Research

Survey: More Than Half of Students Want Their Classes to Go Digital

Fifty-three percent of students in a recent survey said they prefer classes that use digital learning tools, according to a new report from McGraw-Hill Education. The company's fourth annual Digital Study Trends Survey, conducted by Hanover Research, polled more than 1,000 college students across the United States about their experiences and preferences around "digital learning technology." It defined that term as any technology or system that facilitates teaching and learning, from digital course materials and e-textbooks to lecture recordings, learning management systems and other learning platforms.

Among the survey findings:

  • 94 percent of students said digital learning technology has been helpful in retaining new concepts;
  • More than half of students said digital learning technology helped them better understand concepts they didn't know;
  • 60 percent of students said that digital learning technology has improved or significantly improved their grades;
  • 60 percent of students said that digital learning technology has increased their engagement with course materials;
  • More than 62 percent of students said that digital learning technology is extremely or very helpful in preparing for tests and exams;
  • More than 66 percent of students said that digital learning technology is extremely or very helpful in completing assignments;
  • Nearly 59 percent of students said that digital learning technology is extremely or very helpful for self-study;
  • 82 percent of students said they use laptops for homework assignments, compared to 59 percent using print materials;
  • 70 percent of students said they use laptops for test/exam preparation, while 69 percent use print materials; and
  • While the majority of students have smartphones, only about 38 percent said they use smartphones to complete homework assignments and study for exams.

The report also found that students majoring in STEM subjects were particularly likely to say that technology improves their coursework:

  • Students in STEM majors were the most likely to say technology positively affected their grades (72 percent of respondents in physical sciences, 65 percent of respondents in biological sciences, and 64 percent of students in engineering, math and computer science);
  • 58 percent of biological and life sciences students and 54 percent of health profession students said that digital learning technology made them better prepared for the classroom, compared to 46 percent of respondents overall; and
  • 54 percent of biological and life sciences students and 53 percent of math and computer science students said that digital learning technology improved their studying, compared to 47 percent of students overall.

"Powerful digital learning technology can customize the learning experience for every student, helping him or her understand challenging concepts more fully and empowering them to improve their classroom performance," said Scott Virkler, chief product officer of McGraw-Hill Education's Higher Education Group, in a statement. "As these solutions continue to make inroads on college campuses, we look forward to seeing even more improvements in student learning outcomes."

The full report is available on the McGraw-Hill Education site (registration required).

About the Author

About the author: Rhea Kelly is executive editor for Campus Technology. She can be reached at rkelly@1105media.com.

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