The Problem Is – They Think Differently!


  • Barbara J. Howard
  • Peter M. Markulis
  • Daniel R. Strang


"Much of the discussion on the problems in education today has focused on student’s supposedly short attention spans. Unfortunately, this discussion often ignores or under-emphasizes what is perhaps the most crucial factor - that this group of students thinks and sees the world in ways entirely different from their parents and grandparents. One could say that their approach to learning about and understanding the world takes place in a random access or curvilinear fashion, while the existing paradigm of teaching is a linear model. This paper presents an overview of what many consider to be the traditional cognitive styles and contrasts those with the techno-centric cognitive styles of today’s learners. It then addresses the implications the techno-centric styles have on learning and reveals the advantages that the use of computerized simulations and various types of experiential exercises offer in addressing the challenges that these techno-centric styles present. The authors offer a reflective and provocative paper; hoping to stir debate and discussion about cognitive styles and learning behavior and the role simulations have had and might continue to have in facilitating learning. "