looking down ont9 8 mugs of coffee from black to milky and all shades of coffee inbetween.

How do you like to take your e-learning – with coffee or without?

Whatever your approach, it’s likely you’ll find a diverse range of individuals taking the same online course as you. As this method of learning becomes more and more popular, so we increasingly experience a range of people from different cultures, ethnicities and locations learning alongside us. What’s more, there’s also a strong possibility that the age range will be much wider than it used to be. These age differences fall under the term ‘generational diversity’.

So what is ‘generational diversity’?

Generational diversity is the presence and inclusion of individuals belonging to different generations

Lately we have been exploring the valuable role generational diversity plays in the context of in-person scenarios, be these activities happening at home, in educational settings, or within spaces of the wider community.

Today, we are going to consider the equally important role generational diversity plays in virtual spaces, specifically that of e-learning platforms. I know! It sounds counter-intuitive doesn’t it, when the image that will first appear to mind is that of a person, sat solo, staring into their digital device? Please bear with us, and all will become clear!

How does generational diversity impact e-learning platforms?

E-learning has become an increasingly important tool for education, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the rise of online learning platforms, learners can now access high-quality education from anywhere in the world, be that from the comfort of their own home, educational setting, or workplace.

At Musicbuds, an awareness of generational diversity played a big part in the development of our e-learning platform: recognising how different generations bring with them their unique learning styles, preferences, and technological competencies, which would affect how they engage with, and could potentially benefit from, their e-learning experience.

For example, Baby Boomers and Generation X learners often prefer a more structured and formal approach to e-learning, while Millennials and Generation Z learners often prefer a more interactive and social approach. Additionally, Baby Boomers and Generation X learners sometimes have less familiarity with technology, while Millennials and Generation Z learners are sometimes more tech-savvy. That’s a lot of differences!

What are the benefits of creating generationally diverse e-learning platforms?

Following are four of the main benefits that we, here at Musicbuds, have found to be particularly significant:

  1. Generationally diverse communities bring a variety of perspectives to the table

    A key benefit of developing a generationally diverse e-learning community is that participants gain access to a variety of perspectives beyond that of their own. When learners come from different generations, cultures, backgrounds, and experiences, they bring with them different ways of thinking and approaching problems. This often leads to a more well-rounded understanding of course content and can help learners to develop a broader perspective on the subject and world.

  2. Social interactions:

    An ability to hear and use intonation helps children to understand social cues and to interact with others more effectively. By learning to read the tone of voice in others, children can better interpret the intentions and emotions of their peers, which in turn helps them to then respond appropriately.

  3. Generationally diverse communities enrich collaborations:

    Although participants of e-learning courses quite often live in very different geographical locations to one another (often on different time-zones too!), real-time technologies virtual, for example, over Zoom, or via Facebook Group or Instagram Live, enable learners to still learn within a real-time community, where they can share ideas, ask questions, and provide feedback to one another. This helps to deepen their understanding of the subject matter and make the learning process more engaging and interactive.

    Learning within a community of generationally diverse participants can help learners build valuable interpersonal skills such as active listening, empathy, tolerance, and acceptance of differences. This can be particularly beneficial in today’s globalized society, where the ability to work with diverse groups of people is becoming increasingly important.

  4. Generationally diverse communities prepare learners for the real world:

    Having generationally diverse e-learning communities also helps learners develop skills that will be valuable in their future careers. In today’s globalized workforce, it is essential to be able to work with people from different cultures and backgrounds. By participating in diverse e-learning communities, learners will develop intercultural competencies and gain experience of collaborating with people from different parts of the world. This provides valuable skills that can help them succeed in the global workforce and make a positive impact locally within their chosen fields.

a group of diverse children holding hands and dancing and singing in a circle

Generational diversity is the presence and inclusion of individuals belonging to different generations

Wherever possible, at Musicbuds we aim to produce learning materials and an e-learning platform that caters for every individual forming a part of our generationally diverse community. We do this by making a commitment to offer our learners:

  • Accessibility: designing our platform interfaces to be intuitive and user-friendly, making it easier for learners of all ages and technical abilities to navigate and access the educational materials. We also offer personalized support and feedback to learners, which can help to address any barriers or challenges they may face. This can include direct access to specialized tutors, personalized tuition, and instant feedback on quizzes and assignment.

  • Flexibility: to study at their own pace and on their own schedule, making it easier for people from different generations to learn together and from one another.
  • Customisation: customized learning plans that cater to the individual needs and preferences of learners from different generations, providing ample support (e.g. guides) to learners who may struggle with technology. Simultaneously, we also work to stretch the learning participants, so they feel suitably challenged and inspired to keep actively engaged in their studies. .
  • Mixed-media content: offering a wide range of mixed-media content, such as videos, animations, PDF’s (print and images), audio files, and interactive quizzes, that cater to different learning styles and preferences, helping to learners to learn in the way that suits them best.
  • Collaborative learning: encouraging learners from different generations to work together on projects and assignments, facilitating them to build stronger relationships between one another and to foster a growing sense of community and collaboration.
  • Lifelong learning: offering courses and resources that aim to cater for learners of different ages and skill levels, diversity and inclusion needs, our e-learning platform strives to promote intergenerational learning that ensures people will continue to learn and grow throughout their lives.

To accommodate generational diversity, e-learning platforms like ours needs to continually provide a variety of up-to-date learning options, such as video tutorials, interactive simulations, gamification, and social learning communities. As new technologies and virtual methodologies develop at a (frighteningly!) quickening speed, please feel free to inform us of any new tools you come across that may be of benefit to our development!


Dr Clare Seymour
Clare has spent much of her professional career (over 30 years) in international settings. Part of her Doctoral research involved exploring the often hidden aspects of institutional racism. As a result she has a longstanding interest in, and passion for, promoting positive Diversity.

In addition to school music-teaching, Clare also has over 10 years’ experience working as an international music examiner – an understanding and respect for Diversity is so crucially important in every aspect of her practice.