3 Tips for Teaching the Google Generation Skilled Trades

A woman standing in front of a rack of pipes

Today’s students have grown up in an internet-connected world. Technology is a part of their lives, and answers have always been a click away. While that easy access to information may seem like a good thing, it has a downside—youth have gotten so used to Googling quick answers that they often struggle when it is time to learn actual methods and retain information.

A significant ‘thinking gap’ has emerged among younger workers, which is a challenge in the skilled trades where institutional knowledge is essential, and workers must have problem-solving skills and engage in critical thinking. Skilled tradespeople need to be able to rely on their skills, and how they learn is essential to their success.

So, how can you engage these digital natives and give them the skills they need to succeed in a skilled trade? Here are three tips for successfully teaching the Google generation skilled trades.

Lean Into Technology

Students may be over-relying on the internet for a solution, but that doesn’t mean technology is the enemy. Rather than trying to draw students away from technology, consider how to use it to engage them.

Younger generations are already used to tapping into video platforms such as YouTube for learning. You can take that a step further by using immersive learning—an experience that puts the learner into an interactive environment without distractions.

Immersive learning creates fully simulated environments where learners interact with the experience—as close to the “real world” as possible, which gets students’ attention. Immersive learning solutions include 360-degree images and video, scenario-based learning, virtual reality, augmented reality, and 3D simulations.

Provide Interactive Experiences

By making learning more engaging, learners can commit methods used in the field to muscle memory and effectively learn the critical thinking skills needed to troubleshoot or diagnose an issue without using outside aid. 

Simulations can replicate a live working environment, teach troubleshooting scenarios, and allow you to present questions requiring a high level of critical thinking. Immersive learning requires feedback. When students are inside a simulation, they can practice building skills in a guided virtual environment until they have enough confidence to engage in lifelike, unguided scenarios.

Create Customized Learning Paths

Given that today’s youth are the most diverse and technologically connected generation to date, it’s no surprise they’re used to accessing information on demand in the ways that suit them best.

Gen Z, for example, prefers to work independently, even within a group. With the right learning technology, students are going at their own pace, individually. This enables students who excel to move ahead while those who need extra guidance can spend as much time as they’d like reviewing information.

Finding the Right Solution

Engaging the Google generation with immersive, interactive learning experiences is critical to bridging the learning gap. Fully simulated environments allow learners to interact with real-world scenarios that capture their attention and gain the critical thinking they need in the skilled trades. But not all digital learning programs are created equal. You need a program that will not only engage learners but also let them work independently on their customized learning journey.  

At Interplay Learning, we offer online and virtual reality courses for the essential skilled trades that is engaging and effective. Students can learn HVAC, plumbing, electrical, solar, multifamily maintenance, safety, and facilities maintenance. 

By leveraging our immersive technology, learners can train and practice hands-on learning from a desktop, phone, tablet or in virtual reality. We are meeting the Google generation where they are to ensure they can develop the critical thinking and deep-rooted knowledge they need to succeed in the workforce. You can use our 300+ hours of online expert-led instruction and hands-on simulations to supplement your existing curriculum and help students learn skilled trades.

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