Generational Learning Styles and Methods

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You are so Gen X!

At least that’s what some people have remarked (including many people of my parent’s generation). What kind of learner does this make me? I do remember getting lost in the Toronto Science Center as a child, and I do remember loving going to museums where I could touch and play with the exhibits. This may explain my Learning Style characteristics (Kolb): I’m more or less an active experimenter with reflective overtones. These hands-on type museum exhibits were largely a product of efforts to reach out to children during the late seventies and after.

As there are multiple learning styles and each learning style has its preferences when it comes to working and learning, there are different preferences for learning. I created the slide here as part of an educational presentation on addressing the learning needs and preferences of the four main generations in the workforce: Veterans, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millenials (Gen Y and Echo Boomers). The main goal of this slide was to show the spectrum of learning methods and media that all of the current workplace generations and to emphasize the importance of making all of these media available to students when appropriate to the task or content being taught.

Recently a colleague and myself discussed the tendency of most companies to rely on powerpoint as a teaching medium. “It’s easy,” I said, “accessible and anyone can add content. Plus most of the generation in charge or in management is highly familiar with the format.” However, my colleague argued that there are more possibilities for using different media and that there’s the need to engage the younger generations using both media that they are familiar with and styles of learning that they enjoy and do well with.

One Example – Mixing Media and Presentation Styles Using Breeze

Powerpoint presentations alone are great, but they are limited in the sense that they can present mainly conceptual information on a high level. Also to be effectively used as learning materials they require the guidance of instructors. I believe that Powerpoint converted to Breeze and enhanced with Captivate Simulations/Interactivity can provide a more robust alternative to just straight lecture given in Powerpoint. This type of output can be used both as a stand-alone e-learning or within the context of a face to face classroom.

In my upcoming posts I plan to provide an example of this usage of Breeze and Captivate as well as describe how it can be implemented in a corporate learning environment.

Click on the image to view a larger pdf image of this slide



On Kolb’s Learning Styles:

More reading on Generations at Work:


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