Implications of Generation Y Students’ Learning Preferences in Higher Education

Elizabeth Piñzón, St. John Fisher College


This dissertation study qualitatively examined the learning preferences of Generation Y students through three focus group sessions held at three different institutions of higher learning. During focus groups, Generation Y participants were asked for instances from their experiences that illustrate what they want to learn and how they want to learn. The participants were also asked for examples of experiences from exemplary professors. Findings indicated that overall, the participants believe it is important for a teacher to be in tune with their students as well as in tune with the subject matter. The findings also showed that students become disinterested in the courses when taught by teachers who are “just about getting things done.” The participants indicated that engaging and motivating teachers are those who focus on higher order thinking, who are invested in the subject matter, who do not stray from the textbook or curriculum, and who know the students personally. Implications include the need for faculty development in technologies and pedagogies that appeal to Generation Y students.