Literature review of research in generational differences in learning and whether it matters for instructional design. Overall, the authors conclude that there are some generational differences in the workplace, but that the generalities don’t warrant making assumptions about any particular individual. The current research also doesn’t do enough to account for socioeconomic differences.
George Siemens raises an interesting question–are the differences really in generations or in technology-based experiences? What should our focus as instructional designers be–differentiating learning based on generations, or helping learners prepare for solving problems when the solution isn’t known in advance?
I think, in this instance, the consideration of varied design approaches has been tied to the wrong variable (generational differences). The greater area of change and impact is found in the habits, activities, and needs of learners (not based on generations, but on how technology creates new opportunities for learning networks far beyond the narrow domain of classroom walls).
I’d like to see an instructional design process that attends to the complexity of emergent or unknown processes.