Training is a MAD Market: Millennials, Accountability & Device Consciousness

We are witnessing some incredible trends in history right now. We see history-book-worthy political divisions and alliances, environmental disasters, technological advancements, and culture-shifting paradigm changes in almost every area of life.

The training industry is by no means an exception to this rule. As we’ve seen over the past handful of years, we are right in the middle of some changes that require significant pivoting for many training professionals.

We’ve distilled three of the top trends down to a simple acronym: MAD (Millennials, Accountability & Device Consciousness).


Thought there was hype around Boomers? Get ready, because the buzz is just beginning for the next explosively different generation, and these so-called “no collar workers” are flooding the market fast. In fact, this generation “will make up 50 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2030.”
How Millennials are different when it comes to work:

Tips for trainers:

  • Embrace the entrepreneurial spirit of the generation with opportunities for self-directed talent growth.
  • Present content as a helpful resource, rather than an obligatory requirement (think sharing vs delegation).
  • Introduce socially visible, gamified completion goals for motivation.
  • Ensure training materials are available on every device, especially smartphones and tablets.


Let’s face it: the economy is not as trustworthy as we thought. With larger changes in global stock markets over the past decade than ever before, business leaders have changed their habits, and belts are tightening everywhere. This new normal is now just “normal.”
One of the most disruptive aspects of a twisting, turning economy is a constant microscope on the bottom line. We’ve all seen environments change from whim-based initiatives to Shark Tank-level scrutiny.

Tips for trainers:

  • Align content to corporate goals.
  • Add a level of measurement to your training (time, quizzing, feedback).
  • Engage an executive sponsor to promote training.
  • Implement ongoing evaluation and more advanced content with trainees after initial onboarding.

Device conscious

It is evident that today’s world looks much different than it did 20 years ago, but perhaps the greatest change is the wide acceptance of mobile devices. Although Millennials are using mobile devices more than any generation, all age groups are on the bandwagon. In addition to so many people using mobile devices, there are now more shapes and sizes than ever before and no single screen size has more than 20% market share.
Tips for trainers:

  • Interview trainees to understand what devices are being used (mostly tablet or phone?).
  • Ensure device compatibility when selecting software providers.
  • Design content with multiple devices in mind.
  • Notify trainees that their content is mobile-friendly.

Photo Credit: Giphy

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