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Educating Gen-Y

mobile-phone-studentsforweb.jpgDo different generations have different learning styles? And should universities be changing to meet the needs of Gen-Y?

Baby boomers (1946-1964) prefer face-to-face delivery of learning materials. Gen X (1965-1979) prefer independence and Gen Y (1980-1996) want communication and interaction. At least that’s the claim.

Gen Y (also known as the Net Generation, Millenials, iGen, or digital natives) have grown up in a world of digital communication. Mobiles, laptops, PDAs, instant messages, blogs, wikis, chatrooms and podcasts are supposed to be all second nature to this digital generation.

Going along with 24/7 ‘connectedness’ is a change in learning styles with an emphasis on learning by interacting virtually with others. Going to lectures is less important than being able to access a podcast (and being able to hold down a job!!). The learning style of the digital native has been described as a ‘bricolage’ an assemblage of a bit of this and a bit of that.

So what do you think? Does Gen-Y have different learning needs and if so what are they??

The study referred to in this blog is Hartman et al 2005 Preparing the academy of today for the learner of tomorrow. Available online www.educause.edu/educatingthenetgen

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