Education Dive covers the results of a recent survey by McGraw-Hill Education regarding students perspectives on using digital learning materials. From the article:

Though many advocates continue to stress the importance of incorporating print materials into classroom instruction, the fact that students are bringing multiple devices to campus suggests they’re seeking a more immersive and integrated digital experience in their education and campus life. Most colleges and universities increasingly understand the importance of investing time, staff and resources in bringing digital learning tools and technologies into classrooms.

Now the “digital transformation” of the college campus isn’t new, I remember it when I set foot onto the hallowed Columbia University quad way back in 1990. That said, it has been a steady evolution from Unix-based email using MM to today’s smartphones, laptops and tablets wirelessly connected in every lecture hall you can find (on ground and virtual). So what did McGraw-Hill Education learn after surveying 1,000 students?

  • >50% of students would prefer their classes incorporate digital learning tools
  • Fully 94% of students said digital tools helped them retain new concepts – perhaps, in part, due to the multiple modes available on screens to engage with materials – videos, animations, flash cards, virtual labs, etc.
  • >50% of students reported that digital tools helped them to better understand concepts they originally found difficult – see above point on multiple modes of content delivery and, what we’ve learned with Junction, is that having different instructional approaches – primarily video – with content aligned to the same learning objectives empowers students to find the approach, voice and pace that work best for them
  • 60% of students reported that digital tools had helped them improve their grades – not sure about this one as course completion rates and graduation rates haven’t markedly improved despite 10-15 years of assignment and assessment tools on college campuses.  Maybe some selection bias in the survey rearing it’s head?
  • 38% of students report using smartphones for class assignments and studying.  From Junction we’ve seen smartphones as the fastest growing device class – by far- for accessing learning materials however most other digital learning tools have not been optimized for mobile delivery perhaps stifling the responses here.

Our take is that it’s a chicken and egg problem.  Students won’t spend more time using digital learning tools until those tools generate a mix of improved efficiency AND superior learning performance.  Thus far, most digital learning tools we’ve seen run too far out on either axis without appreciating that instructors and students are time-bound so it’s not just about optimizing content delivery, it’s about providing a holistic learning experience that’s also intuitive, efficient and affordable.

For content providers wondering how to get started on this path, drop me a line and we’ll get you up and running in just weeks on a leading digital learning platform that focuses on all aspects of teaching and learning – not just content development and delivery.  It’s name?  Junction ;-)

Survey: Digital tools improve students’ classroom experience

More than half of students would prefer their classes to incorporate digital learning tools, according to a new report from McGraw-Hill Education. Additionally, 94% of students said digital tools helped them retain new concepts, with students in STEM fields particularly excited about the incorporation of digital learning tools.