Demystifying the Millennial student: A reassessment in measures of character and engagement in professional education

Authors

  • Camille DiLullo,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Anatomy, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    • Department of Anatomy, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, 336 Evans Hall, 4170 City Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19131, USA
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  • Patricia McGee,

    1. Department of Educational Psychology, College of Education and Human Development, The University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas
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  • Richard M. Kriebel

    1. Department of Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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Abstract

The characteristic profile of Millennial Generation students, driving many educational reforms, can be challenged by research in a number of fields including cognition, learning style, neurology, and psychology. This evidence suggests that the current aggregate view of the Millennial student may be less than accurate. Statistics show that Millennial students are considerably diverse in backgrounds, personalities, and learning styles. Data are presented regarding technological predilection, multitasking, reading, critical thinking, professional behaviors, and learning styles, which indicate that students in the Millennial Generation may not be as homogenous in fundamental learning strategies and attitudes as is regularly proposed. Although their common character traits have implications for instruction, no available evidence demonstrates that these traits impact their fundamental process of learning. Many curricular strategies have been implemented to address alleged changes in the manner by which Millennial students learn. None has clearly shown superior outcomes in academic accomplishments or developing expertise for graduating students and concerns persist related to the successful engagement of Millennial students in the process of learning. Four factors for consideration in general curricular design are proposed to address student engagement and optimal knowledge acquisition for 21st century learners. Anat Sci Educ 4: 214-226. © 2011 American Association of Anatomists.

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