After reading this quick description of Generation Y, the first thing I think about is that Generation Y is the Adult Learner of the near future. This Adult Learner will be (and has been) marketed to by companies in very slick high-budget multi-media fashion (via the Internet, TV, Movies, print advertising, etc.). Their expectation for a good product is consequently very high and they have many choices to make!
Here's an example, I went to go see the movie The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe last Tuesday and I took a Generation Y member with me. When we discussed the movie afterwards, she said the story was good but the special effects could be better. Her exact quote was "it was no Lord of the Rings for special effects." This got me thinking that her expectations about special effects in fantasy-type movies are very high (I mean very!) due to her experience with the Lord of the Rings Trilogy that was released between 2001 and 2003. Had The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe come out before the Lord of the Rings Trilogy it would have been hailed, but now it is slightly inferior in special effects despite spending approximately $150M on the movie according to this website (which is a higher budget than each of the Lord of the Rings Movies... chalk it up to inflation perhaps?)
My point is that as educators we must consider the expectations of our target market (the forthcoming Generation Y people) when designing and developing courses and curriculum. They have experience and expectations that if we can strategically address then we can successfully compete for their satisfaction and their tuition dollars. They have traditionally had so many choices to make as a consumer that they can be discerning. Lets make sure they choose our institutitions because we're attractive, innovative, exciting and enjoyable. Gone are the days of the professor that reads our of the textbook. That's not going to fly anymore.
What do you think? Post a comment below.