The term millennial is a word that big education aspires to connect with, yet has trouble relating to. Too often in higher education it simply means 20-somethings, and the question then becomes: “How do we market to millennials so they understand that education is an experience?”
Make no mistake–experiential learning is a requirement. It only intensifies as you move up the educational ladder. Concepts become multi-faceted and gray. They are no longer black-and-white with correct answers, but rather a multitude of scenarios requiring critical thinking to arrive at one of infinite possible solutions. And for that reason, college is a valuable experience. Never mind the social and cultural elements–college excels at teaching you how to think.
The new paradigm
But, getting to that point in the discussion requires a foundation. Learning to enable discussion and go to the next level used to be done by reading books and taking notes. For better or worse, that’s no longer engaging–at least not in the way that today’s learners expect. Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Netflix, and others now command an average of 2.5 hours of daily viewing by the public. This is education’s competition, as those platforms have found a way to capture interest by delivering a personalized and adaptive experience to the user.