Students speak up about learning analytics

By Laura Devaney, Director of News, @eSN_Laura
November 3rd, 2015

New survey reveals that instant feedback through learning analytics access could help students’ academic performance.

learning-analyticsStudents’ desire for instant feedback, such as the kind they receive through social media, could be a significant asset when it comes to studying with the help of learning analytics technology, new research suggests.

Eighty-seven percent of surveyed college students said having access to learning analytics on their academic performance can have positively impact their learning experience, 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.

This could suggest 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 students are embracing learning analytics technology for its ability to help them learn more effectively through continual feedback.

Nearly two-thirds of surveyed students who already use such learning analytics report that their impact on their academic performance is “very positive” or “extremely positive.”

Seventy-five percent of surveyed students using adaptive learning technology–technology that asks students questions to gauge their understanding and then directs their learning to the concepts they most need to build–report that it is “very helpful” or “extremely helpful” in aiding their ability to retain new concepts.

Sixty-eight percent of those surveyed who are using adaptive learning technology report that it is most helpful in making them better aware of concepts that they do not know yet.

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

Students are satisfied with the use of technology in college but see greater potential:
• Eighty-four percent of surveyed students reported that technology helps their professors and teaching assistants to be more efficient and effective in teaching classes, and 86 percent agree that technology helps them to be more efficient and effective students.
• However, 86 percent of those surveyed feel that there are still ways that they could be using technology to make their education better, and 79 percent 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 percent) of surveyed college students report using their smartphones to study; year-over-year data collected from McGraw-Hill Education’s own students demonstrate a 20 percent increase in smartphone-studying since 2014, and a 69 percent increase since 2013.
• On average, surveyed students report that 85 percent 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 percent of students report using laptops “often” or “all the time”; 57 percent of students report using smartphones as frequently.

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.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

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