Saturday, 28 October 2017: 3:35 PM
A student nurse millennial exclaimed, “this is so boring!” on a qualitative research methodology course. It was an infliction of “death by PowerPoint”! The presentation depicts a journey over four years on how flipping of the classroom using social media and adult principles of learning produced positive results with learner engagement. The characteristics of students millennials are introduced in relation to digital technology and social media that are highly interactive, and it will be compared to passive learning with the traditional lecture method that lacks audience participation and engagement. The restrictive culture of being 'quiet and listen to the teacher' will be discussed in relation to institutional rules not to use mobile devices and have fixed coffee breaks that stifled the spontaneous responses of the learners. It will be shown how consensus by mutual agreement was reached with the learners on appropriate natural breaks, and how the permitted use of mobile devices shifted the emphasis to being learner-centered that immediately elicited dynamic engagement of the learners. Furthermore, the recognition of the learners as adults with the capacity to make decisions about their learning process will be portrayed as essential in unlocking the capacity of the students. Acknowledgment of their accumulated life experiences as millennials, consequent readiness to learn, and linking learning to the reality of the social norms in their conservative societal culture served to capture the interest and engagement of the learners. The actual techniques used in progressively flipping of the classroom over four years will be vividly illustrated with examples that were executed in tandem with learner feedback. This included the use of social media and current news items that were appealing and relatable to the learners. The serendipitous effect of ownership of the learning process followed because their feedback as millennials was taken seriously and reflected in the revised learning activities. Attendance at the sessions were 100% because the learners felt an absence of the inter-generational gap and expressed their sense of being connected to the learning facilitator and the content of the learning sessions. They gave feedback that they experienced new learning from the interpersonal peer interactions and discussions, and that their input was valued. The paradigm shift to a learner-centered focus was palpable because learners who were usually quiet felt impelled to contribute and make their voices heard; they disagreed with another person’s viewpoints, provided explanations from their personal experiences, and challenged one another in lively discussions and vibrant debates. Qualitative research methodology became alive and purposeful for the learners as they easily distinguished between the different methods based on evocative application of knowledge to their reality-based experiences. The greatest lesson learnt as an educator was the awareness of the importance of connecting to the newer generation of millennial student nurses and the shifting in paradigm to reach them through the contemporary millennial culture to win them over for retention! In this descriptive case example it was the progressive flipping of the classroom over a period of four years that made a positive difference to learner participation and engagement. This indeed is a global lesson that no matter whether one is interacting with student millennials in either a progressive or conservative context, their learning needs and processes are similar as will be shown from the literature on facilitating the learning of millennial students.