Last updated: 25.08.14

Online education adapts to suit Generation Z

Each generation poses a fresh and unique challenge for the education sector, which must work out the best possible way to teach them.

Generation Z might be the most difficult one yet, with youngsters born after 1990 growing up in an era where technology, such as the internet, has become completely ubiquitous.

Whereas anyone born in the 1980s will have used fairly primitive computers during their time at school, Generation Z has access to the most powerful portable technology ever, with smartphones and tablets packing an incredible amount of processing ability into a tiny package.

Education has had to keep up with these giant leaps in technological advancement and it is common now for schoolchildren to use tablets during their lessons, while chalkboards for teachers have long become a thing of the past. Now they are considered as outdated as slate and chalk, with projectors installed in many classrooms to take advantage of technology.

A further development as a result of the rise of technology has been the growth of online learning, which poses a number of key advantages to both education establishments and learners themselves.

One of the key challenges teachers face is ensuring all of their students are learning at the same pace, but e-learning is freer, putting control over speed of learning in the hands of the pupil. This can have a massive impact on a child, as if they feel left behind by their peers they can easily become disheartened and it can be tough for them to catch up in the long run.

Research released earlier in the summer by Gen Y research and consulting firm Millennial Branding found that 50 per cent of students now do not need a physical classroom at all, indicating online learning could soon become the norm.

Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding and author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success, said: "Education should not be a one-size-fits-all model because everyone learns differently, regardless of age, occupation and location. More online courses should be offered to cater to those who learn better in a virtual classroom."

Virtual College provides e-learning to 1.4 million online learners, helping to make learning engaging and accessible to a wide range of people.