Designing EdTech Solutions for Generation Alpha: Importance of Co-design

September 25, 2023

Education has undergone a significant transformation in recent years, driven by the global pandemic, advances in technology, and the changing needs of learners. Generation Alpha, born in the early 2010s, will be the first generation to grow up entirely in a world shaped by advanced technology. As such, their behavioral, cognitive, and socio-emotional needs will differ from those of Gen Z and Millenials. They are passionate about interactive, engaging, collaborative learning environments that encourage social and emotional learning. Meeting their unique needs calls for a transformative shift in EdTech solutions — one that is deeply rooted in human-centric design. For organizations, reimagining education for Gen Alpha demands innovative and collaborative approaches. It now takes more than a singular methodology to address educational challenges. That’s why co-design is a must.

Understanding Generation Alpha

Generation Alpha, born after 2010, represents the youngest and most digitally immersed generation to date. They are currently learning, exploring, and growing in K–12 environments. This cohort has been growing up in a world characterized by constant connectivity and has never known a time without the internet or smartphones.[1] Highly tech-savvy and comfortable using technology for learning, collaboration and entertainment; these young people are socially conscious, multidisciplinary entrepreneurs.

Characteristics of the Generation Alpha

  • They are accustomed to integrating technology into their lives

Generation Alpha is a generation like no other in the way that they seamlessly integrate technology into their daily lives. They are accustomed to getting information quickly and easily. This tech-savvy generation thrives in dynamic, engaging, and collaborative learning environments that also encourage social and emotional learning. [2]

  • They have a strong sense of social consciousness and desire social change

They are growing up in a world where climate change, sustainability, social inequality, cybersecurity, and human well-being are at the center of public discourse, and they are passionate about positively impacting the world. They view these global challenges not as obstacles but as opportunities for innovation and positive transformation. They seek to harness the power of technology and collaboration to address these issues. As they navigate the educational landscape, they are driving a shift towards a more purpose-driven, socially aware approach to learning.

  • They thrive in collaborative environments

From a young age, with their interactions with social media, gaming, and technology platforms, they are comfortable with being in collaborative environments. They thrive in environments that encourage teamwork, creative problem-solving and decision making. They value the richness that diverse viewpoints bring to the table. This generation is driven by the desire to achieve collective goals and make a positive impact on their communities and the world.

  • They value self-expression and multidisciplinarity

And learning environments, platforms, and spaces that enable it. They engage with things that allow them to express their ideas and opinions uniquely. Generation Alpha is drawn to learning experiences that provide the freedom to explore and express their personalities. In their learning journey, they seek out opportunities to integrate knowledge from multiple disciplines, connect dots easily, and foster a holistic understanding of the world. 

  • They have a willingness to experiment

They have a strong desire to continually explore new ideas, try new things, and they eagerly seek feedback. They embrace the opportunity to refine and enhance their knowledge through iterative learning. With an entrepreneurial spirit, they love getting the chance to redo things using the newly acquired learnings. They are good at fostering a growth mindset rather than adhering to a “one and done” approach in their educational journey. They  also feel empowered by the many resources available to them, including generative AI-driven systems and online education platforms; which can help them quickly turn their ideas into reality, such as designing digital apps and launching social campaigns.

  • They value agency and personalization

Because members of Gen Alpha are immersed in information and technology from a very young age, they are more focused on practical applications of their knowledge.
This drive towards entrepreneurship and professional development asks for a learning experience that is contextualized and connected to the real world. The next generation of students requires agency and validation of their ideas that go beyond standardized testing and traditional metrics.

Current challenges with meeting their needs

Meeting their distinctive cognitive, behavioral, and socio-emotional needs presents a pressing challenge for existing educational institutions. It’s critical to recognize their unique needs, as education systems and EdTech solutions prepare students to be better individuals who can navigate an ambiguous and complex future.

The gap in meeting the educational needs of Generation Alpha encompasses various facets, including the cultivation of metacognitive abilities, seamless technological integration, and the nurturing of socio-emotional competencies into their learning experiences. Moreover, according to the World Economic Forum’s 2020 The Future of Jobs Report, some of the top skills for the future include complex problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, and emotional intelligence. These components are integral to be adapted to Generation Alpha’s learning environments to equip them with the skills necessary to thrive.

