Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A More Considered Perspective

Finally a Net Gen perspective that isn't brimming with hype. Chris Dede in Planning for Neomillenial Styles argues for the notion of "millenial learning styles" but suggests,

"Overall, the Internet-based learning styles ascribed to "Millennial" students —those born after 1982—increasingly apply for many people across a wide range of ages, driven by the tools and media they use every day."

This makes sense but we still need to be careful about the evidence. Dede relies on some of the usual suspects: Howe & Strauss, Tapscott and Rheingold. And the neomillenial learning styles he describes are:
  • Fluency in multiple media and in simulation-based virtual settings
  • Communal learning involving diverse, tacit, situated experience, with knowledge distributed across a community and a context as well as within an individual
  • A balance among experiential learning, guided mentoring, and collective reflection
  • Expression through nonlinear, associational webs of representations
  • Co-design of learning experiences personalized to individual needs and preferences
I haven't seen any compelling evidence to suggest these learning styles are widespread and Dede doesn't offer any. Instead, like most of the Net Gen literature, the claim is based on argument: the technologies have certain characteristics, people are using these technologies extensively; this use must be having an impact.

Read the full article.


Donald Clark said...

I'm not sure the analysis will progress far if we hang our hats on the dodgy 'learning styles' peg. Read Professor Coffield's devastating critique of this unvalidated swamp of theory.

William James said...

So who is Prof. Coffield and where can we find the critique?

Mark Bullen said...

Yes, please give us the details of the Coffield critique.