Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Talkin' 'bout my generation...

A lot of my learning occurs applying something old with something new. The old element is reading, the new element is electronic media.

I started this lunch hour reading a post by Jay Cross regarding a blog post by Author Penelope Trunk regarding basing what generation we belong to based on our use of media instead of age.

Despite the fact that I was born at the start of the space age I never really considered myself a Baby Boomer. Perhaps it's because I'm a propeller head, always eager to learn a new technology and how to apply it to a learning venue. Most of the true boomers that I know have barely enough computer savvy to compose an email. So I eagerly took Ms. Trunk's quiz to determine what generation I would fall into. I will disclose where I mapped myself to after you have a chance to take the test yourself.

What generation are you part of, really? Take this test. » Brazen Careerist by Penelope Trunk:
Do you have your own web page? (1 point)

Have you made a web page for someone else? (2 points)

Do you IM your friends? (1 point)

Do you text your friends? (2 points)

Do you watch videos on YouTube? (1 point)

Do you remix video files from the Internet? (2 points)

Have you paid for and downloaded music from the Internet? (1 point)

Do you know where to download free (illegal) music from the Internet? (2 points)

Do you blog for professional reasons? (1 point)

Do you blog as a way to keep an online diary? (2 points)

Have you visited MySpace at least five times? (1 point)

Do you communicate with friends on Facebook? (2 points)

Do you use email to communicate with your parents? (1 point)

Did you text to communicate with your parents? (2 points)

Do you take photos with your phone? (1 point)

Do you share your photos from your phone with your friends? (2 points)

0-1 point - Baby Boomer
2-6 points - Generation Jones
6- 12 points - Generation X
12 or over - Generation Y

I am proud to say that fell fully where I expected to land, A generation Y. I scored 15 points out of a total of 24 points. What does this mean for learning? It means that from an instructional design perspective we need to promote with our clients a move away from the 1 day (or more) marathon training delivery model and move more towards a learning buffet where learners can select their own learning opportunities.

In fact a buffet, in my mind, is an excellent metaphor. Go into any buffet and you will see that, despite the fact that everything from salad to desserts are laid out in advance, people will continue to follow the time honored appetizer, main meal, and dessert approach to serving their own meals. They may eat more than is necessary for a normal person, but they do seem to serve themselves in the traditional fashion.

I would like to imagine that learners would follow the same approach starting with introductory materials and working upwards through advanced programs. These elements would be chunked accordingly and offered in one hour or less chunks similar to many webinars.

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