Should College Instructors Change Their Teaching Styles to Meet the Millenial Student?


  • Peter M. Markulis
  • Elizabeth Murff
  • Daniel R. Strang


Have you noticed a change in students lately? Today’s students, called the “millennials” are believed by many to have markedly different expectations about learning, grades, learning goals and professors than past generations of students. The purpose of this paper is to provoke a discussion on what instructors perceive may be the difference in learning styles and attitudes of the millennials to-ward simulation and experiential exercise use as opposed to past students. The paper discusses the characteristics of the so-called millennial students, their attitudes toward learning and their expectations about college instructors. The paper also discusses, if and how, college instructors have altered their use of simulations (SIMs) and experiential exercises (EEs) to accommodate to the different learning styles of the millennials. The paper presents the results of a survey of instructors who use, and/or have used, SIMs and EEs as part of their pedagogy. It asks:(1) if the instructors perceive that today’s college students have a different set of learning styles, as well as expectations of their professors than past students did; (2) if instructors have noticed a change in how the students approach simulations and/or experiential exercises and if so, have students’ expectations of their instructors changed in this regard; (3) if instructors have tried to alter their use of the EE and/or SIM to accommodate the perceived changes in students learning attitudes; and finally, (4) if the instructors believe that they should alter their use of EEs and/or SIM pedagogy to accommodate today’s college learners.