Posts tagged learning

The Millennial’s Learning Dilemma

Digiday came out with an interesting compilation of perspectives on millennials (aka Gen Y, born in from the ’80s to the 2000’s) who comprise the new crop of working professionals in ad agencies.

The ad exec’s perspective seems largely to be that millennials feel excessively entitled, are at times over-payed and are inclined to having big ideas but no mastery of a craft. Example: an agency executive talking about a millennial he hired and then let go (via WTF Millennials: Managing Agencies’ Newest Generation:

He didn’t know how to do anything. He could talk about stuff and criticize what agencies were doing but really added no value. At one point, I walked by his desk and saw Facebook on one monitor and Tweetdeck on another. I told him that he’s so good at social media that he’s totally unproductive. We let him go a few days later. In his mind, he nailed the task and moved on to help get the ad industry back on track. Sigh. The overconfidence, zero accountability and zero remorse is 100 percent millennial. They don’t get the concept of learning.

The millennial’s perspective seems to be one which struggles to reconcile with one too many contentions: old-school divisions of labor, integrating digital and traditional advertising, and harder, bigger questions like how to maintain (idealistic?) values of openness, honesty and social good, while working in an industry that isn’t exactly reputed for these things. They’re left unable (and perhaps unwilling) to master a craft because of a lack of the bigger picture, and at times a lack of mentorship to get there.

FJP: I thought about using Tumblr’s chat-post format to excerpt these pieces as a conversation between millennials and ad execs, but in my mind, the perspectives don’t really speak to each other. Though I don’t work in advertising, the conversation touches on adjacent industries just the same. The problem seems to be that many of us (millennials) view “learning” as a very intentional (and arguably selfish) affair. I’m certainly victim to the big ideas and not enough craft dilemma but it’s because I want to master a craft if I’m driven to on a personal level, and that drive entirely comes from having a clear vision of the big picture—confidence that my efforts today won’t lead to another future in which social good is at the bottom of the priority list, and profit is at the top. This attitude won’t work well in the average entry-level position, but it’s often our only entry point. I’ve been lucky enough to receive an education and professional mentors who encourage me to go long with my big ideas, which in turn makes me want to be accountable. Not an easy environment to create but much gratitude to those who’ve done it. —Jihii

A wall of books is a wall of windows.
Leon Wiesletier, The New Republic (via aaknopf)
Here’s an excerpt from “Hot for E-Teacher: 4 reasons your brain loves to learn online” via The Next Web, written by Dave Goodsmith
1) Memory: This is your brain on-line. We mean, this, right now, what you’re reading. It’s your brain. On-line.
According to Columbia neuroscientist Betsy Sparrow and her team, “We are becoming symbiotic with our computer tools”.  When participants in Dr. Sparrow’s studies thought a fact was saved somewhere accessible, they’d forget it. Furthermore, the more difficult a question was, the more likely participants were to think of the Internet, rather than actually try to work out an answer on their own.
Dr. Sparrow discusses memory in the age of Google.
So is offloading our brain making us dumber? Not according to rising edusoftware giant Knewton’s David Kuntz:

 “Accessibility [of information] changes the relative importance of certain topics in much the same ways that a calculator changes the relative importance of some things.”

Kuntz, who’s V.P. of research at the fast growing adaptive learning company, explained that fields of knowledge that were off-loaded simply left room for cogitation on other topics.

“Long division, for example, is a process that, in my opinion, is more or less irrelevant, you never have to work through a problem in that way.”

Our dependence on the web for facts might even be making us smarter. UCLA neuroscientist and author Gary Small did an exploratory fmri study and found that the web-surfer’s googling “may actually engage a greater extent of neural circuitry” than paper-based complex reasoning.
So we’re off-loading our memories to the internet, but when we need to learn a challenging technique, like coding, it takes more than data storage to help us – it takes smile.
See the rest of the reasons at The Next Web.

Here’s an excerpt from “Hot for E-Teacher: 4 reasons your brain loves to learn online” via The Next Web, written by Dave Goodsmith

1) Memory: This is your brain on-line. We mean, this, right now, what you’re reading. It’s your brain. On-line.

According to Columbia neuroscientist Betsy Sparrow and her team, “We are becoming symbiotic with our computer tools”.  When participants in Dr. Sparrow’s studies thought a fact was saved somewhere accessible, they’d forget it. Furthermore, the more difficult a question was, the more likely participants were to think of the Internet, rather than actually try to work out an answer on their own.

Dr. Sparrow discusses memory in the age of Google.

So is offloading our brain making us dumber? Not according to rising edusoftware giant Knewton’s David Kuntz:

 “Accessibility [of information] changes the relative importance of certain topics in much the same ways that a calculator changes the relative importance of some things.”

Kuntz, who’s V.P. of research at the fast growing adaptive learning company, explained that fields of knowledge that were off-loaded simply left room for cogitation on other topics.

“Long division, for example, is a process that, in my opinion, is more or less irrelevant, you never have to work through a problem in that way.”

Our dependence on the web for facts might even be making us smarter. UCLA neuroscientist and author Gary Small did an exploratory fmri study and found that the web-surfer’s googling “may actually engage a greater extent of neural circuitry” than paper-based complex reasoning.

So we’re off-loading our memories to the internet, but when we need to learn a challenging technique, like coding, it takes more than data storage to help us – it takes smile.

See the rest of the reasons at The Next Web.