This is in response to this month’s ASTD big question – Learning Design Differences for Digital Natives.
Lets first define relevant terms –
Digital native – A person who has had access to technology and is well conversant with its usage.
Digital immigrant – A person who has recently moved towards using technology.
So, basically a divide created by age.
The Vs – 🙂 This differentiation between the two – Is it a real one or just a perceived one? Was this term coined by people who are scared of technology. Where are they now? Retired? Do they have an active role to play in the actual learning process between the ID or SME and the end user who would be a student in a school or a trainee in the workplace.
What mostly happens in the real world is that the ID or SME who designs the course and the end user who is using this training or education are both digital natives. ID theories have not changed from when we were creating ppt presentations as e-learning nor while now that we create business games to teach the same old thing/concept. What has changed is our perception about the medium of instruction.
While creating ppt presentations, having a ball zoomed into and then fading off was a great thing, then the ball started bouncing around the screen with 2D flash and people said wow, now the ball has been made in 3D Max and has a 3D feel to it, it can also be rotated or be simulated. Even with the ppts and flash, content at times has been made so that learning may be in the hands of the user, albeit it was very low level scripting and so there were lesser choices available. With gaming, the number of choices available are more, so more students can be included with much more varied answers to the same situation.
I wonder if this influx of technology has had any impact on the learning outcome? Learning still remains the same, 10% high scorers, 10% low scorers and the rest in that 80%. The low and high scores take care of themselves. Its the middle ones that can be transferred, the ones that are targeted for e-learning.
When we say “Our student’s have changed drastically.” does that not sound familiar? Does it not sound something which we have heard over and over, something like a sentence that starts with “In our days…”. So, I believe that this divide shall remain even when the so called digital natives of today become the digital immigrants of tomorrow.
(P. Kasturi Rangan is Asst. Project Manager at G-Cube)