Generation Z defined; The 5 characteristics of today's students

Friday, September 09, 2016

For today’s students, growing up with the emerging technologies at their fingertips has blurred the lines of work and social, of study and entertainment, of private and public. They now live in an open book environment – just a few clicks away from any information. They connect in a border less world across countries and cultures, and they communicate in a post-literate community where texts and tweets are brief, and where visuals and videos get the most cut-through.

At McCrindle, we are regularly engaged by a variety of organisations to assist with understanding who Generation Z is, what context they are being shaped in the traits that define them. Before we can engage this generation, we first need to understand them.

So how can we understand the emerging generations and their learning habits? Well, based on our research, here are five characteristics of today’s students:


Traditionally, learning took place in the classroom and the practice and application through homework. However, in the 21st Century, content can now be accessed through technology anywhere, and often in very visual and engaging forms. Thus we have the flipping of education where the learning takes place outside the classroom, but the essential engagement and practice is still conducted at school, by the all-important facilitator, rather than the teacher.


Not only through technology do today’s students interact, but they are mobile in terms of the jobs they will have and the homes they will live in. It is therefore important to think about how you can equip this generation with not just content but resilience in a changing world.


Today's generation of students are truly global, and are the most likely generation to work in multiple countries. They’re the most globally connected and influenced generation in history and are not limited to the local, but are global as never before.


We've called the emerging generation, Gen Alpha, but we also call them Generation Glass, because it is not just pen and paper, but iPads and screens on which they will learn, which are designed to not just display the written but the visual. While today’s students need literacy they also need digital skills to thrive in this changing world.


In an era of information overload, messages have increasingly become image-based and signs, logos and brands communicate across the language barriers with colour and picture rather than with words and phrases. Communicating symbols and pictures with stories isn’t an entirely new concept. Most ancient forms of communication such as indigenous rock art, reinforces the notion that it is pictures not words that tell the story. Visuals are also the way in which the brain processes information best. It can retain visual symbols and images rather than just written content. Our analysis of learning styles has shown the dominance in the visual and hands on learning styles, above auditory delivery form, which has traditionally dominated the classroom.

To find out more about Generation Z, visit our site and if we can assist with any presentations on the topic of the emerging generations, please feel free to get in touch.

About Ashley McKenzie - Team Leader of Communications at McCrindle

Ashley McKenzie is a social researcher, trends analyst and Team Leader of Communications at the internationally recognised McCrindle. As a trends analyst she understands the need for organisations to communicate with the emerging generations to effectively engage and motivate them. 

From her experience in managing media relations, social media platforms, content creation and event management, Ashley is well positioned to advise how to achieve cut through in these message-saturated times. 

Her expertise is in training and equipping leaders and teams on how to communicate across generational barriers.


Welcome to our blog...

We have a passion for research that tells a story, that can be presented visually, that brings about change and improves organisations. And we hope these resources help you know the times.

Our Social Media Sites

Facebook | McCrindle Research Social Media YouTube | McCrindle Research Social Media Twitter | McCrindle Research Social Media Flickr | McCrindle Research Social Media Pinterest | McCrindle Research Social Media Google Plus | McCrindle Research Social Media LinkedIn | McCrindle Research Social Media Mark McCrindle Slideshare

