Hey what’s your opinion about millennials? I just put my headphone down and turned back from my seat in the cab to see,  if the question was directed at me but it was just a conversation between two of my co-passengers. While, I just threw a fleeting glance at the guy who had asked this question, I saw him holding the newspaper with an article about the “millennials” and so I knew what drove his curiosity.The other gentleman replied – Millennials,“ they are just a young bunch of people who are glued to the smartphone everytime, everyday and no matter at any place.”

It was a dangerous statement and I immediately pushed my phone into my pocket. That got me thinking why this hype around millennials, a section of people who were born between 1980s -2000. I did some quick google search to find out about them and came across some interesting facts which I will like to share with you:


1.Millennials have an estimated purchasing power of more than $200 billion and are likely to constitute one-third of the global workforce by 2020. There are other research reports which says that the millennials don’t have brand loyalty and they keep changing their brand preference.

2.A surprising statistics from last year found that Millennials check their phone 150 times per day.

3.Half of the Millennial generation watches multimedia content on smart TVs, mobile devices, PCs, or gaming consoles.

4.Ninety percent of Millennials have a smartphone—most of whom (93%) use it to access the Internet—and 53% own tablets.

With millennials forming a lion’s share of workforce, can we as e-learning developers, designers and the community as a whole afford to disregard millennials and their preferences. The answer is but obvious-NO!

So now let me come to the crux of the matter, what are those top design trends which can appeal to millennials. But before I get into the trends, let me summarise my observations about how millennials behave and how the world perceives their behaviour:

Millennials desire speed, ease and efficiency when it comes to seeking information– They are not ready to wait long to seek information as they might immediately jump to other sources.

Social media is used as an outlet to express opinions– This is evident from the brand engagement efforts made by companies like Facebook, Coke, Oreo etc  Millennials write their opinion, reviews etc about the brand and engage with the brand on social media. The identity of a brand in the social media is very important for the millenials.

High expectations for a seamless user experience: Millennials don’t like complexities and they are very touchy about user experience.

I am sure by now, you must have developed deep insights into millennial behaviour and now equipped with this knowledge let’s get down to e-learning design trends for millennials.

Minimalistic

The first design trend is be minimalistic. Millennials likes simplicity, authenticity, naturalness, honesty and relevance. Brands across the world are once again going back to the minimal designs to engage the millennials.
Famous brands like Apple, Google(Homepage and Logo) are the best examples for simple and minimalistic design.

(Source:Google homepage)

As e-learning designers and developers, try and use minimalistic designs (like a simple yet powerful image to denote subject matter content or a simple icon), which is anyways a demand of responsive design.

Personalization

I am sure that you would have definitely noticed the section in Amazon app which says about “recommendations for you”. These are shown after studying the purchase and browsing history on Amazon. This creates a personalised feel for the user, especially for the millennials who don’t prefer information overload and always prefer contents that are personalised for them.

While designing e-learning for millennials, make them feel as if they are in control of their learning by using non linear content, option to skip certain content, download additional information etc. Give them the freedom to choose their learning path by the use of branched scenarios. Personalization of e-learning experience, will definitely make your millennial workforce feel connected with it.

(Source :https://www.pinterest.com)

Self service

In self-service, a user performs activities in physical and online environments that were previously a seller’s responsibility. For example,the kiosk systems for ordering food in big restaurants,  where the customer himself can place his order at his convenience.
With such designs the millennials are able to get what they want very quickly without any interference.

e-learning design self service can be equated with interactivity and the freedom to make choices during the e-learning course.  Like personalization this is also driven by navigation, branched scenarios, downloadable content, ability to share it on social media etc.


(source:http://adage.com)

Storytelling

Stories are not dead and are preferred by millennials. Brands especially the established and large ones use the mode of telling their heritage with a story design approach. The brands are trying to establish an emotional connect and trust with the millenials by narrating the story either about their journey or a social cause.

Story mode are also used when the brands are creating a campaign etc . Below is the screenshot from Nike campaign for Equality .

(source:equality.nike.com)

Again storytelling is not a new element in e-learning design but stories about a cause, social responsibility reverberates well with millennials. So the next time you design an e-learning for millennials weave a story around a social cause and see if it engages your millennial workforce.

While creating an e-learning design, which appeals to millennials might not be easy, but the design fundamentals tell you that you should know your audience before designing for them. The same principle applies here, focus on millennial behaviour and give them a design experience, which they connect with. I am sure they will love your e-learning, if you design with them as the centre.