The Digital Era of Learning: Novel Educational Strategies and Challenges for Teaching Students in the 21st Century


Series: Education in a Competitive and Globalizing World
BISAC: EDU029030

Students of the 21st century, typically those of the Millennial (also referred to as ‘Gen Y’) or Gen Z generations, were born into a digitally advanced world. Unlike in the 1960’s when the smallest computers occupied entire rooms at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) complex, today’s digital landscape is smitten with the abundant use of modern laptops, tablets and smart phones. Modern computing technology has evolved due to the marriage with extremely powerful computing software, which collectively has resulted in the commonplace use of modern technology on a regular basis throughout all aspects of everyday life. This relatively unrestricted access to computers is coupled with an unfettered access to the internet, providing ‘users’ unlimited freedoms to search for boundless amounts of information. This constant stream of electronically-accessible information, the ‘digital highway’, has subsequently led to the creation of novel strategies to teach today’s students.

Today’s students, or more aptly referred to as ‘modern learners’, are quite unique compared with previous students of the Baby Boomer or Gen X generations. Students of the Gen X generation were the first students to experience wide-spread access to computers during high school and undergraduate studies, whereas the majority of students from both the Gen Y and Gen Z generations have been literally bombarded with computer technology since birth. This access has created an ‘on-demand’ lifestyle that relies on searchable databases, instant access to live-streaming events and the ability to communicate electronically (in various formats) from almost anywhere on the face of the planet. This on-demand lifestyle has permeated every facet of everyday life to the degree that many of these technologies are now incorporated routinely into all forms of business and science, and used throughout all levels (elementary, secondary and professional) of education. Thus, the constant use of modern technology – coupled with the on-demand lifestyle – has led to profound changes in learner expectations, resulting in the need for educators to develop new strategies and face unique challenges on a regular and often recurring basis.

This book provides a detailed overview into those educational strategies and various challenges faced by today’s educators. It is conveniently divided into two parts. The first part includes chapters examining different strategies for teaching a wide variety of students covering multiple age groups. The second part includes chapters providing unique insights into some of the varied challenges facing today’s educators. The vast majority of strategies – and challenges – are focused on how the emerging technology of the early 21st century has resulted in profound influences for both learner and educator expectations and limitations, and how technology has opened up endless opportunities that will ultimately alter the modern educational landscape.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents



Chapter 1. A Novel Two-Stage Model of Evaluation to Successfully Identify Areas of Weakness and Guide the Development of Learning Activities Designed to Improve Knowledge of Self-Directed Learning in Primary School-Aged Learners
(Penny Van Deur, PhD, College of Education, Psychology and Social Work, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia)

Chapter 2. Mobile Learning Literature Review in Medical Education
(Heeyoung Han, PhD, Larry Hurtubise, Geraud Plantegenest, Carolyn R. Rohrer Vitek, Rahul Patwari, MD, Cecile Foshee, PhD, and Elissa R. Hall, EdD, Department of Medical Education, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield, Illinois, US, and others)

Chapter 3. Novel Use of 3D Bone Models in the Anatomical Sciences Education of Millennial Students: A Description of the Process and an Assessment of the Printing Accuracy
(Yousef AbouHashem, Manisha R. Dayal, Stephane Savanah and Goran Štrkalj, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, and others)

Chapter 4. Explorations: Promoting the Use of Teamwork and Collaboration to Strengthen the Skills Needed for a Lifetime of Self-Directed Learning in the Modern Us Healthcare System
(Christopher S. Keator, PhD, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine, Kalamazoo, Michigan, US)

Chapter 5. Post-Exam Reviews in Medical Education
(Kenneth D. Royal, PhD, Jennifer A. Neel, DVM, and Laura L. Nelson, DVM, Departments of Clinical Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, US, and others)

Chapter 6. Researching the Best and Brightest: The Challenge of Researching Medical Learners
(Karen Hughes Miller, PhD, Lori Wilks Wagner, MD, and Erin Michelle Davis, PhD, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, Kentucky, US, and others)

Chapter 7. Modern Challenges of Integrating Technology into Medical Education
(Vicki R. McKinney, PhD, and Robert W. Rebar, MD, Department of Family Medicine, AU/UGA Medical Partnership, Athens, Georgia, US, and others)

Chapter 8. Guessing in Multiple Choice Exams: Theory, Context and Detection Procedures
(Kenneth D. Royal, PhD, Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, US)

Chapter 9. Challenges Identifying and Stimulating Self-Directed Learning in Publicly Funded Programs
(Carol Nash, PhD, History of Medicine Program, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada)


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