What’s So Different About Gen Y?
For those of us who have been doing this “teaching/training” thing for awhile, we often seem to base it on “Well, if learning a certain way works for me, it should work for others.” Maybe that’s the case; but, then again, maybe not. If a particular strategy works for us when we learn something new (example: being lectured to), then others should be able to learn just fine when we lecture to them. And perhaps some people do. But a lot of people don’t. Couple that with the explosion of technology – and all the ways of learning that are now available online – and we are finding that we have to change our ways of teaching/training to accommodate the upcoming learners who are now in our educational and corporate learning environments. Enter Gen Y!
I found an excellent, short introduction to Gen Y, and how they learn. Thought-provoking and image-rich, this slide presentation really applies to the learning being done by all of us now: multi-media, connected and networked, just-in-time, informal, collaborative, challenging, and relevant to our jobs and/or our lives.
For Gen X-ers, Gen Y-ers, and Millennials, the learning elements listed above are even more important. The jobs they get will be largely based on some form of technology, and using technology to learn from is second nature to them. That doesn’t mean that classroom instruction is going the way of the dodo bird (although certainly the straight-lecture format of most formal learning IS outdated, antiquated, and irrelevant to most learners today). It simply means that the more ways learners have of accessing relevant information, and the more engaged they are in the learning process, the better they will learn.