E Learning

Virtual teaching for the millennial generation, challenges and opportunities

Being part of the “Millennial generation” today is a challenge, but also an opportunity. This is due to the diverse and multiple options available to them, both for their academic and professional training. Coupled with a demanding training that responds to the constant changes of the working world in which they find themselves.

This is how virtual teaching becomes for Millennials, as the generation born between 1980 and 2000 is commonly known, a dynamic option for their learning and with flexible time management that fits perfectly to their needs.

Getting to know the “millennial generation”, the digital natives of the 21st century

A recurring piece of advice when being a virtual tutor is “know your audience”. In this case, it is extremely important to know your “millennial audience” and its main characteristics. Why?

In 2016, the Ibero-American Youth Organization (OIJ) counted more than 157 million Millennials in Latin America.

Millennials have been the first generation to grow up with digital media. Some features of this generation are:

Young people influenced by a culture of the immediate, which marks their lifestyle and consumption.

They were born in a social context with technological and communication means at their fingertips and that are part of their lives.

They look for the fastest path to success and immediate gratification.
They are intuitive and creative young people.

Due to these characteristics, many of them reach ventures in different fields, developing more of an entrepreneurial profile than an employee.

In terms of learning, this generation also shows some characteristics:

  1. They are more demanding and selective with both learning and methodologies. The elements that identify your process at the time of learning are:
  2. They apply more self-teaching: They have an “innate” ability to establish and organize their own learning without the mediation of a tutor. They are young people who learn on their own, using different resources such as a search engine, a blog or watching a tutorial.
  3. Marked preference for learning through digital media: the “omniscient” presence of the Internet everywhere and at all times allows them to be connected all the time. Learning is no longer limited only to the classroom, space-time barriers no longer exist.
  4. They like to learn in gamificationenvironments : video games have evolved through the different platforms, in addition, Millennials have grown up with them, this enhances the use of this resource in education and makes it possible for Millennials to connect and learn to through: simulations, recreating and building real world processes, problem solving, etc., in an interactive way.

Many Millennials also opt for collaboration, feedback, technology and mentorship in the educational spaces in which they participate . This increases the interest of many young people in online training.

Challenges and opportunities of virtual teaching for Millennials

A great opportunity regarding the Millennial generation is that they prefer to consume digital content. The design and delivery of content must engage the Millennial student, if you know how they think and what they expect, you can create a course that responds to their objectives.

Other opportunities offered by virtual teaching that are very useful for a Millennial audience are:

Agility, speed and immediacy: their connectivity facilitates quick and intuitive access to the information they require for learning.

Experiential learning: they adapt well to the diversity of application of content and tools, turning training into a dynamic, open and entertaining experience.

Collaborative learning: allows them to strengthen the sense of commitment to the work group and be receptive to opinions.

Flexibility: they value and adapt better when they have the opportunity to progress in learning, choosing when and how.

Mobility: they are very easy to access the course from any device, easily, quickly and safely.

However, there are also challenges. Although these can be considered as an area for improvement that you can take into account when designing your virtual courses:

They have little interaction between classmates : So you could promote exchange between students, with activities where they must have some contact with their classmates, even better if they are of other nationalities or geographical locations. This exchange will allow young Millennials to share with people who have similar lifestyles but with other visions of the world.

They may have a weak approach to reality : To reinforce this theme, you can include everyday topics in your activities, Millennials know what they want and expect, so do not entertain yourself with “filler” content. Provide them with scenarios that can be presented in their jobs or profession.

They reject the content in volume : Provide the necessary information, in a way that keeps them motivated and engaged. When designing your courses, think about these 3 factors: productive content, well-evaluated topics and meaningful learning for the day-to-day life of the Millennial student-worker.

They may demonstrate short attention span: Due to their constant exposure to large amounts of information and attention to multi-tasking, their attention span may be shortened. On that account, they prefer visual, interactive and multimedia content, so you can take advantage of this, creating “high impact” content with a maximum time of 5 minutes including resources or elements that satisfy their “visual demand”.

You already know, if you teach or create a virtual course where your target audience are students belonging to the Millennial generation, you must keep in mind that they have very specific expectations and learning preferences, and that it is necessary to think “outside the box” to get better results.

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