Learning & Teaching Topics
Meeting the Needs of Millennial Generation Students
The Millennial Generation consists of 80-95 million people born between 1982-2002, many of whom are now entering higher education.
Characteristics of “Millennials”:
- Prefer to work and learn in teams; egalitarian.
- Desire specific guidelines, rubrics and requirements. Many have spent a great deal of their childhoods in highly structured activities and environments; they want all parameters set by someone else explicitly stated.
- Thrive on praise; want feedback and reassurance. They believe that more mature adults are truly interested in their success.
- Highly technology-savvy, but while they have come of age with the Internet, they may not know how to use it academically.
- Strong ties to family, parents, and friends (33% of Millennials cite one or both parents as “heroes”). These connections may be related to the phenomenon of overbearing “helicopter parents” who are overly involved in Millennials’ daily lives.
- Value diversity and inclusiveness.
Suggested Teaching Practices to Meet the Needs of the Millennial Generation of Students:
- Help students learn how to assess the credibility of data and critically evaluate information sources (especially Internet sources).
- Utilize collaborative-learning techniques and learning communities where students work together on group projects.
- Create a rapid pace and make the course interactive with visualizations, simulations, games, and role-playing.
- Utilize the strengths of Millennials, including multitasking, technical abilities, and collaboration.
- Take advantage of hands-on, student-centered, active learning approaches, including experiential activities with teamwork, technology, entertainment, and service-learning.
- When possible, allow for “trial-and-error” learning opportunities, where the cost of “failure” is low.
- Utilize new technologies to allow students to turn in assignments in a wide variety of formats, including video documentaries, blogs, or websites.
- Classroom response systems (e.g., ‘clickers’) can provide students with interactive, immediate feedback and also help instructors assess if students are “tuned in”.
- Ask student-focused questions relating course topics to students’ lives, encouraging reflection, comparison, and contrast.
- Reach out to students to help them set realistic goals and provide guidance to reach these goals. Show Millennials that you are interested in getting to know them as whole people, not just students.
- Recognize that students expect instant responses in terms of graded work and responses to e-mails. Clearly communicate expectations regarding e-mail response times and grading turn-around times in order to avoid misunderstandings.
- Provide lots of structure, including rubrics and specific expectations well ahead of time.
Beloit College. (2008). Mindset List, Class of 2012. Retrieved April 2, 2009, from Beloit College Mindset List Web site: http://www.beloit.edu/mindset/
Coates, J. (2007). Generation Y – The Millennial Generation. Retrieved on April 2, 2009, from Honolulu Community College Faculty Development Web site: http://honolulu.hawaii.edu/intranet/committees/FacDevCom/guidebk/teachtip/GenY.htm
ED MAP. (2009). Millennials & Neo-Millennials: The Webinar Series. Retrieved March 15, 2009, from ED MAP Web site: http://www.edmapsolutions.com/IAF/
(Can register for free and view recorded four-part “Webinar” series and slide presentation)
Gloeckler, G. (2008, Nov. 24). Here Come the Millennials. Business Week, 4109, 46-50.
McGlynn, A.P. (2008). Millennials in College: How Do We Motivate Them? The Education Digest, 73(6), 19-22.
Noel-Levitz. (2008). Freshman Attitudes: 2008 National Freshman Attitudes Report. Retrieved April 1, 2009, from Noel-Levitz Web site: https://www.noellevitz.com/Papers+and+Research/Papers+and+Reports/ResearchLibrary/Freshman+Attitudes.htm?utm_source=Freshman%20Attitudes%20Reports%2008&utm_medium=print&utm_campaign=papers
Rickes, P.C. (2009). Make Way for Millennials!: How Today’s Students are Shaping Higher Education Space. Planning for Higher Education, 37(2), 7-17.
Wilson, J.L. (2008). The Millennials: Getting to Know Our Current Generation of Students. MountainRise, the International Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Fall, 1-12. Retrieved on April 2, 2009, from MountainRise Web site: http://mountainrise.wcu.edu/html/Millennials.pdf