Digital Study Success

Three ways technology is changing today’s college students’ academic experiences.

GUEST COLUMN | by Sally Shankland

College graduation rates are disappointingly low, and educators across the country are working to identify new ways to increase student success. High-quality digital learning technology has proven to be one of the most effective tools for driving success in higher education, and it’s extremely encouraging to see that students are recognizing those benefits.

Last month, McGraw-Hill Education released the findings of its 2016 Digital Study Trends Survey, the latest edition of an annual report that looks at how college students use digital learning technology. The study confirmed a trend that we’ve seen in past surveys – that college students are increasingly using digital learning technology and find it helpful across a wide variety of activities.

credit-mcgraw-hill-education-81-percentHere are three things we learned about college students’ use of digital learning technology:

  1. Most students say digital learning technology has a positive impact on grades

The vast majority of students now embrace digital learning technology for its ability to help them improve their grades (81 percent), improve efficiency and effectiveness (81 percent) and improve their focus (69 percent). 

  1. Half of students agree that adaptive tools and online quizzes can lead to better grades

credit-mcgraw-hill-education-50-percentTwo-thirds of students report that adaptive learning technology and online quizzes are very or extremely helpful in learning retention, and most college students agree or strongly agree that digital learning technology should adapt to their unique way of learning (89 percent) and be individualized (80 percent).

  1. Students report technology improves many aspects of the academic and collegiate experience

credit-mcgraw-hill-education-acad-expDigital learning technology leads not only to better grades, but to improvements throughout students’ academic lives: 82 percent of students say digital learning technology allows them to spend more time studying through increased accessibility, and 63 percent of students say it makes them feel better prepared for class. Students also feel using technology has helped with their career readiness: According to McGraw-Hill Education’s 2016 Workforce Readiness Survey, 85 percent of college students feel having used tech in classes or to study has helped to make them a better job candidate.

Additionally, the majority of college students surveyed (61 percent) prefer to enroll in classes that use digital learning technology. Seventy-nine percent of students report that digital learning technology helps their professors and teaching assistants to be more efficient and effective in teaching classes.

However, 84 percent of students feel that there are still ways that they could be using digital learning technology to make their education better, and 79 percent feel that the same is true for university and teaching staff.

To download and read the full report, visit www.mheducation.com/studytrends.

Sally Shankland serves as president of McGraw-Hill Education’s Higher Education group.

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