Technology has changed the way the “Millennial Generation” interacts with the world around them. In our last article we talked about how higher education is changing to support the new generation. However, we uncovered that even the best of changes have negative impacts to our children such as poor grammar, spelling, decreased emphasis on formal and business writing, and increased stress caused by an “always online” society. At this point, let us turn our attention to key skills Millennials should fine tune before they go to college…
1. Managing Time and Self Study Skills
Mastery of independent learning and time management are primary keys to the success of new students. Students who want to succeed are required to pursue their learning experience at a steady pace, especially since many classes have “flipped” assigning the lectures for self-study and class room time to “do” the homework in groups. Learners must be prepared to push themselves along in their learning experience. Not reading the materials or waiting to the last minute only set them up for failure; in fact Loble points out that there is a very high percentage of first-time online course takers who fail because of poor time management and the inability to learn on their own.
2. Managing Information and Technology
Millennials feel right at home with computers, smart phones, and social media. What they do not know is how to use these devices for academic purposes. Did you know that not everything on the internet is true? Some web sites say Santa Claus is real. Some say they are not. (I for one wish he was!) Well for academic purposes, these learners much learn to critically think, challenge the sources, look at the content, examine the quality, to discern fact from fiction. Making how we manage the results of technology, the tech. tools, we use, and how we dissect information an invaluable tool to student success.
3. Ability Focus
Studies show that by the age of 20, older generations are able to focus in 20 minutes intervals. This has become a challenge for the Millennials, who are distracted by Tweets, messages, and technology every 3 minutes. An important skill for these learners to master is being able to focus on a task for at least 20 minutes. Higher education is restructuring the way these students are taught to help build learner’s ability to focus. This is being done by “chunking” videos or lectures into short segments and paring them with exercises or quizzes, about every 20 minutes, to reinforce the learning.
Wrapping It Up
With the changes occurring in higher education and our children, we must look at ways to help prepare the Millennial Generation for success. This can be done through encouraging participation in internships, coaching the Millennials in practical problem-solving techniques, encouraging them to choose and play games that integrate technology and strategic thinking, and challenging them to find and test real-life solutions to problems.
It is no longer enough to believe the Millennial Generation will find their own path and gain the skills they need for their future alone without the help of the “older” generation. Rather, we need to help them learn some of the skillsets still critical for a technology driven world. Focus, managing information, technology use, time, and independent learning skills are just some of the “old school” skills we shall transfer to the future…
Want to hear Melissa Loble’s November 11th presentation, “Higher Education Technology Innovations: How to Prepare as a Parent,” for yourself? Click: “Higher Education Tech. Innovations” the Video
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