First of all, for everybody who thinks that digital natives exist, do read this. But the real question is if different generations need different forms of instructional design. Many people do think this is the case, but what does research says?
Jeroen Janssen (@J3ro3J) tweeted this review by professor Thomas Reeves yesterday and although there are differences, the need for different approaches is not that certain to say the least.
From the conclusion:
“Although there are certainly many doubters, the consensus of scholarship and opinion is that there are generalizable generational differences that are worth taking into consideration in the “knowledge worker” or professional workplace and other contexts such as higher education. For example, there are differences with respect to attitudes, work habits, and motivators that anyone managing cross-generational teams should understand. Managers and workers should also be aware that generational differences in attitudes toward the balance between work and other parts of life such as family may vary to some degree by gender. However, it is definitely not recommended to make assumptions about any one individual, regardless of gender or other factors, based upon his/her membership in a chronological generational cohort.”
“The major question addressed in this review is whether generational difference is a variable important enough to be considered during the design of instruction or the use of different educational technologies. At this time, the weight of the evidence is negative. Generational differences are evident in the workplace, but they are not salient enough to warrant the specification of different instructional designs or the use of different learning technologies.”
Still the authors keep a door open:
“That said, there are some intriguing areas for further research, especially with respect to the design and use of interactive games and simulations.”