Generation Z: Who Are They and How Do They Learn?

Generation Z: Who Are They and How Do They Learn?

Generation Z, people born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, have a new set of educational expectations, and they are keeping instructors on their toes. These students are no strangers to technology. Their screen-based, plugged-in lifestyle significantly impacts the way they seek and process information, both in and outside the classroom, prompting today’s teachers to design curriculum and instructional strategies that keep them engaged.

From connecting with friends, to shopping for clothes, to mastering skills, gaming, gathering news, and even completing homework, Generation Z has never known life without the internet. They have had the world at their fingertips since they can remember, and most are used to locating information instantaneously through Google, YouTube, eBay, Instagram, and other apps and platforms that once seemed like great technological advances to older generations. The days of passively listening to a teacher while taking notes on paper are over. With shorter attention spans and higher expectations, most Generation Z students require more active, hands-on, customized learning activities to stay interested.

Below are some instructional strategies to help your Generation Z students learn how they learn best:

1.  Collaboration: The majority of Gen Z students document their lives on social media. Educators can carry over that craved social connection into the curriculum. Assign cooperative, project-based learning activities that encourage interaction with peers.

2. Content Chunking: Gen Z spends a great amount of time on fast-paced digital devices with constant real-time updates. They are used to multi-tasking with numerous apps open on a screen at once. Breaking up content into smaller, “bite-sized,” easily digestible pieces can help grab their attention and keep it.

3.  Flexibility: Gen Z appreciates opportunities for autonomy and self-direction. They are used to options and variety. They have grown up in a culture where working from home, from Starbucks, or from the car is also more acceptable than ever before. Allow a level of control and choice in their learning to motivate them.

4. Creativity: The digital world has produced a more visual generation of students. They are highly aware of design. In addition, they tend to be more progressive thinkers, living in an age of greater acceptance of differences. Offer opportunities for creative work, through which students can express themselves and their individuality.

These suggestions can help you tailor instruction for Generation Z classrooms. For further guidance in creating educational materials that meet the needs and learning styles of today’s students, contact Bridgeway Education at