Why Story Lessons Are the Most Engaging Learning for Millennials – Tip #174

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As a child, you probably had a grandmother who told you stories. How did she captivate you with her tales?

Now, think about your social media habits. You’ve probably shared a cool pic or an interesting article recently. You might also have liked and commented on your friend’s social media posts.

Both of these scenarios depict storytelling, albeit in different modes.

Our grandmother’s storytelling is quite different from how we tell our stories today. In a world connected by the internet, storytelling is happening at an accelerated rate, thanks mostly to social media networks, which have made it easier for us to share stories.

In what forms are stories shared?

Stories in social media come in a variety of formats.

Text (e.g., posts and image captions)
Photos and albums
Videos (livestream, GIFs, etc.)
Snapchat Stories, Instagram Stories, YouTube Reels, and other story formats
and more…

What does this mean to learning and training?

Millennials, or those born after 1982, will compose 75 percent of the workforce by 2030, according  to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. They are a generation that’s used to the internet-digital natives who are always connected anywhere, anytime.


Phones and other mobile devices have become the millennials’ primary tools for connecting and collaborating with peers and others. The key thing to remember is that if your learning and training design does not include a way for learners to collaborate or exchange ideas pre-, post- or during learning, you may not be providing them new opportunities and skills for learning.

Consider integrating communication and collaboration tools into millennial training and development. Try to incorporate tools they’re already using, like Slack and Facebook, or something similar.

Knowledge network

Knowledge flows rather than knowledge stocks will provide organizations with the strategic advantage. According to John Hagel, “Finding ways to connect with people and institutions possessing new knowledge becomes increasingly important.” So, take advantage of the opportunity to use this flow of network and sources of knowledge as a medium, rather than relying on instruction-type training (e.g., classroom).

Story sharing

There’s an interesting finding in The Deloitte Millennial Survey 2016. According to the study, personal values/morals have the greatest influence on decisions of millennials, who value and prioritize sense of purpose rather than the growth or profit of an organization. These study results tell us that the lessons we share in training and development must not only align with company vision but also with the millennials’ personal values.

And, with story sharing being more powerful today in learning than in formal training, let us encourage and enable learners to ask questions and share what they know.

How will you leverage these learnings? Tell me in the comments below.


Alastair Mitchell, Huddle.com. The Rise of the Millennial Workforce. Wired, August 2013
John Hagel. Defining the Big Shift. August 2, 2009
Deloitte. Values do not change for Millennials as they progress professionally: The Deloitte Millennial Survey 2016
Tip #75 – Insight Sharing – How They “Meet and Mate”
Tip #111 – Why Stories Drive Social Learning

Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
“Helping Learners Learn Their Way”