Meta-modes of learning that support and influence the millennial student’s holistic learning experience at an academic institute in South Africa

M. de Swardt, M.E. Hoque


Teaching in diverse ways to a diverse generation, globally, academic institutes must ensure that learning is responsive, appropriate and supportive of cohorts in emerging and involving modes of learning. However, the pedagogy, processes and learning methods are of paramount importance for this diverse student generation in order to recognise subsequent cohorts for whom motivation and engagement in a holistic learning experience for millennial students could be maximised. While it has been recognised that current learning practices may not address the holistic learning experience of the millennial student, the purpose of this study, through the adoption of the Student-Owned Learning-Engagement (SOLE) model, its nine elements and 42 meta-modes of learning, is to investigate and identify the confluence of meta-modes of learning that could support and influence the millennial student’s holistic learning experience. In response to the needs of aspiring millennial learners, data were obtained from 69 students and 15 teachers by means of a self-administrated questionnaire. A comparison was drawn between the theories that the millennials preferred meta-modes of learning and the modes of teaching that the teachers had adopted. Hence, this study offers strategies to improve the holistic experience of learning. This is performed in a manner that support new empirical emerging and involving modes of learning for the millennial student.


Millennials; Learning; learner; teacher; teaching

Full Text:



Atkinson, S. 2011. Embodied and embedded theory in practice. The Student-Owned Learning-Engagement (SOLE) model. International review of research in open and distance learning, 12(2).

Atkinson, S. & Burden, K. 2011. Learning design for Student-Owned Learner-Engagement. 27th Annual Conference on Distance Teaching & Learning.

Babbie, E. 2005. The basics of social research. 3rd Ed. California: Thomson Wadsworth.

Berliner, D.C. & Calfee, R.C. (Eds.). 2004. Handbook of educational psychology. New York: Routledge.

Biggs, J. & Tang, C. 2011. Teaching for quality learning at University. 4th Ed. Berkshire: McGraw-Hill.

Blumberg, B.F., Cooper, D.R. & Schindler, P.S. 2001. Business research methods. 4th Ed. Berkshire: McGraw-Hill Education.

Bonner, F.A., Marbley, A.F. & Howard-Hamilton, M.F. (Eds.). 2011. Diverse millennial students in college. Implications for faculty and student affairs. Sterling: Stylus Publiching.

Boud, D. & Prosser, M. 2002. Appraising new technologies for learning. A framework for development. Educational Media International, 39(3), 237.

Bruer, J.T. 1993. Schools of thought. A science of learning in the classroom. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Bruffee, K.A. 1993. Collaboration learning. Interdependence and the authority of knowledge. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Burstein, D.D. 2013. Fast Future. How the millennial generation is shaping our world. Massachusetts: Beacon Press.

Caraher, L. 2015. Millennials and management. The essential guide to making it work at work. Brookline: Bibliomotion, Inc.

Cheng, Y.C., Cow, K.W. & Mok, M.C. (Eds.). 2004. Reform of teacher education in the Asia-Pacific in the new millennium. Trend and challenges. Norwell: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Cooms, M.D. & DeBrad, R. (Eds.). 2004. Serving the millennial student. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Darling-Hammond, L. 2006. Constructing 21st-Century teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education, 57(3), 300-314.

Dickenson, P. & Jaurez, J.J. (Eds.). 2016. Increasing productivity and efficiency in online teaching. Hershey: IGI Global.

Dougherty, E. 2012. Assignments matter. Making the connection that help students meet standards. Virginia: ASCD.

Eddy, S., Lyons, S.T. & Schweitzer, L. (Eds.). 2012. Managing the new workforce. International perspectives on the millennial generation. Massachusetts: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Espinoza, C. & Ukleja, M. 2016. Managing the millennials. Discover the core competencies for managing today’s workforce. 2nd Ed. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.

Ferris, S.P. 2012. Teaching, learning, and the Net Generation. Concepts and tools for reaching digital learners. Hersey: IGI Global.

Fielding, J.L. & Gilbert, N. 2003. Understanding social statistics. London: SAGE.

Fisher, M. 2013. Digital learning strategies. How do I assign and assess 21st Century work. Massachusetts: ASCD.

