Generational differences and the integration of technology in learning, instruction, and performance

Eunjung Oh, Thomas C. Reeves

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Generational differences have been widely discussed; attention to and speculation on the characteristics of the Millennial Generation are especially abundant as they pertain to the use of educational technology for education and training. A careful review of the current popular and academic literature reveals several trends. First, whether based on speculation or research findings, discussion has focused on traits of the newer generations of students and workers and how their needs, interests and learning preferences can be met using new media, innovative instructional design and digital technologies. Second, generally speaking, although in the past few years there have been more critical and diverse perspectives on the characteristics of the Millennial Generation reported in the literature than before, more substantive studies in this area are still necessary. This chapter discusses trends and findings based upon the past 10 years' literature on generational differences, the Millennial Generation, and studies and speculations regarding school and workplace technology integration that is intended to accommodate generational differences. There is still a lack of consensus on the characteristics of the newer generation sufficient to be used as a solid conceptual framework or as a variable in research studies; thus, research in this area demands an ongoing, rigorous examination. Instead of using speculative assumptions to justify the adoption of popular Web 2.0 tools, serious games and the latest high tech gear to teach the Millennial Generation, approaches to integrating technology in instruction, learning, and performance should be determined by considering the potential pedagogical effectiveness of a technology in relation to specific teaching, learning and work contexts. Clearly, today's higher education institutions and workplaces have highly diverse student bodies and work forces, and it is as important to consider the needs of older participants in learning with technology as it is to consider those of the younger participants. Recommendations for future research and practices in this area conclude the chapter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology
EditorsJ Michael Spector, M David Merrill, Jan Elen, M J Bishop
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781461431855
ISBN (Print)9781461431848
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Generational differences
  • Technology integration
  • The millennial generation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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