What are the characteristics of the Baby Boomer generation?
The cohort known as the Baby Boom generation in the USA is comprised of approximately 72 million people. The Baby Boom generation includes people from all walks of life in American society, who were born in the entire spectrum of circumstances found there, who grew up in every conceivable environment, in every type of family and living situation, and at every socioeconomic level in America.
Every trait of humanity is represented in this generation, as well as every value system, philosophy, lifestyle, political stance, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, social attitude, level of success, every level of economic status and legal status, every occupation, every educational level, and so on. Every human aspect that you can identify can be found in this cohort.
The only thing that all members of the Baby Boom generation share are a birth date falling within a certain period commencing with the end of the Second World War and ending at some point within the first half of the 1960s. This is a demographic attribute and not a personal one.
Consequently, there is no subset of human attributes that can be separated out and said to characterize the Baby Boom generation, because they all do. Every human attribute is characteristic of the Baby Boom generation.
If you want to design digital experiences that truly matter, then learning as much as possible about your audience is the first step in the development process. Baby boomers are one of the largest learning generations today, as new retirees leave the workforce and look to take up new skills and online studies.
Baby Boomers are confident, independent, and self-reliant. This generation grew up in an era of reform and believe they can change the world. They questioned established authority systems and challenged the status quo. In the legal workplace, Baby Boomers are not afraid of confrontation and will not hesitate to challenge established practices.
Strong Work Ethic
Baby boomers aren’t afraid to put in a hard day of work. For many of this generation, some of their self-worth comes directly from their professional achievements.
They acknowledge that success comes from dedicating a great deal of time and effort into their careers, which also means that they may find it difficult to find the perfect home-work balance. In terms of designing eLearning experiences for baby boomers, it’s essential to create bite-sized modules that allow learners to cover a particular topic in-depth before moving onto the next.
This generation is independent and self-assured. They were raised during a turbulent time in history, and they were required to take on their fair share of responsibilities in order to fulfill their roles in society. This also means that they aren’t afraid to question authority if they don’t agree with the status quo.
Though they are prone to following the rules of society, they will also voice their opinions if they feel something violates their personal values or perspective.
Baby boomers like competition. One of their biggest motivators is racing to the top of the corporate ladder, or a leaderboard, doing their best to surpass their peers and co-workers. This is why using badges, points, and rankings, is always a good idea when you’re designing for baby boomer audiences. However, bear in mind that they respond more favorably to intrinsic motivation than extrinsic.
This post-war generation is all about goal setting and achievement. They enjoy creating goals for themselves, or even being assigned specific goals to reach. This goes for both their personal and professional lives. As such, it’s wise to include a progression bar or checklist into your eLearning course design, as well as milestones that your learners must meet along the way.
Baby boomers may not be “digital natives”, but technology can still be a valuable learning tool. The key to developing eLearning courses for this generation is respecting their personal experience and making it an integral part of the learning process.
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