The Gooey Behaviour among Millennial Learners in a Malaysian Institute of Higher Learning

Sheila Cheng
Asia e University
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

A report from Informate Mobile Intelligence in 2015 indicated that people in the USA check their Facebook, Twitter and other social media a whopping 17 times a day – but, in this context, Americans are not alone. In fact, smartphone users in Malaysia, Thailand, Argentina, Mexico, South Africa and Qatar check these networking apps at least 40 times a day. Davis (2015) reported that people spend an average of eight hours 41 minutes a day on media devices. We call this act of netizens being glued to their smartphones “gooey behaviour”. In Malaysia, students in the higher educational institutions (HEIs) are allowed to bring their smartphones into the classrooms. However, this gooey behaviour among the millennial learners has two significant effects, especially on the roles of the classroom instructor. On the positive side, it has helped to authenticate the data of instructors; but it has a negative impact in distraction from other non-related activities. Both behaviours pose challenges to the ‘traditional’ pedagogical mode. It has been found that, whether the effects produced were positive or negative, the chalk-and-talk of lecture delivery is now challenged as an effective way to engage these netizens in learning. This paper presents part of the research findings on a sample of 30 students who were undergraduates aged 19 to 24 and were studying in a Malaysian HEI. A mixed-research methodology was employed in this study which included a questionnaire survey and face-to-face interviews. The millennial learners indicated their views on “an interesting lecture” as being a lecture which should be fun, useful and meaningful, and able to make students’ curious and attract their attention. The results call for a disruptive innovation in teaching and learning, and a transformation in pedagogy. This paper also provides insights for instructors who are designers of their lessons on how to orchestrate lessons in ways which engage these gooey netizens.