Who are Generation Alpha?
There has been a lot of talk recently about Generation Z, more affectionately known as the “iGeneration”. Known for being technology obsessed Gen Zers are those born between 1995 and 2010. Whilst Gen Z are shaping the immediate future, as leaders in technology for training delivery, we are also looking further ahead to those born after 2010, in other words Generation Alpha.
Generation Alpha is predicted to be the most influential generation of the 21st Century. By 2025, Generation Alpha will account for 2 billion of the global population. As the most technologically infused generation, they use smartphones and tablets as easily as previous generations used a crayon and paper. Siri and Alexa are household voices for Generation Alpha and artificial intelligence is expected to be mainstream by the time these youngsters reach their twenties.
It is predicted that Generation Alpha will be the most diverse, educated and technologically literate in history. In fact, technology is considered so important for this generation that 27% of Gen Alpha parents think their child values their iPad or iPhone more than anything else.
Generation Alpha are pioneering the use of technology and see technology as part of the furniture. The real challenge for training providers, therefore, will be catering for this forward-thinking generation. How will providers best communicate with these youngsters? How will Gen Alpha learn best? What will be the best tools to enhance their learning experience?
Communicating with Gen Alpha
As we look to the future, it is vital that we learn how best to communicate with Generation Alpha. Training providers need to understand Gen Alpha’s thought process, “learn their language” and their preferred communication methods. It is thought that the traditional hierarchical communication style associated with learning will become redundant and a more collaborative approach will work best for this generation.
Generation Alpha are thought to benefit from mentors who engage, equip and entrust learners. Simply lecturing at Generation Alpha is likely to have little benefit. This generation need to be involved in the learning process and this learning style certainly lends itself to apprenticeships and other forms of vocational training. With on-the-job learning allowing learners to experiment and learn from their mistakes, the future of apprenticeships certainly looks bright where Gen Alpha are concerned.
Brad Tombling, Director of Customer Success at Bud said “Generation Alpha are used to learning through self-discovery. From a very early age they have used technology to self-teach and explore topics of interest. TikTok is a great example of this. In addition to offering funny cat videos, TikTok also acts as an educational platform. Gen Alpha have been using the platform to learn common phrases in different languages, grammar tips, Pythagoras’ Theorem and so much more. In order to maximise Gen Alpha’s chances as learners, we need to provide training tools in a style that suits them, whether that is through bite sized videos such as those offered by TikTok or through interactive platforms such as Jamboard.”
Teaching Gen Alpha
Generation Alpha are going to benefit from technological advancement, and it is critical that we, as an industry, adapt. We have already adopted augmented reality and simulation within some apprenticeships such as engineering where there is risk associated with experimentation, but could more disruptive technologies be utilised? Technologies that will allow this generation to explore their critical thinking skills and provide them with the opportunity to learn through doing.
Educators are going to find it challenging to cope with the demands of Gen Alpha if they fail to evolve their offering and adopt a new approach to education. As we emerge from the pandemic, the automatic response may be to return to traditional learning methods. The learnings around digital delivery from lockdown, however, should not be wasted. If we have learned anything through this process it is that a blended style of learning can be hugely productive. Not only does this teaching style allow learners to have a means to collaborate and to feedback in the moment, but it will also allow for the latest technologies to be utilised.
Jesse Johnson, Director of Sales at Bud said “It’s predicted that Generation Alpha will co-live with artificial intelligence. It is important that training providers learn to do the same. Perhaps artificial intelligence, which learns through data, could be used to determine the most effective style of learning for every apprentice. Generation Alpha are set to be the most diverse generation yet. What works for some learners may not work for others. AI will bring the ability to individualise training and give young people the best possible start in life.”
What does this mean for training providers?
Businesses will have to adapt to keep up with the fast-paced Generation Alpha. Providers may need to offer courses that use AI to autonomously adapt programmes to the habits of different learners. Artificial intelligence may, for example, be able to determine the best times for learners to study and add tasks and reminders throughout the day based upon this information. AI may also serve content to learners in a way that best suits their learning style. Whether they are fed short videos, articles or a more hands-on task, AI will be able to provide the right content to the learner. Providing learners with personalised content will also prove critical when aiding learners who require additional support. Artificial intelligence will be able to supply learners with additional content without adding to trainer caseload.
Mark McGrath, Technology Director at Bud said “we are extremely proud of everything we have built at Bud thus far but a SaaS product such as ours must continuously evolve. We are always looking to innovate and lead the way in technology. We know that catering for Generation Alpha, and indeed all future generations, will require the use of artificial intelligence and intelligent automation. We are very excited to be working to capitalise on these disruptive technologies and future proof the training delivery of our clients. Bud’s data warehouse is a firm foundation on which we will build.”
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