How in the world can two learners have such divergent reactions to the same learning experience? How could one person love a creative activity and another say it was a waste of time? Or one rave that the facilitator was an enthralling savant and another say the same facilitator was boring? One explanation is that generational differences in the classroom create differing preferences and expectations among learners.
Often when we think about diversity in the classroom we consider dimensions like gender, race, and culture. In this speech, I address how our cultural origin and upbringing influences classroom expectations, behavior, and experiences.
In other words, where and how learners were raised and educated affects how they perceive and engage in formal learning as adults. Likewise, where learners grew up and went to school greatly influences their perspectives on learning. Given the historic generational diversity in today’s workplace, we must move beyond the way each of us was personally educated and accommodate the full spectrum of generational differences in today’s training classrooms and in higher education.
Our training classrooms are more generationally diverse than ever before, and each generation has its own unique perspectives and preferences regarding learning. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to accommodate all those preferences, but if we employ sound instructional methodologies, a variety of modalities, and solid facilitation techniques, we can overcome fundamental generational differences and provide learning experiences that engage and benefit everyone.