Research

Educators ‘Hungry’ for Digital Course Materials

A new survey from Pearson found that most educators (78 percent) have seen their students benefit when they utilize digital course materials. Even more educators (82 percent) see the shift to these materials as the future of higher education. Meanwhile, students access these kinds of materials only when instructors require them to, which is about half the time. 

That analysis comes from the “Digital appetite vs. what’s on the table” report released yesterday, which explores students’ attitudes toward digital course materials this year. The report is based on 1,250 interviews total, comprised of 1,000 learners, 200 educators and 50 administrators.

Educators’ appetite for digital courseware is growing, according to the report. When respondents were asked “how they viewed the impact and importance of an increase in digital courseware,” 78 percent said that more digital courseware benefits students, while 70 percent expressed the shift from print to digital “is important to them personally.”

However, the survey uncovered a gap between “appetite” and “what’s on the table,” or what is being offered to students in courses. While many recognize the benefits of digital course materials, just 56 percent of educators said that they used digital course materials in more than half of their courses this year. Pearson attributes this to educators being nervous about making changes to the menu, so to speak. Educators expressed that bringing new technology into the classroom leads to more questions than answers and prevents adoption of digital learning materials.

Other key findings include:

  • 84 percent of Generation Z students (those 18–24 years old) said that digital materials are important in resolving system-wide challenges in higher education;
  • 44 percent of students responded that they prefered their learning materials in printed form; and
  • 57 percent of students said it is the responsibility of their college or university to help them transition from print-based learning materials to digital course materials and courseware.

The full report can be requested on the Pearson site.  

About the Author

Sri Ravipati is Web producer for THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at sravipati@1105media.com.

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