How the YouTube generation is learning

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Technology already underpins everything from platforms to robo-advice and is constantly evolving to help advisers cater for client needs. At the same time the world outside financial services is increasingly going digital.

Given that the advisers of tomorrow will have their feet planted firmly in the digital world even before they can walk, does the industry need a different approach to learning and development? Should it move away from traditional methods such as textbook learning towards those that may be more suitable for the YouTube generation – or would that be dumbing down?

Generational differences towards learning and development in financial services was one of the themes that emerged from research undertaken over the summer by KnowledgePool, part of Capita Learning Services, around the future of learning and development in financial services.

KnowledgePool strategic learning consultant Rachel Kuftinoff says the research highlights that people of all ages now have different learning and development needs to previous generations. While younger people have been taught to embrace technology early on in their lives, older people have had to learn about smartphones and iPads later in life.

She says: “The reality is that regardless of birth date, almost all adult learners in the workplace have vastly different attitudes and approaches to learning, even compared with 10 years ago. We are all part of a new generation of learners and learning and development needs to keep up.”

So how can we get the ball rolling? Kuftinoff says: “Plenty of people have smartphones – it’s about using what people have got – for example, learning things with an app. It’s not boring and can involve gamification, curated learning and social learning.”

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People often need to be in the right frame of mind to learn and  a dull train journey to see friends at the weekend, for example, could be the perfect time for using a study app on a smartphone.

Kuftinoff says: “Textbook learning is an alien concept to many nowadays, and will only become more so with time. Learners don’t always need pages and pages of Bloom’s Taxonomy learning objectives. Most of us nowadays go to YouTube first if we want to learn how to do something. That’s not dumbing down, it’s just a cleaner and simpler way of achieving that objective.”

New learning methods can bridge the generation gap by taking elements of traditional methods and putting them in a new format with more features. Advisers can already supplement their coursebooks with a range of digital resources, but the learning structure and objectives are still traditional in that advisers are not qualified until they have their certificates at the end.

Kutinoff says: “When you are becoming qualified, about 70 per cent of learning is on the job, 20 per cent is social and 10 per cent is formal learning. Learning is about becoming capable as you are gaining the qualification, not just at the end when you have completed it.

“If we can strip out old, top-heavy concepts such as learner frameworks and drawn-out learner objectives  and focus instead on the learning itself we will create simplicity. There is no point
having an objective if you don’t remember it.”