While listening to this webinar I couldn’t help thinking about how important it is to actually understand your learning community first, before creating a teaching strategy for your learning community. I think understanding your learning community is key to identifying drivers for change.

The generation that we are teaching now, or transitioning to, is the generation born from 1996 onwards. Generation Z.

“Gen Z is part of a generation that is global, social, visual and technological. They are the most connected, educated and sophisticated generation ever. They are the up-agers, with influence beyond their years. They are the tweens, the teens, the youth and young adults of our global society. They are the early adopters, the brand influencers, the social media drivers, the pop-culture leaders. They comprise nearly 2 billion people globally, and they don’t just represent the future, they’re creating it. Gen Z’s have been born into the crisis period of terrorism, the global recession and climate change. They are predicted to spend their young adult years in a time of economic and social renewal. They are also living in an era of changing household structures, and are the students of today and university graduates, employees and consumers of tomorrow.” (http://generationz.com.au/characteristics/)

I also think of the 5 minute video on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wT2D-6-7kSk) that highlights some of the major changes that we are facing today, including the following:

  • The 10 top jobs in demand in 2010 did not exist in 2004
  • We are currently preparing students for jobs that do not exist
  • Today’s learner will have 10 to 14 jobs by the age of 38
  • For students starting a technical degree, half of what they learn in the 1st year of study will be outdated in their 3rd year of study.

To me, this is scary. And the scariest thing is – how can we adopt and integrate this ever changing world into our teaching and learning. And then I am looking at the Community of Inquiry Framework of Garrison, D.R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000), which includes Social Presence, Cognitive Presence and Teaching Presence. And I realize that the context in which we have to look at this in today’s world is extremely important and ever changing for it to be relevant to the learner. ONL is a great example of what this could look like, I think.

Wish I had all the answers… 🙂