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

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

Multiple studies reveal that digital learning materials improve college students’ performance, leading to higher exam scores, better grades, and fewer class withdrawals, according to the Association of American Publishers (AAP). Students are also chiming in, saying they agree.

The studies included analyses of digital materials that are available through access codes or software, used with or instead of print textbooks, and which can cost less than traditional materials.

When digital materials offer features such as adaptive quizzes, practices, simulations, or gradebook tools, faculty can customize their lectures based on class progress and materials can be updated when new information is found. Immediate feedback from quizzes and class activities can help students focus on areas in which they might be struggling or falling behind.

1. Improving grades

A study surveying students using Pearson’s digital learning platform for a two-semester Anatomy and Physiology course found that there was a 13 percentage point improvement in students earning an A, B or C for the first semester when using digital materials, compared to students who did not use a digital platform. For the second semester, that increase was 27 percentage points.

(Next page: More studies on digital materials and their impact on students)

Laura Ascione

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