Hidi, S. & Harackiewicz, J.M. 2000. Motivating the academically unmotivated. A critical issue for the 21st Century. Review of Educational Research, 70(2), 151-179.

Hoidn, S. 2017. Student-centred learning environments in higher education. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Holbeche, L. 2015. The agile organization. How to build an innovative, sustainable and resilient business. Philadelphia: Kogan.

Howe, N. & Strauss, W. 2000. Millennials rising: The next great generation. New York: Vintage Books.

Hung, D. W. L. & Chen, D.T. 2001. Thought and learning from the communities of practice perspective: Implications for the design of Web-Based E-Learning. Educational Media International, 38(1), 3-12.

Jones, M.G. & Brader-Araje, L. 2002. The impact of constructivism on education. Language, discourse and meaning. American Communication Journal, 5(3).

Keup, J.R. 2012. Peer leadership in higher education. New direction for higher education. New York: Jossey-Bass.

Knowlton, D.S. & Hagopian, K.J. (Eds.). 2013. From entitlement to engagement. Affirming millennial student’s egos in the higher education classroom. San-Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Luttrell, R. & McGrath, K. 2015. The millennial mindset. Unravelling fact from fiction. London: Rowman and Littlefield.

Manson, K.O. 2014. Preparing for the classroom. What teachers really think about teacher education. London: Rowman & Littlefield.

McInernet, D.M. & Liem, A.D. (Eds.). 2008. Teaching and learning. International best practices. North Carolina: IAP.

McMahon, M. & Pospisil, R. 2005. Laptops for a digital lifestyle. Millennial students and wireless mobile technologies. ASCILITE 2005 Balance, Fidelity, Mobility. Maintaining the momentum, 421-431.

Myhill, D., Jones, S. & Hopper, R. 2006. Talking, listening, learning. Effective talk in the primary classroom. England: Open University Press.

Neufeld, J. 2009. Redefining teacher development. New York: Routledge.

Phillips, C.R. & Trainor, J.E. 2014. Millennial students and the flipped classroom. ASBBS Annual Conference, 21(1), 519-530.

Pitchard, A. & Woollard, J. 2010. Psychology in the classroom. Constructivism and social learning. New York: Routledge.

Rainer, T.S. & Rainer, J.W. 2011. The millennials. Connecting to America’s largest generation. Tennessee: B & H Publishing Group.

Rasmus, D.W. 2011. Management by design. Applying design principles to work experience. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.

Roehl, A., Reddy, S.L. & Shannon, G.J. (2013). The flipped classroom. An opportunity to engage millennial students through active learning strategies. Journal of Family & Consumer Sciences, 105(2), 44-49.

Ryan, L. 2016. The visual imperative. Creating a visual culture of data discovery. Cambridge. Elsevier.

Scardamalia, R.L. 2015. Millennials in America. New York: Berman Press.

Singh, P., Bhandarker, A. & Rai, S. 2012. Millennials and the workplace. Challenges for architecting the organization of tomorrow. New Delhi: SAGE.

Skinner, B.F. 1965. Science and human behaviour. New York: Free Press.

Sokolowski, R. 2000. Introduction to phenomenology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Slattery, J.M. & Carlson, J.F. 2005. Preparing and effective syllabus. Current best practices. College Teaching, 53(4), 159-164.

Taylor, P. & Keeter, S. (Eds.). 2010. Millennials. A portrait of generation next. Pew Research Center Report. (Accessed 04/01/2017).

Uskov, V., Howlett, R.J. & Jain, L.C. (Eds.). 2015. Smart education and smart e-learning. New York: Springer.

Vagle, M.D. 2016. Crafting phenomenological research. New York: Routledge.

Wang, V.C.X. 2017. Encyclopedia of strategic leadership and management. Hersey: IGI Global.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

eISSN: 1753-5913

Copyright © 2016 South African Journal of Higher Education

Hosted by Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service since 2016.

Creative Commons License -CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

This journal is hosted by the SU LIS on request of the journal owner/editor. The SU LIS takes no responsibility for the content published within this journal, and disclaim all liability arising out of the use of or inability to use the information contained herein. We assume no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any breaches of agreement with other publishers/hosts.