Maturity reveals how different ages learn

by L&D11 Nov 2016
A new study shows the ways in which employees across all ages prefer to learn in the workplace, Military technologies reports.

Towards Maturity’s report – titled: The Learner Voice: Part 3 – looks at data from over 4,700 employees across all ages about how they liked to learn at work.

The study showed that while many expect millennials joining the workforce to have different expectations from their peers, their responses reflected those of the wider workforce rather than breaking away from them.

“The findings suggest that there is much in common in terms of how people of different ages want to learn and what motivates them to learn. All age groups are motivated to learn in order to do their job better,” the article stated.

“Although there are some slight differences between the ages, all employees also want their manager’s encouragement and support to learn.”

Laura Overton, Towards Maturity founder and CEO, told Military technologies that much is made of generational differences in learning, but her research challenges this.

“Millennial needs are the needs of all generations. The bigger differences in learning approaches are more likely to appear across roles or time in role,” she said.

“Understanding how staff learn in these contexts helps to completely redefine our approach to leadership training, sales training and onboarding.”

Contrary to popular opinion, the report shows that younger staff need more encouragement in using online learning, with 60% keen to be recognised for completing online learning and 38% saying line manager support influences their involvement.

How employees of all ages prefer to learn in social settings:
  • 86% said collaboration with team members
  • 82% said general conversation and meetings
  • 58% said via support from a coach or mentor
Accessing support in the workplace is also important.
  • 78% rated manager support as essential or very useful
  • 70% said Google was an important resource
  • 57% cited classroom courses for formal learning were useful
  • 47% found self-paced e-learning to be useful
  • 39% said live online courses were useful
*Surprisingly, just one-in-four under 30s believe that games and simulations were very useful for learning.

Employees like to be in charge of how they learn.
  • 91% want to learn at their own pace
  • 82% know what they need to learn in order to do their job.
  • 80% are willing to share what they know with peers.
In a wake-up call to learning professionals:
  • 35% say uninspiring learning content is the number one barrier to online learning
  • 34% lack somewhere appropriate to study
  • 33% say they have poor ICT access
  • 26% are not able to find what they need
  • 78% of employees say support from managers is essential for learning what they need to know
  • 26% of L&D teams help line managers support their team with learning.