The purpose of this paper is to discuss potential challenges learners from different generations may have with current instructional methods using educational technologies in the classroom. The authors hope to create awareness to help improve equity in learning opportunities and assist educators in understanding the needs of multigenerational classrooms.
In a narrative review of the literature, the authors present the current findings of the literature on generations in higher education and concerns for equity in learning opportunities.
It is commonplace in undergraduate programs for learners of multiple generations to attend classes together and research has shown that historical context and generational experiences affect the values, attitudes and learning preferences of each generation. Therefore, higher education institutions should be aware of the demographic profile of their students, as well as the external populations from which they may recruit students, to ensure they are cognizant of the needs of these populations and can provide equality in learning opportunities.
To assist with the needs of this changing student population, university leaders must consider generational characteristics to ensure equity in learning opportunity. Specifically, university leaders and educators in the classrooms will need to adapt and adjust for a changing student population providing instruction that meets the needs of multiple generations of learners, often within one classroom.
Often when we think of diversity in the classroom we think of age, gender, race or even culture. Today we must add diversity in generations. Unlike other equity issues in education such as access (McLaughlin, 2010), educators may not be considering the equity in the design of their instruction to provide equitable learning experiences based on a learners’ knowledge and skills established by their experiences with technology. The lack of knowledge and skills a learner has with technology based on their experiences may create barriers to their ability to understand and complete instructional content involving technology (Wager, 2005). To ensure all learners can be successful, educators should strive to provide equality in learning opportunities when designing instruction including technology.
Lowell, V. and Morris Jr, J. (2019), "Multigenerational classrooms in higher education: equity and learning with technology", International Journal of Information and Learning Technology, Vol. 36 No. 2, pp. 78-93. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJILT-06-2018-0068Download as .RIS
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