Articles

How we see 'Y': South African health sciences students' and lecturers' perceptions of Generation Y students

Lynette J van der Merwe, Gert J van Zyl, Marietjie M Nel, Gina Joubert

Abstract


Background. Health sciences education in the 21st century must recognise the changing profile of students, which includes an understanding of the characteristics of Generation Y students (born between 1981 and 2000) as future healthcare professionals.

Objective. To examine the perceptions of students and lecturers regarding Generation Y students in health sciences that might impact on teaching and learning in a South African setting.

Methods. A quantitative research approach was used to determine undergraduate students’ and lecturers’ perceptions of Generation Y students in the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa. Anonymous questionnaires were used to obtain information.

Results. The study population included students (n=616) and lecturers (n=71). Despite some shared perceptions about generational characteristics, students and lecturers differed significantly on many issues. Unlike lecturers, students perceived themselves as being ambitious (not arrogant) and possessing superior cognitive skills. Despite desiring a vibrant and stimulating learning environment, students wanted face-to-face contact with lecturers. Poor intergenerational communication also emerged as a pertinent issue.

Conclusion. Identification of intergenerational issues that may impact on teaching and learning may contribute to developing novel educational approaches acceptable to both lecturers and students.


Authors' affiliations

Lynette J van der Merwe, Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Gert J van Zyl, Office of the Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Marietjie M Nel, Division of Health Professions Education, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Gina Joubert, Department of Biostatistics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

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Keywords

Generation Y students

Cite this article

African Journal of Health Professions Education 2014;6(1):10-16. DOI:10.7196/AJHPE.307

Article History

Date submitted: 2013-07-10
Date published: 2014-03-25

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