Diverse Educational Strategies Enhance Multigenerational Learning in the Classroom and Workplace
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This presentation will examine similarities and differences among generations and how diverse educational strategies can be developed for the multigenerational classroom or workplace. It will also discuss how traditional, interactive, and problem-based intergenerational activities may benefit all participants.
Review of Literature
In the classroom, three generations are often present among the faculty and students; baby boomers, Generation X, and millennials (Generation Y). Although it is important to avoid assumptions about individuals, each group has values and skills which are different. Baby Boomers prefer structured learning. Hard work is the way to earn respect and advancement in the workplace (Gallo, 2011; Gillispie, 2016).
As learners, Generation X want to know the relevance of information and the most efficient way of learning it. They are independent and skeptical. Their respect must be earned (Gallo, 2011; Gillispie, 2016).
Millennials prefer learning with technology to reading from textbooks. They understand the half-life of knowledge is short, and want quick feedback. They learn best in active environments where they can practice what they are learning (Gallo, 2011; Gillispie, 2016).
Educational strategies for multigenerational, multicultural cohorts promote reciprocal exchange of knowledge among participants so they can learn together and from each other. Instructors should explore their own generational identity/awareness and facilitate the same in students to enhance intergenerational communication, respect, learning, decision-making and conflict management (Sánchez & Kaplan, 2014). Content should start simple and build in complexity. Learning activities must be designed for growth in the cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains. Problem-based learning strategies help students translate knowledge into practice and achieve professional clinical competencies (Distler, 2015). Student-centered approaches such as the flipped classroom have shown mostly positive or neutral outcomes compared with traditional approaches (Betihavas, Bridgman, Kornhaber, & Cross, 2016; Gillispie, 2016; Robinson, Scollan-Koliopoulos, Kamienski, & Burke, 2012)
Multiple teaching techniques are essential for successful intergenerational learning: traditional, active, cooperative and collaborative. Lectures and readings may still be appropriate for some content; but podcasts/webcasts, audio books, and e-books are also good options. Low stakes, self-reflection assignments and case-based or literature-based sessions as written assignments or blogs are appropriate for all learners. Attention grabbers such as guest speakers from the field, audience response systems, YouTube videos, Wikis, games, or video vignettes can enhance multigenerational engagement. Harnessing virtual and simulated activities using standardized patients and/or interprofessional teams with peer and faculty feedback together with actual clinical experiences shows promise for successful, competent nursing and advanced practice nursing graduates. We will share our experience utilizing several of the suggested strategies with nurse practitioner and interprofessional health students.
Implications for Practice
Intergenerational differences in learning styles and work styles are present in nearly every professional classroom, preceptorship, and practice. Understanding and appreciating the different attitudes and skills that different generations and professions bring to the relationships can increase student, faculty, and employee confidence and self-efficacy as they learn new skills from each other.