It’s no secret Gen Z values a learning experience that’s flexible, collaborative, and accessible. They’re also quick to notice when anything is overtly sponsored or advertised — they want authenticity above all else.
These young people—specifically, those born between 1995 and 2010—prefer dynamic working and learning environments. Arguably more tech-literate than millennials, they’re natural information seekers and tend to share a collaborative, entrepreneurial spirit.
So how can businesses and educators make learning digestible to this demographic? And how can they use learning to better market to Gen Z?
A Deep Dive on Generation Z
Did you know that Gen Z currently makes up 26% of the U.S. population?
This is pretty significant, given the fact that millennials and baby boomers account for just 22% and 24% of Americans, respectively.
Now, we’ll talk about how to appeal to these young learners shortly. First, let’s explore how Generation Z views the learning process in general. It’s important to note that these teens and young adults consider college just one piece of their educational experience. In other words, they recognize their learning experience won’t end the moment they receive their diploma.
A Deloitte survey revealed that:
- Only 26% of Gen Z respondents believe college fully prepared them for the workforce.
- 44% of respondents see on-the-job training as significantly more valuable than college.
Clearly, many Generation Z students feel under-resourced in school. In a LinkedIn survey involving 2,000 Gen Z participants, researchers also found that:
- Gen Z learning preferences differ from those of prior generations.
- 43% of Gen Z prefer a self-directed learning environment.
- 62% of Gen Z believes that since hard skills (i.e., coding) are evolving faster than ever, they’re more important than soft skills (i.e., communication).
That said, an Accenture report called “Gen Z Rising” found that young professionals still recognize the value of soft skills. Many claim they need to work on their problem-solving and communication skills.
This highlights that the way we learn is often more important than what we learn.
How Does Gen Z Like to Learn?
Ask members of Generation Z, and most will tell you they want to work for organizations that can help them advance in their careers.
What can educators and employers do to facilitate that?
To start, it’s important to note how Gen Z likes to learn. The following characteristics are key:
When Generation Z seeks to pick up new information, they want to do it on their own time—proactively. This means they’re unlikely to sit around waiting for a meeting, lecture, or any other scheduled sit-down.
Instead, they’re more likely to look for answers independently. We mentioned above how nearly 50% of Gen Z learners prefer a self-directed approach—and that LinkedIn Learning survey wasn’t kidding around. Gen Z absolutely wants to learn on-demand. onomy works with this approach in mind.
Though young people today are celebrated for their independence, Gen Z likes to learn in social environments. Whether they’re communicating with friends in online forums, or collaborating with peers and mentors in other digital environments, social learning is key.
For educators and employers, the ability to give and receive continual feedback is just as important. 66% of respondents in a Center for Generational Kinetics report found that so long as they can learn on their own time, Gen Z likes getting feedback from supervisors at least every few weeks.
After growing up in the age of social media, it makes sense that Gen Z appreciates visual learning. A Harris Poll report found that 60% of respondents between the ages of 14 and 23 turn to YouTube when they’re looking to learn—and nearly just as many people credited the platform for their education.
The more images are involved in the source material, the better. Short instructional videos—like the ones in onomy’s own courses—are ideal as well. There’s a reason, after all, that TikTok is so popular among Gen Z. Those bite-sized modules are highly-effective as attracting (and keeping) Gen Z’s attention.
The above Center for Generational Kinetics report found that 25% of Gen Z learners have owned a smartphone since age 10. Similarly, many claim to grow anxious after more than 30 minutes away from their device—highlighting the value of flexible, mobile learning environment.
For Generation Z, a mobile-first learning environment is absolutely essential. And this group expects their employers and educators to provide cutting-edge platforms they can use on the go—on their own time, from anywhere. Intuitive, accessible, up-to-date software solutions and other programs are vital.
Ultimately, Generation Z employees want to work for companies that help them advance in their careers. These learners are self-directed, enjoy fewer offline social experiences than their older counterparts, value feedback and collaboration, and expect digital tools with unprecedented ease of use.
Connect with onomy Today
Ready to design a more seamless learning experience for Gen Z? At onomy, our team is here to make it happen. Reach out to us to learn more!