Overwhelming proof? Research shows 3 ways going digital improves student performance

Digital options could provide measurable improvements for students, says research AND students.

A research collaboration between W. W. Norton and Dustin Tingley of the Learning Research Group at Harvard revealed that students using InQuizitive for an Intro to American Government class had an 8.4-point increase when they completed an InQuizitive activity prior to taking a summative quiz. This improvement increased by 13.1 points (more than a letter grade) for students using InQuizitive as part of their course.

A McGraw-Hill Education study of nine instructors across 16 disciplines found that 15 percent more students earned A’s and B’s when using digital materials compared to students who did not use digital course materials.

2. Overall learning improvements

In addition to better grades (32 percent more A’s), independent research indicates that students using Cengage’s MindTap for a History course improved their critical thinking skills more than a comparable group of students that did not use the platform.

Two-thirds of Economics students using MindTap felt the platform helped them go beyond memorization and recall to higher levels of learning.

Macmillan Learning found that 78 percent of the students who used their LaunchPad digital platform during the Fall 2015 semester reported that it helped them improve their knowledge of the course material.

Eighty-six percent of students using Macmillan Learning’s adaptive quizzing tool, Learning Curve, for a Psychology course found that it helped them learn the key concepts and helped them more than studying on their own would have.

3. Students stay in class

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, only about 60 percent of students seeking a bachelor’s degree at a four-year institution in Fall 2008 earned one. Digital learning solutions could help address some reasons that students cite for dropping out – workload, preparation for class and lack of advising. The analytics incorporated in digital materials may help instructors easily track performance and identify at-risk students and encourage them to continue with the class.

A McGraw-Hill Education study on the effectiveness of its digital tools found that student retention increased from 70 percent to 90 percent in sections using a digital learning platform versus sections not using a digital platform.

A professor teaching developmental math improved the rate of students passing her class from 56 percent to 88 percent using the personalized learning features in Pearson’s MyMathLab.

WileyPLUS with ORION resulted in better outcomes for students who were not fully engaged in the classroom. Instructors who cite this as a challenge saw an average of a half-grade point increase in student performance.

(Next page: Digital materials grow in use; students weigh in)

Laura Ascione

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