In a new survey, college students say they gravitate toward laptops and tablets when it comes to studying and learning.

laptops-pearsonAs learning goes more mobile, a new study reveals that college students still prefer laptops as their primary learning device, though they also expect tablets to play an increasingly larger role in academics.

The 2015 Student Mobile Device Survey reveals that seven out of 10 surveyed students said they agree that tablets help learners study more efficiently, and that tablets will replace traditional textbooks within five years.

Tablet ownership has increased, with 52 percent of participating college students owning tablets, up from 45 percent a year ago. Ownership of smartphones appears to have stabilized at 85 percent, and laptops at 88 percent.

Although most college students believe that tablets are efficient and effective for studying, laptops are still the most commonly used device for learning.

Among college students aged 18 and 19 (generally freshmen and sophomores), only one in 12 (eight percent) use a tablet every day for school work, while two out of three (66 percent) use a laptop daily for their school work. About one in four college students aged 25 and older use tablets every day for school work (27 percent).

“College students continue to show enthusiasm for learning digitally,” said Seth Reichlin, Pearson’s senior vice president of market research for higher education. “With more than 80 percent of elementary students reporting that they are using tablets regularly for learning, what’s clear from our research is that tablets have turned out to be more popular among younger learners.”

Most college studentsin the survey said they learn best on laptops (54 percent), and almost half (48 percent) say they enjoy laptops most of all mobile devices.

One in three surveyed college students (36 percent) considers himself or herself an “early adopter” when it comes to electronic devices and technology.

Older students, aged 25 and up, are the most likely to say they are early adopters (51 percent).

Eight percent of surveyed black students lack Wi-Fi at home, versus 2 percent of white students.

Surveyed college students aged 18 and 19 are the most likely to use laptops daily for school work, while students aged 25 and up are most likely to use tablets daily.

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Pearson between February 7, 2015 and March 11, 2015. Qualified college students were U.S. residents between the ages of 18 and 30 who were enrolled in either a 2-year college, 4-year college or university, or graduate school. The survey results from 1,211 students were weighted to be representative of the college student population in the U.S. This survey was part of a larger study on students in the U.S. that also included 4th through 12th graders.

The full report is available at Pearson will also make the complete tabulations and full methodology, including weighting variables, available upon request.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

Laura Ascione