Gen Z are tech-savvy. They were born into a connected and mobile world. Millennials may be renowned for being glued to their smartphones but their younger counterparts are the true digital natives.
Nevertheless, the two generations are comfortable living their lives online. Research conducted by a mobile and online messaging business solutions provider found 65% of Gen Z and Millennials globally interact with each other digitally more than they do in the real world.1
Source: World Economic Forum – Global Agenda: Is online learning the future of education?, September 2016
But their use of technology is about more than keeping in touch. According to our research, Millennials use their smartphone more often than Gen Z for work-related purposes tasks, for example, completing tasks on the move, for education and learning; as well as for navigation and directions.
Gen Z expects services to be available at any time with low barriers to access.2 And they believe technology has improved their ability to remember facts and figures. They also embrace social learning environments, where they can be hands-on and directly involved in the education process.
This generation is the ‘do-it-yourself’ generation. 71% of respondents to a survey in the USA said they believe the phrase ‘if you want it done right, then do it yourself’. Perhaps this stems from having easy access to the internet, including YouTube and other online learning opportunities.3
Technology is changing the way we live and work, and even the way we learn. Many universities, including world-renowned institutions, are offering some courses for free or at minimal cost. It means people can gain new skills or update their existing knowledge from anywhere, at anytime.
In 2017, more than 800 universities ran over 9,000 free online courses, or Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), as they’re called.4 That builds on the thousands offered over the past few years.
But is this the future of learning?
In a global survey of more than 35,000 young people, nearly 78% of respondents said they have taken online courses in the past.5 Almost 48% said they would be willing to pursue certification for skills, including online certification, once they have started their careers. But so far, completion rates have been low and the majority of organisational learning occurs via traditional methods, despite the widespread adoption of digital technologies.6
However, some companies are experimenting with wearable technology, augmented and virtual reality, and artificial intelligence to engage and inspire learners to get ahead.
Source: Ologie: This is Gen Z Report, September 2015
1. Liveperson – Digital Lives of Millennials Gen Z Report 2017
2. Barnes & Noble College – Getting to Know Gen Z Research Report 2015
3. Gen Z @ Work: How the Next Generation is Transforming the Workplace (Harper Business, 2017), pp 225
4. Class Central – by the Numbers: MOOCS in 2017
5. World Economic Forum – Is Online Learning the Future of Education? September 2016
6. Wired – Online Courses Don’t Work, But Education Can Still Be Disrupted, January 2018