Students grown up with digital technology and Internet are called digital natives or net generation. All others, who grew up without so much immersion with digital technologies are called digital immigrants. Researchers held different ideas on whether a new generation of learners existed. The foci of the debate is whether taking age as the main symbol to divide “digital native” and “digital immigrants”.
Material and methods:
This paper presents the analysis of the debate and on that basis hypothesizes that the time length for using technology could be used as the criteria for digital learners. In order to test the hypothesis and understand learners’ learning preference, a large-scale survey with 44470 participants and 7 focus group interviews were conducted.
Results showed NetizenYears could be used as the criteria of digital learners, and non-digital learners and digital learners had significantly different Internet use patterns. More positive attitudes to Internet, more active participation online and more tendency to Internet addiction were found for digital learners with NetizenYears increasing.
The gap between digital learner’s preferred learning approach and teaching methods in classroom was discussed. The paper concludes with a discussion on using the time length of using technology as the criteria for digital learners.