For the first time, four distinct generations are in the workplace (and in many classrooms) together: silents (mid-sixties and up), boomers (mid-forties to mid-sixties), gen Xers (mid-thirties to mid-forties), and millennials, the newest workers. Here are some reasons it’s great for different generations to learn together.
1. Sharing their strengths and characteristics.
Each age group has different defining characteristics and strengths, which also means they have things to teach each other in an educational or work environment. Older generations are typically more loyal, but younger generations may take more risks that help them move forward and achieve their goals, for instance.
2. Older students and workers can mentor younger ones.
In classroom and work situations, teachers and leaders may not have time to mentor the younger ones and make sure they are learning. Older students and workers have valuable life experience from which younger ones can benefit.
3. Younger students and workers can help older ones with technology.
Many older workers are unfamiliar and uncomfortable with newer technologies like computers and mobile devices that are often used in classrooms and businesses. Younger workers have grown up with these devices and can take the lead in acclimating older workers to them.
4. Diversity, even age-related, makes groups and teams function better.
The more diverse a group is, including having people of different ages, the more effective it is in coming up with new ideas and achieving a higher level of learning. The challenges of diverse groups make everyone work harder to communicate their ideas and insights, often with superior results compared to groups where everyone is similar.
5. Different generations can grow in understanding each other.
When people of different age groups begin to see what others have to offer them, they will begin to understand each other better and will appreciate their differences and what they have in common. Many times, members of generational age groups may put each other down, but studying or working together helps everyone move beyond stereotypes and find out what members of another generation are really like.
6. Fewer people will fall through the cracks.
In the classroom and sometimes even in work situations, some may struggle more than others. Using teaching or mentoring methods meant to benefit diverse populations is one way to make sure everyone can relate to the material being learned, and it leads to greater success for every student, compared to narrower methods.
People of all ages are committed to being lifelong learners, or they may find that they need to continue their education to advance their careers. CCSU’s Office of Continuing Education is a place where people of all ages can come together to learn and strengthen their skills together.
Many courses are provided for career advancement and enrichment that can benefit students of all ages and walks of life. Join our mailing list for lots of options to learn with others of all ages.