Consumers and Makers: Exploring Opposing Paradigms of Millennial College Readiness

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Consumers and Makers: Exploring Opposing Paradigms of Millennial College Readiness

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The political and technological circumstances of the past two decades have culminated in opposing epistemic paradigms of college readiness, where millennial students’ conceptual understanding of “learning” is both narrowed to meet the demands of school systems bound to accountability and amplified by a rapidly evolving digital world. The researcher theorized that students situated within these paradigms may have developed dispositions toward the purpose of learning as primarily either consumption-oriented (consumers) or creation-oriented (makers). This study hypothesized that correlations existed among these consumer/maker dispositions and millennial college students’ epistemic beliefs and key learning skills. The researcher developed an original survey instrument that was provided to a sample of 625 first year students (primarily 18-19 years of age) at a Midwestern liberal arts university. Quantitative, statistical analyses of responses were completed to develop constructs, understand variables, and determine the nature of relationships between variables. The results of these analyses found that respondents were 3-to-28-times more likely to demonstrate consumer dispositions than maker dispositions. The data supported the hypothesis of this study: statistically significant, positive correlations were present in 13 out of 24 instances, suggesting that as one approached the likelihood of having a maker disposition, one was also more likely to exhibit sophistication of epistemic beliefs and to have initiated or developed key learning skills through both high school experiences and the use of information-communication technologies.


University of Minnesota D.Ed. dissertation.April 2017. Major: Teaching and Learning. Advisors: Lynn Brice, Insoon Han. 1 computer file (PDF); v, 136 pages.

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Jackson, Matthew. (2017). Consumers and Makers: Exploring Opposing Paradigms of Millennial College Readiness. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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