There is a new generaton of learner who is going to have a dramatic impact on learning and e-learning design. This new generation has been called by numerous titles but the one I like is Gamer.
A Gamer is someone who has grown up in a generation influenced and shaped by video games and technology. It is the fact that someone has grown up during a time when many people within his or her generation where playing video games that makes them a gamer.
Even if the person did not own a console or a PC on which to play games, chances are they played the video games at their friend’s house, at the arcade or even played educational video games at school.
According to this broad definition, it is not whether or not the person is currently playing video games. Many kids grew up playing video games and then moved on to other pursuits as they got older (Although many have not. The average age of a gamer is about 30 years old.)
Kids who have played video games during their formative years or were involved in the popular culture that hyped and discussed the attributes of video games have been shaped by video games whether they know it or not. In much the same way that baby boomers were shaped by the culture of television even if every boomer did not have a television in his or her living room.
For the boomers, cultural references, opinions of leaders and the influence of others were shaped by the introduction and widespread adoption of television, the same is now true of the gamers who were shaped by video games.
Designers of instruction, corporate workflow systems and academic programs need to be tuned into this gamer generation and find effective methods of transfering knowledge from the boomers to the gamers.