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Survey: 1 in 4 Students Say They're Assigned Too Many Learning Tools

student working on laptop

More than a quarter of students (27%) in a recent poll said they are being assigned too many different learning tools in their courses. And 16% reported they have difficulty navigating and using those tools. That's according to the latest Top Hat Field Report, a survey of 2,798 students across the United States and Canada, in which the courseware platform provider asked students about their learning experience during the Fall 2021 academic term; perceptions on job readiness and educational ROI; and the impact of access, equity, diversity and inclusion on student persistence, motivation and engagement.

Another impediment to student success: One in five students still lacks regular and reliable access to the internet, the report found. And 15% of students said they have difficulty accessing online learning materials.

While those numbers are significant, the majority of students were positive about their learning experience. Eighty-four percent of respondents said their instructors provide clear guidance on how to succeed in their courses; 74% said their instructors provide the flexibility needed for academic success; 73% said their instructors provide timely and helpful feedback; 70% are engaged and motivated in coursework inside and outside of class; and 69% said instructors make them excited to learn.

Students also feel confident about their career readiness: Overall, 80% of respondents said they believe they are gaining the skills and knowledge to succeed in the workplace. Eighty-six percent feel they are developing skills that will be transferable to a career, and 72% said their instructors help them understand how the subject matter in their courses relates to career readiness after college. More than three-quarters of respondents (76%) said that they see value in their higher education investment.

Diversity and inclusion was also top of mind for the students surveyed. A whopping 80% said it's important or very important that learning content include underrepresented individuals or groups and their contributions to a particular discipline. Two-thirds (67%) said it's important to see individuals who represent their own identities and communities included in their learning, and 40% said that including underrepresented individuals and groups in textbooks and other course materials increases their motivation and engagement in the learning process.

"Community and belonging have significant effects on student engagement, participation, and motivation," the report asserted. "Beyond showing a demonstrable impact on perceptions of educational ROI, creating environments where students feel known, understood and supported will help spur motivation and the willingness to engage both in and outside the classroom."

The full report is available on the Top Hat site.

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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