Teaching the Millennial Generation

The Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are those who were born between the late 1970s/early 1980s and the early 2000s.  In other words, many of the students that are currently enrolled at La Salle are a part of the Millennial Generation.

Some have observed that this generation has unique characteristics because of the economic, technological, and societal changes that occurred throughout their upbringing. These characteristics include their ability to innovate, their need for high levels of stimulation, and a greater need for affirmation, among others.

I recently came across this 30-minute talk that discusses the research around the learning preferences of this population and how educators can best apply that research to their classes.

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

Here are some of my takeaways from what Dr. Hart shares in the video:

  • It can be helpful to identify and state, “why this matters” at the beginning of class to motivate and “hook” students for the rest of the session. This also helps the instructor focus on the key points of the session.
  • To capture and maintain students’ attention, I like the idea of dividing class sessions up into different 10- to 15-minute segments, which can include any combination of whole class lectures, group work, individual work or reflections, Q&A, or discussions.
  • Students have a preference for hands-on, active work that applies to what they may need beyond the classroom or in real world contexts.
  • It can be valuable to stay in tune with what tends to work (and what doesn’t work) for the students in class (whether that be through informal observations, class discussions, or surveys) to find the instructional methods that will work best for the instructor, the students, and the topics being discussed.

Have you had to develop new strategies or approaches to meet your recent students’ needs? What has worked well?

Email me or leave a comment here if you have your own advice to share about teaching today’s students!