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New Research Finds YouTube, Video Drives Generation Z Learning Preference

NEW YORK, NY (August 8, 2018) – Pearson, the digital education company, today released the findings of its new report, “Beyond Millennials: The Next Generation of Learners”, highlighting the similarities and differences between Generation Z (defined as ages 14-23) and Millennials (defined as ages 24-40). The survey found that Generation Z ranked YouTube and video as preferred methods for learning by significant margins over Millennials. In fact, YouTube was second only to teachers as a learning tool, and ranked well ahead of lectures, in-person activities with classmates, learning applications and books.

As Generation Z enters and settles into college, technology has already shaped their educational expectations, even more so than for the previous generation of traditional college students, Millennials. Generation Z expects experiences both inside and outside the classroom that are more rewarding, more engaging and less time consuming. Technology is no longer a transformative phenomena for this generation, but rather a normal, integral part of life.

“To understand the future of learning-and especially higher education-we have to understand not just how the future of work and skills is evolving, but how students are changing and what’s on their minds,” said Asha Choksi, vice president of global research and insights at Pearson. “Generation Z didn’t have to adapt to new technologies like their predecessors–they have been immersed in it their entire lives. This has led to students demanding changes to education, including accelerated, flexible and adaptive education options and tools.”

The research paints an interesting picture for educators and higher education leaders beyond Generation Z’s educational preferences. By a margin of more than 20%, Generation Z respondents were more likely to say they want to make it to the top of their future profession one day versus Millennials. The group is also very altruistic- 60% of Generation Z respondents agreed that they want to help people less fortunate, compared to 48% of Millennials. Diversity was another important value, as more than 6 in 10 Generation Z respondents agreed that having diverse friends make them a better person, while slightly more than half of Millennials agreed with that statement.

Among other key takeaways:

  • As much as Generation Z has embraced technology for social engagement, they very much still value an on-campus education experience. Compared to Millennials, 45% of whom seek out as many online courses as possible, only 26% of Generation Z would prefer taking online courses.
  • Generation Z and Millennials both ranked teachers and professors as the top influencers for their personal development (78% and 80% respectively), higher than parents and their peers.
  • 80% of Generation Z respondents and 74% of Millennials agreed that college either has a fair amount of value, is a good value or is an excellent value. Only 20% of Generation Z students and 26% of Millennials said college has “little value” or “no value at all.”

This research was conducted by The Harris Poll, a global market research firm based in New York. Results are based on responses from a 30-minute nationally representative online survey of 2,587 respondents, 14 to 40-years old. Results were weighted for age, gender, race/ethnicity, marital status, household income, and education where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population. Survey respondents were selected based on their age, education, and quality of response from leading online research panels.

View the findings of the report – Beyond Millennials: The Next Generation of Learners (PDF | 661.82 KB)



Scott Overland, (202) 909-4520

About Pearson

Pearson is the world’s learning company, with expertise in educational courseware and assessment, and a range of teaching and learning services powered by technology. Our mission is to help people make progress through access to better learning. We believe that learning opens up opportunities, creating fulfilling careers and better lives. For more, visit

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