- Z세대의 공부법과 대학교육
|▲ Students studying in a open reading room at the Jeongbomaru|
Generation Z, or Gen Z for short, is a young generation of people who were born from the middle of the 1990s to the early 2000s. Their childhood was spent with electronic devices in the digital environment, which makes them feel very comfortable using the Internet and applications, so they are also called “digital natives.” They prefer visual elements like images and videos rather than text. Sharing their interests via different types of media and creating visual content on social media are very popular for them. Gen Z have changed cultural landscapes as “prosumers” who both produce and consume cultural content. By pursuing fun and flexible thinking, things change very rapidly, even right now. This kind of lifestyle has applied to the way they study. The Chonnam Tribune examined how they have changed their study habits and its implication for learning and teaching at the university.
|▲ A student studying with her lo-fi playlist while connected to a Zoom study room|
Making the Best Study Space
As this generation is living in a world where customization is a common thing, they tend to consume products that are customized only for them, pursuing their own style. With this track, they want to have their own study space. They try their best to find a great study place where they can keep up with their study, or they are even willing to make their own place by using a variety of methods. With online platforms, people in Gen Z build up the environment by themselves however they want. If there are only certain programs running on their electronic device, no matter where they are, their study place is completed. They never hesitate to make their study space at any place they want to study.
Many of them listen to Lo-fi, which stands for Low Fidelity music, to make themselves able to focus on their studies anywhere. Park Ye-chan (Junior, Faculty of Earth System and Environmental Sciences) said that with new auditory elements and rhythms being inserted into his brain, he can maintain their tension and carry on with his studies. Not only changing what they hear, they also create a good learning environment. With the online platform called “Notion,” they can modify their study space using its functions including inline, media and advanced blocks. For example, students can put text or make a bunch of codes, an excel list, a calendar, to-do-lists, quotes, pictures, videos, audio files and even other applications such as Google Maps and YouTube onto the platform. If they are connected to the Internet and can turn on Notion, anywhere can be their one-and-only study place.
|▲ Students studying in a student lounge at the College of Engineering 7 building|
Furthermore, they even imagine themselves as a movie character to study effectively. For example, they can be students of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry with “Study with me live videos at Hogwarts.” With all realistic and vivid sounds from the video, they feel as if they are students studying in front of Professor Severus Snape in the Hogwarts library. Jeong Hee-su (Senior, Dept. of Animal Science) said, “I am such an avid fan of the “Harry Potter” series. I can delude myself that I am a Hogwarts student. If I have Internet access, everywhere can be my favorite study place. There is no place I cannot make.” By continuing to change who they are, where they are, they can immerse themselves more into studying with new stimuli to their brains.
Studying Alone Together
Although Gen Z want to create their own one-and-only space to study, they still have an urge to connect or study with other people. They have a tendency to overcome isolation through online group study spaces via platforms or offline cafés, where they can study and be motivated by each other. By doing this, studying alone together is one of the new trends among members of the generation.
|▲ A student checking his and his friends’ timers on the YPT application while studying|
The application called “YPT” enables them to join one of the study clubs on the platform with random people or with their friends in real life. Then, they turn on the timer in the app and study. The duration of time they are studying counts through the application, so they can objectively check the exact seconds, minutes and hours they have been studying for. Lee Gi-myeong (Junior, Dept. of Psychology) said, “Even though I want to take a rest, I can see other people keeping on studying and the time increases by the second. So, I feel like I should not stop studying. I become competitive somehow.” The feature of YPT triggers users’ competitive spirit and motivates them to keep studying. Gen Z also study together through live video streaming by using online platforms such as “Zoom” or “StudyStream.” These virtual study spaces are really effective study methods for them. No matter where they are, if they just have the Internet, they can be connected to each other.
A study café, which combines a reading room and a café, is the place that Gen Z prefer to study alone together. As it has a bright, wide, and open communal space but it is not too noisy, they can study effectively, getting the study vibe to keep on studying. Hong Ji-eun (Sophomore, Dept. Veterinary Medicine) said, “A reading room, or so-called ‘dokseosil’ in Korean, is usually too narrow and dark. Moreover, I get used to that space too fast and get no tension, feeling no guilt even though I do not study since I am all alone.” For similar reasons, open reading rooms in the Joeongbomaru, which is also called “Digital Library” at Chonnam National University, is very popular among students. These rooms allow students to choose their seats and engage in study individually in a communal atmosphere. Studying by ourselves is a very lonely thing, so if students isolate themselves in a solitary place, it would not be effective for maintaining their focus. They want to have a silent but inspiring space where they can study alone together.
|▲ Students studying in a student lounge at the College of Engineering 7 building|
Sharing Study Notes
One of the characteristics of Gen Z is sharing their interests in daily life, and also they are good at making visual and auditory content, compared to previous generations. These skills enable this generation to share what they study and to communicate via online community applications. They are used to getting information and sharing their lives with each other continuously using a variety of social media.
Just go to online open chat rooms on KakaoTalk, and search the name of the examination you are preparing for, or attach the word ‘study’ after the name of the exam. You can simply look up a lot of chat rooms where people are communicating about their studies and exams. Instagram is one of the well-projected applications of that kind of sharing lifestyle. The young people post what they are doing, eating or with whom they are hanging out with right now in real time. Sharing what they study cannot be the exception of their traits. There is a thing called “Gongsta,” which means they make Instagram study accounts and post what they study and they keep communicating with other people who also run the Gongsta. They upload their study plans and how many hours they studied on the account. By sharing these study things together, they motivate each other and study more effectively.
Because of these things mentioned above, most of the young generation organize a variety of offline study groups and share information including their study notes. The word ‘study’ has become a suffix now. With a combination of words, any kind of study group can be formed. A student joins simultaneous multiple study groups to conduct a team project, to prepare for examinations, and so on. For example, Gen Z use a wake-up study group to share the time they wake up to improve their lifestyle. Sometimes even by using a GPS application, they supervise each other, check whether they are in the place they are supposed to be at a certain time. They utilize this concept of ‘study’ to keep in touch with society and to achieve their goals.
|▲ A student doing her work while using the platform Notion|
Gen Z and Its Implication for Higher Education
Gen Z pursue their own distinctive study places, but at the same time, they still want to be connected with people online or offline. They also never hesitate to share information and communal spaces with others. The above-mentioned study methods or styles are changing the concept of study, creating a new culture of learning and teaching in higher education. Jeon Ha-ram (Professor, Dept. of Education) said, “University students in their early and mid twenties are willing to use essential methods to achieve their goals including studying. Thus, higher education should adopt the utilization of linked knowledge and applications to real life as one of the most important educational goals, while respecting the ways Gen Z study to maximize their results. However, obsession of their uniqueness can lead to a lack of social support and subsequent anxiety. Consequently, university authorities should support professors and lecturers to give more attention to what students are worrying about and to make closer relationships with their students.”
It is really important to find out the ways students can enjoy studying, and not only complain about it. Students in the age of a lot of information and platforms should be aware of the tactics and know how to utilize those new technologies in their own way to maximize their productivity. Universities should keep pace with the changes of Gen Z’s studying styles and develop innovative and hybrid learning and teaching methods that reflect their traits and needs.
By Hong Ji-u, Tribune Reporter
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