Last 150 Articles


click Australian Families focus group local communities cultural diversity financial dreams winter blues energy Australian Bureau of Statistics fresh baby name predictions social research millenials staying in sun case study engagement emerging trends 1968 demographic menai internship states innovation 1975 forecast proactive media commentary customer car census entrepreneur trend divorce Australian Census high density Australian communities Financial Planning Association of Australia professional speaker christmas Geoff Brailey NT cooking apartment church 2016 census results spend sydneycity social commentary holiday salary education future report internships Kirsten Brewer technology generation Z challenge weather education future faux-cilise ABS etiquette generation alpha wage domestic low density poor education research FOMO long weekend bureau the average aussie social analysis the changing face of economy population increasing densification debate social enquiry australian communities forum CBD high school cancel plans hornsby not-for-profit visual TAS social researcher cost online shopping group session IT Specialists waverton school students presentation capital city criminal weekly earnings names research data data visualisation work mates bondi in depth interviews Northern Territory sydney event friendship forecasting group hills shire buildings visualisation fears australian social research blaxland presentations food urban year 7 megatrends social shopping research visualisation cars HSC population milestone shopper's pick REIV Conference new york times future of education trends of 2016 google neutral bay personal growth work DESTEL social shifts society trends real omnibus offenders Northern Beaches baby name trends Mark McCrindle baby names faux-ciliser house price ageing population wolloomooloo christian deloitte research pack brand experience Christmas presents water Territory Population Clock 2016 census insight renting logan earning ipswich ashley fell gender builders engage world couple Education Future Forum community event entrepreneurial cancelling event Australia Day Duchess of Cambridge office house prices sydneysiders education sector environmental scanning sydney hills census fail jobs goals travel victoria award winner The Daily Edition coffee school identity New South Wales report communicate communication consumerism SMSF Gen Y optus capital cities mobile aged care puzzle holidays prince george research services employment sydney metro insights 1980 forum Sydney investor organisational culture tea professional services unaffordable students Real Estate Institute of Victoria commuters list income mining boom sector wide christianity future proof educated financial bus typical australian politics optimistic demographic trends 2014 affordable EFF baby boomers Crime Rates global households university resource urban taskforce geomapping schools students social commentator future census results panel Tasmania ashley mckenzie professional development Myth internet generational trends 2012 housing growth growth gold coast marketing mccrindle research population growth The ABC of XYZ monarchy global financial crisis career data analyst Aussie vegemite demographer Melbourne wealth and income national wealth travelling change social trends FPA recap new office unemployment skills video dream Tuesday Trends emerging technologies divorce rate balance Australia Day 2017 alpha Research Executive housing affordability clothing ACF cancelling plans twentyseventeen Christmas season gen alpha shifts huffington post entrepreneurs of today trends baby name rule keeper office opening Financial Planning Association meetings lifestyle Australian demographics 10 years Western Australia sentiments eliane miles stats young people millionth 2017 culturally diverse generation daily commute house price rise Australian Communities Trends curiosity national crime rates investing newspaper Christmas lunch public speaker 40 million mortgage tattoos teaching dare to dream TDE teleworking mccrindle tea Do It Yourself communications education graphs Northern Beaches Christian School rising house prices housing market speakers publication parents mover and shaker millennials GPO analysis ideas "know the times" world youth day business index social lives Charlotte suburbs authenticity mythbusting charity baby ease of travel social researchers interactive sports narcissism 24,000,000 workforce January 26th village keynote home owner ACT sector wide study event media activity workplace culture ethnography growing population Australian Trends public speaking Births brand Kiwi norwest paying to work Bathburst non profit Queensland conference speaker australia royal family high density living follow tv home ownership cash transport baby boom conference brands New Zealand happiness daily telegraph generations hobart Adelaide anzac cartodb crows nest area public holiday English System's Architect woolworths toys results property gen z census 2016 pharmacy owning a home living New Zeland meals SA safe thrive repayments Tuesday Trend equip ACF 2016 property price australians staying home more #censusfail 2020 women young australians conference presentation rent McCrindle Speakers South Australia NSW study facts survey lalor park learning earn perth university degree pyrmont nfp February 16 potts point research Australian Home financial fears future proofing middle class business focus groups online wedding innovative men snapshot moreton bay sunny days townhouses in the media office space keynote speaker cost of living financial independence litter trends of 2017 dreaming google for education Gen X Scouts budget not for profit language 2013 house tableau VIC government Social Trend greatness Australian Dream sydney speaker outsourcing australian communities trends report annual income Netflix Real Estate summer thought leadership socialites relational work-life finance Queensland: QLD sustainable average aussie urban living mother's day Caregiver manly overcast moderators guide media release staff Wodonga training kate middleton 2016 small business urban living index going out Wagga Wagga Channel 7 housing careers selfie sunburnt country contiki demographic transformations tertiary education statistics networking mentor family Christchurch child care organisations hopes ultimo teach slideshare friends 1994 learner relevant award researcher Word Up mccrindle city the hills conferences dessert families land of the middle class eliane responsive digital renter of the future healthy future Love storytelling PSI princess charlotte future of work religion program post rationalism participants 24 million pharmacies leadership consumer trend tuesday teacher JOMO motivate rich global generations REIV National Conference Australians Wellington mccrindle in the media commute future-proof Merry Christmas qualitative research cold residents employers survey design ferry media wellbeing the hills shire local collaboration state communities personalities entertainment vegetarian Aussies aged care wealth and income distribution jobs of the future aussie culture Generation Y medicine student Hornsby Shire Council educhat professional easter school satisfaction children social issues marriages marrickville Generation X demographics affordability housing trends earnings mateship wages intern royal national private wealth the australian dream youth economic leader property market learn retirement father's day workplace wealth mythbusters hello fresh social impact cloudy days 23 million volunteers supply and demand tips suburb Valentine’s Day changing face of sydney wealth distribution crime product teachers community engagement seasons goal plans news rental stress Engineering Manager resilience poker master darwin Sydney keynote speaker society experience trends analyst brisbane home debt 2015 rise of local stay home know the times investment socialising train social change emerging generations easy rider faux-cilising culture Northern beaches Event celebration futurist rain priorities infographic marriage population map life WA environment events learning styles ageing parenting data workshop Channel Seven household Canberra royal influence acf15 DIY sector World Water Day leadership workshop quote financial future community grandparents Australian schools youth unemployment royal baby winter collaborative Deaths year 12 Assistant Store Manager tuesday optus my business awards NEETs Financial Planning Week high density apartments infographic wall schools suburban living social media market research Res Vis story shbc Royals social life define