Is Viewing Learning Analytics the Same as Checking Your ‘Likes’?

Today’s young adults are often criticized for turning to social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram for real-time feedback, but new research from McGraw-Hill Education suggests that this behavior could be a significant asset when it comes to studying with the help of technology. According to “The Impact of Technology on College Student Study Habits,” the third report in an annual series conducted by McGraw-Hill Education and fielded by Hanover Research, 87% of college students report that having access to data analytics regarding their academic performance can have a positive impact on their learning experience. The finding suggests that students seek the same immediate feedback in the classroom as they do in social media and that this can be beneficial to learning.

The survey of more than 2,600 U.S. college students shows that students are embracing technology for its ability to help them learn more effectively through continual feedback

  • Almost two-thirds of students who already use such analytics report that their impact on their academic performance is “very positive” or “extremely positive.”
  • 75% of students using adaptive learning technology report that it is “very helpful” or “extremely helpful” in aiding their ability to retain new concepts.
  • 68% of students using adaptive learning technology report that it is most helpful in making them better aware of concepts that they do not know yet.

About adaptive technology: Adaptive learning technology gains an understanding of students’ knowledge, skills and confidence levels by asking students questions related to course material. In addition to presenting personalized feedback, the technology focuses students’ attention on the concepts they need to learn the most, at precisely the time they need to learn it, helping them study more effectively and efficiently.

Peter Cohen, McGraw-Hill Education’s group president of U.S. Education, commented:
“Students today have a desire for immediate and continual feedback. By using technology to deliver learning experiences that leverage those motivations, we can capitalize on an enormous opportunity to improve learning outcomes. Adaptive learning technology provides just that kind of actionable, real-time feedback, and does so in a way that’s incredibly personalized. It’s gratifying to see these technologies align so perfectly with college students’ own motivations.”

The results show how technology—and adaptive technology in particular—can improve the entire student experience

  • 91% of all students report that adaptive capabilities in a digital study tool are “important” or “very important.”
  • Students found that adaptive learning technologies are the most effective form of study technology, with 84% of indicating a moderate or major improvement in grades. Learning management systems rank second at 76%.
  • Technology increases engagement across the board: Students report that technology increases their engagement not only with course materials (77%), but with professors (64%) and fellow students (50%).
  • Technology leads not only to better grades, but to improvements throughout students’ academic lives: 67% of students say study technology makes them feel better prepared for class; 57% report that it helps improve study efficiency; 46% report that it helps improve confidence; 45% report that it helps reduce stress.

Students are satisfied with the use of technology in college but see greater potential

  • Eighty-four percent of students reported that technology helps their professors and teaching assistants to be more efficient and effective in teaching classes, and 86% agree that technology helps them to be more efficient and effective students.
  • However, 86% of students feel that there are still ways that they could be using technology to make their education better, and 79% feel that there are still ways that their university and teaching staff could be using technology to make their education better.

Mobile learning trends continue to accelerate, but laptops are still students’ preferred device

  • Almost two-thirds (61%) of college students report using their smartphones to study; year-over-year data collected from McGraw-Hill Education’s own students demonstrate a 20% increase in smartphone-studying since 2014, and a 69% increase since 2013.
  • On average, students report that 85% of their preferred study spaces would be impossible to study in if not for technology such as a laptop or smartphone.
  • When it comes to total usage, laptops still rule: 86% of students report using laptops “often” or “all the time”; 57% of students report using smartphones as frequently.

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About The Impact of Technology on College Student Study Habits Research
McGraw-Hill Education’s report, “The Impact of Technology on College Student Study Habits,” surveyed 2,657 college students aged 18+ who are currently enrolled in higher education institutions across the United States. Respondents were from a mix of majors and grade levels, ranging from freshman to PhD students. 2,107 of the students were selected from among a group of students that have previously used McGraw-Hill Education’s technology in their coursework, while the remaining 550 were selected from outside of this group.