Teaching the Millennial Generation

If you’re an educator, you’ve probably encountered the alien species that was born subsequent to 1980. These Gen Y’s are much decried by those with greyer hair for their lack of attention spans, sense of entitlement and unwilingness to graft.

“The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.”
— attributed to Socrates by Plato.

But, perhaps, this generation of learners are simply most in tune with cutting edge ways of learning, as supported by education research…

Here is a great talk from Danielle Hart, MD from the Department of Emergency Medicine  at Hennepin County Medical Center. She tells us how the so-called ‘Millenial Generation’ learn best and how teachers can maximise their students’ learning by adapting to their needs. If your approach to teaching is centered on passive learning through lectures, then it is time to evolve!

The Millennial Generation & “The Lecture” from Academic Emergency Medicine on Vimeo.

Hat tip to LITFL’s best mate in Cape Town, Sa’ad Lahri.

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  1. True Knowledge says

    I do not believe in categorizing age groups into generations. A “generation” is a social construct, not a natural fact. For example, people are born in a “continuum.” That is, you do not have 50 million babies born from 1900 to 1918, then no births during the next 2 decades, then another 65 million during the following 16 years. Also, in terms of culture, not everyone born in, say, the 1980s and ’90s has the same characteristics. For instance, there are people born during the 1960s who have the latest in technology and are liberal on social issues. Just like there are men and women born during the ’90s who oppose same -- sex marriage, do not have Facebook or a smartphone, and who like the Beatles. This whole idea of saying “generation X or Y was born between this year and that year” is really just a mass -- media and marketing tool, which is why I define a generation as “the attitudes and lifestyle of any given individual.” By the way, I was born in 1979 and consider myself a Millenial because I do not have much in common with Gen X. Like they say, “let people be who they want to be.”

  2. Pamela Willms says

    I think that the Millenials are forcing the nature of how people are educated to change, and that’s agood thing. I was born in 1960 and was a visual learner having to deal with an educational world that didn’t met MY NEEDS for more pictures and less talk. Any exporation of the How We Learn Best and Learning Styles will uncover that it has been know for a surprisingly long time that people learn better in an active learning state. EVERYONE OF ANY AGE, the Educational Leture formate is just now being forced to CHANGE this poor, LOW ORDER LEARNING to HIGHER ORDER LEARNING and that’s a good thing. But I do agree that if you look at any of the lives great thinkers they always had an element of reflection, a time that produced the “out of the box” great ideas. So developing this should be an area of importance.


  1. [...] 23, 2011 By Chris Nickson 5 Comments Print PDF You may have recently seen the LITFL post Teaching the Millenial Generation. This video lecture was an example of an interesting new type of peer-reviewed publication: the [...]