Kayla Murphy, Director of Distance Learning, Mercyhurst University
We are in an age of personal and technical mobility, where mobile devices are carried everywhere. Technology is no longer a transformative phenomenon for this generation, but instead a fundamental part of their everyday life.
Education is ever evolving, and the pace of advancement is quicker now than ever. Schools, from kindergarten to college, must adaptto meet the needs of learners. Millennials have been raised amid steep technological advances, particularly advanced communication and social media. And now, Generation Z consists of true digital natives who are connected ten or more hours a day. According to Brian Solis in his 25 Disruptive Technology Trends 2015–2016, “Generation Z is mobile first and mobile only”.
Generation Z, or Gen-Z, has grown up alongside the internet, therefore their“world” exists largely on a screen. Mobile learning allows them to learn anytime, anywhere. We must consider student learning and teaching styles as well as available technology. Learning through any modality should strive to foster active learning and interactive engagement. The question we are being challenged by asks, how can we use mixed media and stimulating content to connect with a visually oriented generation?
Gen-Z embraces social learning environments where they can be hands-on, and they believe they should be able to seamlessly connect academic experiences to personal experiences using the same tools. A mobile-first design is accessible to all learners and the integration of video guarantees a connection with Gen-Z. Experts know that video consumption is rising, and the adaptability of video to many devices provides a major learning opportunity. Learning content should be easy to access 24/7 and video makes that possible on any mobile device.
Video brings together two things that capture attention, movement and noise. According to research, the average viewer remembers 95% of a message when it is watched, whereas only 10% when read. While video is a familiar technology, itcan act as a vehicle, influencer, and a catalyst to transform learning. Synchronous video can be executed in real time through video conferencing, whereas asynchronous video can occur through online channels without live interaction. Many prefer a hybrid learning model that includes a blend of both synchronous and asynchronous video transmission.
Synchronous video conferencing allows students to ask questions in real-time, receive immediate feedback, debate with classmates, and participate in authentic conversations. To add, this synchronous learning provides the same level of accountability and engagement as classroom attendance. Video conferencing software offer high definition video, clear audio, screen sharing, and instant messaging at no cost to students. The most common challenge associated with synchronous video is its adherence to a set schedule. Live lectures and class discussions take place at established meeting times and therefore decrease the flexibility and learn anywhere, anytime aspect of mobile learning.
Moving away from real-time delivery, asynchronous video allows learning to happen on any schedule. One of the most prominent features is that it allows students to pace the learning according to their needs. When students can direct their learning, they are more motivated to learn. They can pause, rewind, fast-forward, or restart the streaming content as needed. Video hosting platforms provide a familiar format for Gen-Z students who are more comfortable consuming content through videos rather than reading or listening alone. Providing both visual and audio delivery engages multiple senses, so learning is more effective and retention increases. In addition, videos delivered by mobile devices provide the benefits of just-in-time and on-demand learning.
We are in an age of personal and technical mobility, where mobile devices are carried everywhere.Technology is no longer a transformative phenomenon for this generation, but instead a fundamental part of their everyday life. This demands changes to education and leaves us with the responsibility to design learning differently and offer accelerated, flexible, and adaptive education options.The use of video plays a pivotal role in enhancing both understanding and thelearning capabilities of Gen-Z. For mobile learning to be effective, it must include various interactive elements such as video, audio, and graphics which ultimately leads to making learning more immersive. This type of immersive experience is the future of learning and will shape our digitally sophisticated workforce.