Theoretical Perspectives of How Digital Natives Learn

Charles Kivunja


Marck Prensky, an authority on teaching and learning especially with the aid of Information and Communication Technologies, has referred to 21st century children born after 1980 as ‘Digital Natives’. This paper reviews literature of leaders in the field to shed some light on theoretical perspectives of how Digital Natives learn and how we can use that knowledge to facilitate learning by Digital Natives. To locate this understanding within the context of general Educational Theory, the paper first presents a brief historical review of the foundational educational theories on how people learn. It then discusses some of the contemporary theories on how Digital Natives learn. Out of these two bodies of knowledge the paper synthesizes an understanding of principles, strategies and practices that we could use to effectively teach Digital Natives and facilitate their learning. It is my hope that this review will help readers develop a deeper understanding of how learners of the digital generation learn and how we can design our pedagogical principles and practices to better meet the needs of the digital learners in our teaching contexts today.

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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