a group of Generation Z students on laptops and tablets with symbols of video, music, and interactivity

Higher-ed leaders: Here’s how Generation Z learns best

Can higher ed attract students who grew up with ubiquitous technology access?

Does your faculty embrace video?

Members of Generation Z say they vastly prefer video as a learning method, according to Beyond Millennials: The Next Generation of Learners, a recent study from Pearson and The Harris Poll. The study notes that Generation Z, or students ages 14-23, have had their educational expectations shaped by technology in more ways than the 24- to 40-year-old millennials.

Generation Z ranked YouTube second only to teachers as a learning tool. In fact, they rank YouTube well ahead of lectures, in-person collaboration with classmates, learning applications, and books.

Generation Z’s other higher-ed expectations

As much as Generation Z has embraced technology for social engagement, they very much still value an on-campus education experience. Compared with 45 percent of millennials, who seek out as many online courses as possible, only 26 percent of Gen Z say they would prefer taking as many online courses as possible.

Related: Expert advice on how to reach Generation Z

Generation Z and millennials both rank teachers and professors as the top influencers for their personal development (78 percent and 80 percent respectively)–higher than parents and their peers.

Despite growing questions around the value of college and return on investment in tuition, just 25 percent of Generation Z students say they believe they can have a rewarding career without going to college, compared to 40 percent of millennials.

Eighty percent of Generation Z respondents and 74 percent of millennials agree that college either has a fair amount of value, is a good value, or is an excellent value. Only 20 percent of Generation Z students and 26 percent of millennials said college has “little value” or “no value at all.”

By a margin of more than 20 percent, Generation Z respondents are more likely to say they want to make it to the top of their future profession one day versus millennials. The group is also very altruistic, and 60 percent of Generation Z respondents agreed that they want to help people less fortunate, compared to 48 percent of millennials.

Related: How to use social media to engage Gen Z in class and beyond

Last but not least, Gen Z values diversity. More than 6 in 10 Generation Z respondents agree that having diverse friends makes them a better person, while slightly more than half of millennials agree with that statement.

Laura Ascione

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