Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Generational differences in preference for interactivity
by Kaiser, Linda M., Ph.D., Capella University, 2011, 129; 3445238
Abstract (Summary)

Research suggests that the various generations of students (e.g. Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials) possess different preferences for peer interaction to be motivated and engaged in their learning. The problem investigated by this study was how to accommodate these varying interaction preferences of students from different generations who are also concurrently enrolled in the same online course. Eighty-six participants who had completed a ten-week course in a two-year community college setting were surveyed to assess online, interactive strategies for motivation and engagement using discussion boards, small group projects, and wikis. Significant differences were found in perceptions of effort and importance of overall interactivity where participants from the older generations rated this variable higher than did those from the younger, Millennial, generation. There was no significant difference in engagement, motivation, or perceptions of peer collaboration for each generation for each of the various technology tools. The results also suggested that all participants had a slight but non-significant preference for the use of wikis to facilitate the collaborative process and that Millennial, online learners place less effort and importance on peer interaction in their learning environments than older, online learners. The results from this study support the importance of interaction in online learning environments that is neither dependent on the type of tool that is used to facilitate interaction nor the age group of the learner. Despite the rhetoric about the need to accommodate the Millennial learners' preference for technology, this study indicates designers should be placing emphasis and focus on developing interaction strategies that accommodate the different technical experience of learners. The results also indicate a need to design online courses in the simplest format possible to reduce the amount of effort all learners expend on learning to use the technology, allowing learners to concentrate on what they feel is more important—the interaction itself.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Sims, Rod C.
Commitee: Klein, David, McGlynn, Maureen
School: Capella University
Department: School of Education
School Location: United States -- Minnesota
Source: DAI-A 72/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Community college education, Instructional Design, Educational technology
Keywords: Baby boomers, Interactivity, Millennials, Online learning, Peer interaction, Web 2.0 tools
Publication Number: 3445238
ISBN: 978-1-124-54230-0
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