In response to these challenges, we believe that a human-centered approach that emphasizes co-design becomes indispensable. Co-design is a participatory approach to design and innovation that values inclusivity, collaboration, and the active involvement of stakeholders throughout the design process. As these learners have a distinct approach to education, such as valuing iterative processes and active involvement in the solutions that are tailored to their experiences, co-design is needed to guarantee better learning outcomes.

A New Approach for the New Generation

For educational institutions and providers, reimagining education for Generation Alpha will require a collaborative approach that facilitates exploring and experimenting. Generation Alpha students carry a strong desire to continually try new ideas, do new things, and seek feedback. They embrace the opportunity to refine and enhance their knowledge through iterative learning and with opportunities to redo things using their newly acquired learnings.

They value hands-on, experiential learning that allows them to apply their skills and knowledge in real-world contexts.[3]

With these distinct characteristics and values, they expect to have an active voice and involvement in the solutions that are designed for them. We believe that days when a singular perspective of leaders could address complex educational challenges are gone and co-design is now no longer optional but essential when building educational tools and environments for this generation.

This human-centric design approach allows for immediate feedback, diverse problem-solving, and shared ownership that are intrinsically aligned with Generation Alpha‘s behavioral characteristics and expectations. Co-design can provide an empowering form of participation in design for this generation and thus achieve digital inclusion goals. [4]

Aligning a shared collective vision with Generation Alpha students when designing EdTech solutions will be crucial for their effectiveness. We can learn a lot and create products that speak to this generation by including them in the design process and placing their needs and experiences front and center. A collective involvement of Generation Alpha students, teachers, organization leaders, and parents will make sure that emerging EdTech solutions are grounded in their needs.

The earlier educators can bring this young generation into the process, the more they’ll hear and build on ideas together. Ultimately, the solution will be something the students will be excited about because they will have made it happen. Involving this young generation in the process will also help educators iterate their solutions, experiment quickly, and see what did not work so that they can start doing something new.

Guiding Questions for Stakeholders

We invite stakeholders to some guiding open questions:

How are Generation Alpha voices involved in the way you design learning systems?

How might we seek education solutions that are aligned with the desired visions of learning of this generation?

Co-design activities can be accomplished through interactive discovery workshop techniques that encourage creativity and self-expression. Collaborative discovery activities, including gamified real-world scenarios, can immerse this young generation of students to be open to sharing their needs and generate belonging to the designed learning systems. Imagining workshops in the form of play can excite this generation to design solutions together with educators.

At Monstarlab, we enjoy learning from Generation Alpha and creating solutions with them. Our recent project for a prominent global organization of K-12 schools involved primary and secondary students and teachers co-designing digital experiences for measuring and developing their metacognitive skills. When designing solutions, mutual learning that occurs early in the product development process can expand benefits and create learning opportunities that are engaging, meaningful, and impactful.

Our team would like to know your challenges in designing EdTech solutions. Reach out to our education experts to set a 1:1 consultancy session or schedule a co-design workshop with us to reimagine tailored educational tools for your ecosystem needs.


[1],[3] Y.Kong, Gamifying Higher Education for Generation Alpha: Aligning Cognitive Needs with Business Value through a Human-Centered Approach, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2023

[2] Cathy Hackl, The Business Case for Understanding Generation Alpha, Harvard Business Review, 2023

[4] M. Cardona, R.Rodríguez, K. Ishmael, Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Teaching and Learning, U.S. Office of Educational Technology Insights and Recommendations, 2023



Sila Eser

Sila Eser

Experience Designer

You may also like

Trish Martin Americas

July 29, 2022

A Q&A with Trish Martin, Head of Product & Strategy for the Americas

A Q&A with Trish Martin, Head of Product & Strategy for the Americas   Monstarlab Americas is excited to welcome our newest addition to our growing team. Trish Martin comes onboard as the Head of Product...

BFSI Customer Experience Digital Culture Digital Experience Design Featured Our Team Product Management Product Strategy Technology

April 11, 2021

How Stores Can Drive Business in the “Next Normal”

By Daniel Kalick, Director of Strategy, Monstarlab   Part of our Wholesale, Retail, & eCommerce Series   The quest to reopen stores is just the beginning. To emerge stronger from the pandemic, bra...

Experience Design

In order to improve this website, we use cookies. For more information please read our Terms of Service. To agree with the use of cookies on this website, please click the ‘Continue’ button.