Learning is Broken: A Millennial Perspective

millennial learning is brokenThe following blog post was written by David Geoffrey, a new member of the Axonify Opportunity Development team.

Six months ago, I made the transition to the wild world of corporate learning after bidding my time and honing my craft as an undergraduate chasing an elusive business degree. I had preconceptions about how those experiences in formal education would help me carve out a successful career after graduation; certainly those involved in my academic life touted that this was the best route to prepare me for corporate life. Boy, did they ever fool me!

I can look back and distinctly remember a single moment of clarity in the middle of my fourth year 9am finance lecture; I sat there staring blankly at my open textbook as the professor rhymed a constant stream of ratios and subsequent explanations. I felt detached and confused, how am I supposed to remember this, let alone use it in my career?

The content did have inherent value; but the way it was dumped on us made me ponder the alternatives to being fed through the proverbial academic fire hose. I became accustomed to being a pupil of a system where survival largely depended on managing information overload across a number of topics. I spent countless days cramming away in a library, revising notes and books before final exams while in the back of my head knowing that this knowledge will leave as quickly as it entered.

Label me a poor student all you want, I would argue that my experiences closely resembled what millions of other chronic procrastinators were exposed to. Sitting in class and peering down into the sea of laptops and mobile phones below, one could observe an orchestra of extra-curricular activities; live sports steaming, online gaming and social media. It became quite apparent that Millennials aren’t very receptive to long stretches of classroom-based lectures. Could this be a classic case of “If you can’t beat them, join ‘em,” where today’s learning needs to make the mobile shift as a way to accommodate our shortened attention spans? While we’re at it, why not take advantage of our digital addictions to social media and gaming?

Since joining Axonify, I have been introduced to concepts like the Forgetting Curve, interval reinforcement and micro-learning; suddenly it all made sense why school wasn’t clicking for me… formal education is fundamentally broken. The future of learning really is at our finger tips and we’re at a crossroads where academia seems to be stifling innovation while leading corporations seem to be doing quite the opposite. Maybe it’s time for universities to do away with the outdated methods and embrace all this technology and brain science mumbo-jumbo.

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