Generation Z is the first authentically digital-native generation. Defined as the generation born between 1997 and 2012, most learners from Generation Z grew up in a world where the internet was well-established. They’ve grown up accustomed to mobile devices and social networks.
“That context has produced a hypercognitive generation very comfortable with collecting and cross-referencing many sources of information and with integrating virtual and offline experiences,” says McKinsey.
The search for truth
McKinsey found that a fundamental principle underpinning Gen Z behaviors is their quest for truth. They are more confrontational and eager to find the one truth – and they sometimes believe they already know the truth before they get started on that quest!
To be fair, students from Gen Z need to be prepared and trained for a world that is changing rapidly. Many will work in jobs that did not exist when they were in school. In some cases, they may really know more than their adult mentors!
This, combined with the context in which they are being raised, means that they’re learning like no one else before them.
Gen Z learning trends
The paper, Educational experiences with Generation Z, points out that while earlier generations found gaming to be a ‘non-value-add play’ element, for Gen Z, gamification and game-based learning is becoming a foundation for engagement. Gen Z no longer avoids failure but embraces it, and predicts uncertainty as a rule rather than an exception.
This fits in with the growing trends for game-based learning, gamification, mistake-based learning and learning in the flow of work. E-learning is the norm rather than the exception, a trend that has only been enhanced by the pandemic.
The knowledge society
Because the new generation will need skills and competencies that are completely different and unpredictable, a social transformation will be required to develop a knowledge society to prepare learners for the future. Universities are using developing technology to accelerate and improve this learning process, using innovative programs.
It’s important for trainers to maintain a sense of flexibility and willingness to change plan, since the situation and learning requirements are changing daily.
In order to empower this kind of transformation into the knowledge society, investment in edtech and other technological resources is key. Tech is often the subject matter of the new material to be imparted, and it’s also the path to imparting it effectively.
Use of technology in learning
Since Gen Z learners are digital natives, they are completely comfortable with any technology used as a medium of instruction in e-learning. That’s great, because there’s a number of ways in which edtech can be used to improve educational outcomes.
Virtual reality technology can help learners in the field of medicine study the human body, digitally yet comprehensively. Simulations can make abstract concepts more real and easier to understand. Branching scenarios can help learners try out reactions to a situation multiple times until they are satisfied with their response. 3D videos can help visualize an item or geography more effectively.
When you approach your learners with strong e-learning strategies, the right usage of edtech, and a willingness to be flexible, Gen Z’s insatiable quest for the truth is invaluable. It’s probably the most exciting trait any learner could bring to the table. Let’s work together to nurture that spirit and get the best out of your youngest learners. Contact our e-learning experts today.