This month’s Learning Circuit’s Blog Big Question of the Month is: Do we design learning different for digital natives? My short answer is no, but let me elaborate, as I’ve gone off on this in various places but not here (as far as I can see), and I think there’s something importantly wrong going on here
Let’s start with the hypothesis: that these digital ‘natives’ are fundamentally different than us – they’re immersed in a digital world, are better multi-taskers, and need more immersive and engaging learning environments.
My take is a twist on this. The old ways of learning are wrong for everyone; the instructivist model of tell & test doesn’t work for the new generation any more than it did for the old one! It was designed for industrial efficiency in delivery, and wasn’t worried about effectiveness as it was really a filter to higher-learning for those who *could* learn in this way.
So we do need to do new learning design, immersive and engaging, but for everyone, as it brings in the elements we’ve lost. We used to have apprenticeships, and we’ve gone away from this. We need to get back to contextualized task performance with learning layered on, for everyone! No wasted time, no dull and plodding content push, but instead meaningful action and appropriate information nuggets.
Look, the differences in this new generation are more attitudinal than mental skill set. Ask any mother about multi-tasking! It’s not about catering to them, it’s about the best learning for everyone.