Tonia writes about a the digital/native immigrant concept and suggests we should speak more in terms of digital maturity. Her thoughts arise out of frustration around the rate of adaptation of various age groups. She asks, “is this concept of natives and immigrants absurd or just a [too] broad generalization?” My take is that partitioning people is like one-size fits all shirt – it fits no one. However, I am glad that I can claim maturity in at least one area of my life. ; )
More on generational learning and design…
Sarah Boehle interviewed David Blair, Aetna’s learning head of curriculum design, about their study of five generational groups (Silent Generation, ages 62-77; Baby Boomers, ages 52-61; Late Baby Boomers, ages 43-51; Generation X, ages 31-42; and Generation Y, ages 18-30) and their reactions to training. Blair noted that most training designers at Aetna are Baby Boomers (so training seemed to reflect that groups experiences). Changes they made to appeal to a multi-generational mix of employees included more games, simulations, performance support tools, choices, stories as objectives, and the use of Thiagi Group’s Four-Door approach to e-learning (registration required). See Blair’s tips for designing their courses with multiple generations in mind at the end of the article.
And another take on generational issues comes from Sarah White who surveyed ( I can’t see the sample size and suspect it’s just an informal survey) 26-30 year olds in healthcare, manufacturing, consulting, and they service industry (small business and mid size) and concluded
“1/3 of the boomers seem to be checked out and coasting through until retirement, 1/3 seem to be putting in the effort and continuing on like they aren’t retiring in the next 10 years, and 1/3 seem to be clinging on to everything so tightly they will never retire because it may give one of those snotty nose Gen Y’ers a chance to succeed.”
This is accurate based on my own experience. White says Gen Y’ers should “approach the boomers differently so you don’t come off like a know it all.” I imagine hope this is a “how to” for dealing with coasters or cling-ons. (I’m pretty sure they’re not reading this so I’m OK picking on them). I’m a “continuing on” boomer. A digitally mature snotty nose boomer who thinks Aetna’s design practices are just good sound instructional design.