Friday, January 8, 2010

Meet the Generation Y

The personality of a generation based on Generation Theory that briefly could be characterized as groups of individuals born in roughly twenty-year cycles that repeat approximately every eighty years. The theory is attributed to William Strauss and Neil Howe who describe the generations in their 1991 demographic history of America, titled “Generations.”

Many educators, employers and marketers are taking the theory seriously and adjusting their teaching/hiring/training/marketing strategies accordingly.

Millennials are a product of the 21st century and are real-life focused. They want to know exactly what is required and not likely to do a whole lot more. In addition, Millennials are digital natives, meaning that technology has always been a part of their lives. They are totally at ease with it. Team activities were just what they did in school. Millennials use MySpace and wikis and podcasting to collaboratively create knowledge. Millennials believe you are supposed to work together with a group to learn. This generation is also known for being multi-taskers, texting while simultaneously doing something else. Psychologists call it micro tasking- doing a little of each and going back and forth between the activities.

Major Characteristics of Millennials

· Sheltered-more easily stressed, look to authority/parents for guidance, accustomed to structured life where desires were easily and quickly met
· Digital native-while fluent in technology, it is just another tool; 24/7 on-demand lifestyle; media-based interaction with knowledge; adaptable
· Social and team oriented-live publicly online; staying networked is key: MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, plus texting and blogging
· Ambitious but unrealistic- focused on fame, money, big ideas, but have unrealistic expectations of workplaces and real-life opportunities, goal focused
· Globally, socially, environmentally conscious-embrace, accept diversity of all sorts, activists, and more politically involved than Gen X
· Action-oriented-focused on new experiences, trying things rather than thinking about them; virtual world acceptable substituting for real-world activities; highly mobile; “TV is boring”

1900-1924 G. I. Generation [or Greatest Generation]
1925-1945 Silent Generation
1946-1964 Baby Boomers
1965-1979 Generation X
1980-2000 Millennials or Generation Y

In conclusion,
college education helps to prepare learners of the second decade of the 21st century for high-priority jobs in local communities. The Generation Y is learning life skills; adult learning adapting to individualized instructions and privacy and call the digital natives to the rescue; all together as a team continue to work on professional development and worthwhile websites.

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