How to Engage Your Mature-Age Workforce with eLearning

Diverse group of employees discussing eLearning

“Learning is an ornament in prosperity, a refuge in adversity, and a provision in old age.” 
― Aristotle

As the philosopher implies, learning is not just for the young. Yet the mature generation of workers can sometimes be forgotten when we look at how learning and learning technology benefits employees.

It’s not hard to find advice about how to attract and retain millennial workers – eLearning, flexible work hours, travel opportunities...but what about the mature-age workforce?

ECOYA HR and Safety Manager Liza Jones says eLearning is a fantastic way to address the “de-skilling” that can occur if a mature-age worker is in the same role for an extended period of time. She takes a supportive approach to introducing eLearning to all staff, and she’s found great success in it.

As HR people we need to be thinking about how we bring our older workforce and millennials together. Some older workers may have allowed themselves to be de-skilled and this [eLearning] in a basic way is teaching them to work in a modern workforce that it doesn't have to be as daunting as it seems,” Liza says. 

“It's not there to trick them. It's just about having them familiar with what you're trying to achieve in the business.” 

Some recent studies show one way to actually re-engage mature-age workers is to introduce “high-performance practices” focusing on training employees and rewarding them for their good performance. eLearning provides an effective way of implementing this type of re-engagement strategy.

Other studies have shown that eLearning can help improve mature-age workers’ confidence – even if they have limited technology skills.

What can you do?

Focus on the benefits, not the difficulties

Mindset and attitude are extremely important when you’re presenting eLearning to your mature-age workforce for the first time. Although it’s important to talk about how eLearning will make your organisation more successful, it’s just as important to show how it will benefit the workforce. You could talk about the benefits for employees in updating their skills – such as feeling more confident, capable and satisfied in their roles. Some organisations offer incentives or rewards for employees who up-skill, which will provide additional benefits. As long as you focus on the positives – both for the business and your employees – you will ensure your eLearning project succeeds.

Make sure the first experience is a good one

Regardless of an employee’s technical skills, if their first encounter with eLearning is negative, they will be unlikely to view it as a valuable method of learning. Although you can’t control how your employees respond to their first eLearning experience, there are a few things you can do to make it easier for them. Setting aside time to demonstrate your eLearning courses to mature-age workers – either one-on-one or in small groups – can help to demystify eLearning and familiarise workers with how to navigate the courses. It will also help them to feel more comfortable about tackling eLearning on their own later on. Make sure you choose a time that suits both you and your employees, allowing plenty of time for answering questions and addressing concerns. The good news is that mature-age workers value self-paced learning, so with a supportive introduction you can help ensure the success of your eLearning project.

Support your employees on their journey 

It’s also important to continue to support your employees on their eLearning journey beyond the initial introduction. Be available for questions and make time to chat to your employees about the eLearning courses they are undertaking. Liza from ECOYA says she calms any nervous employees by reassuring them it’s not as difficult as it seems: “I just explain that it's a matter of reading the material and answering very basic questions just to make sure they’re across what the content is all about.”

You can also continue to promote the benefits of eLearning – both for the business and employees – through your company culture and communications. Keeping people motivated will ensure they stay engaged and enthusiastic about eLearning – and about their jobs!

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