A New Kind of Student: Learning Attributes of the Digital Generations

Contributed by Ryan Schaaf

Today, learners take for granted growing up in a world that is seamlessly connected by powerful information and communication technologies that give them instant access to everyone and everything, anytime and anywhere.

Digital games, YouTube videos, texts, tweets, Instagram messages, SnapChats, and all of the other elements of the always-on generation’s digital diet have created a landscape of experiences that are constantly wiring and rewiring their neural structure. This constant bombardment of information in the new digital landscape has become the catalyst for the emergence of a new kind of student.

Chronic digital bombardment has transformed our learners into digital learners. The digital generations have developed new preferences for learning. Jukes, Schaaf, and Mohan (2015) identified nine key learning attributes of the digital generations. These are attributes that don’t apply equally to every learner in every location but are affected by factors such as culture, socio-economics, geography, and personal experiences. Read more.


Featured FETC presenter:

Ryan Schaaf

Assistant Professor of Educational Technology
Notre Dame of Maryland University


As a professor and award-winning author, Ryan Schaaf wants to help educators reach all learners. Before higher education, he was a teacher, instructional leader, and mentor. In 2007, he was nominated for Maryland Teacher of the Year.

Ryan’s passion is helping teachers, students, and education leaders see the potential of using modern-day pedagogy and tools for instruction and how to leverage their potential for powerful learning experiences amongst diverse learning populations. His mission is to engage audiences in taking the necessary steps to prepare students for their bright futures.