many felt the examples of course interactivity slowed the course down too much.
In fact that was one of the major themes of the comments we found – one participant summed it up as “millennials aren’t interested in being paid in money, we want to be paid in time”. Any course that was seen as not respecting the participants time, whether due to pacing, excessive questions, or presenting too much low-level information was likely to score poorly.
Another theme was that participants were more likely to be engaged when the examples shown in the course (video actors, photos, or illustrations) were relatable (e.g. similar to the participant’s age group) and diverse.
From the participants’ workbooks we compiled the following representative responses:
Good adjectives included: “loved the graphics”, “cool”, interesting, professional, pace, entertaining, numbered list, good situations, music & titles, aesthetic, accent, cartoons, voice “now I warmed up to it”, feels like classroom, editing is good, beautiful cinematography, utilizes ‘disgust’ reaction, high quality, engaging, faster cuts, details that aren’t obvious, great piano piece (sarcasm?), information seemed decent, animation is fine, personality comes through, genuine, visually interesting, comical, spoke clearly, consise, love all the mediums, intimate, organic, storytelling, humor, clear presentation, positivity, diverse representation, banjo, interview style, clearly outlined points, sfx, “the office” (style), originality, diverse in gender/race/occupation/lifestyle, “present, followed by open ended ways to demonstrate and utilize information”, “be various in your visual cues”, “quick in edits”, “watch at your own pace”
Negative adjectives included: hard to follow, boring, bad graphics, needed different voiceover, pauses, vague or not helpful, felt like commercial, stock video, looks like it was made in windows movie maker, sneaky captions (?), cheap, doesn’t provide value, slow, “too cute”, “feels like it doesn’t value my time”, too many tips, jarring cuts, weird pauses, distracting breathing, vague questions, not sure how much I’ll remember, dated interface, budget microphone, not making use of visual medium, voice is too soothing, animation can be plodding, visuals are dated, gimmicky start, self-indulgent, passive, no opportunities to teach or test, cannot be relatable to a global audience, robotic, nothing revolutionary, “I would have skipped through it all”, too much content, cannot relate to speaker, not engaging, not usable by management/leadership, hard to have content sink in, “forced fake”, robotic, aged, specific to UK culture, goofy, easy to stop paying attention, too much conflict, wish voiceover could choose what happened next (choose-your-own-adventure), music dated, unclear content, powerpoint, music doesn’t match content, difficult to be attentive, person & setting, too serious, being read to, lazy dialogue for simple concepts, slow moving, 1 person on screen the whole time, needs music, unnecessary info, mean, “interactive but still dumb”, person unrelatable (age), “the speech was so measured”, stock photos, assumes viewers are uneducated.
We have two R&D sessions left with this group before we compile our findings into guidelines for our new Bigger Brains off-the-shelf courses, and while we can’t share all of our findings, we’ll share what we can in a future blog post here.