Digital appetite vs. what’s on the table

Student attitudes toward digital course materials in 2016

Digital appetite vs.what’s on the table--Student attitudes toward digital course materials in 2016

While education improvement has been an undeniable focus in the U.S., it’s surprising to note that the transition to digital learning has been less of a priority.

Educators’ appetites for digital course materials and courseware are growing, the capabilities are available, but the stark reality is that they—and their students—just aren’t biting.

From the research we’ve done, it’s evident that educators are the driving force behind changes in education, and they’re the catalyst we need to put these digital capabilities into the hands of the students. The tools are there, and students are using them, even when not required by educators.

Download the report, Digital appetite vs. what’s on the table: Student attitudes toward digital course materials in 2016

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Of the 18.6 million students enrolled in higher education institutions…
88% own laptops
85% own smartphones
50% own tablets

“Gen Z” students believe in digital…and so do their instructors

18–24 year old “Generation Z” students are still the predominant demographic enrolling in higher education today, and when asked about the importance of technology in education…

84% Students
87% Educators
86% Administrators

acknowledge that digital materials are important in resolving system-wide challenges facing higher education today.


Educators’ appetite for digital courseware is growing

When asked how they viewed the impact and importance of an increase in digital courseware...

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78% know more digital courseware benefits students

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70% say shift from print to digital is important to them personally


But there’s a gap between appetite and what’s on the table

Of learners and educators...

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82% believe that digital is the future of education

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82% have used digital learning products in the past 6 months

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56% say more than half of their courses use digital course materials


Educators are nervous about making any changes to the current menu

For many educators, bringing new technology to the table is an intimidating prospect. More questions than answers seem to emerge:

  • Is this going to lessen the importance of my role in the classroom?
  • Who will support the implementation?
  • Where am I going to find the time to learn and use it?
  • Will I be expected to be a technology expert?
  • What if it doesn't work out for my students?
  • Will the leadership at my institution support me in adopting it?

Students are ordering off the menu

Sandwich made from tablets and papers

One of the main barriers to digital courseware adoption among students is simply that it isn’t required by their instructor. However, students are well aware that personal technology can give them an edge in their studies, and they’re adopting their own methods of incorporating it. Supplemental uses of digital tools are happening unprompted, with the most prevalent use involving note-taking and research.


Technology won’t be the only option on the menu

No matter how powerful technology may be for driving learning outcomes, there will always be a place for the whiteboard, pencils, and paper in the classrooms of tomorrow.


44% of students told us they would still rather have all of their learning materials accessible in printed form.

Books and Laptop

Now is the time to make technology the signature dish

Students are ready, and even hungry, for the opportunities today’s technology provides, and educators have the power to guide them...


57% of students feel that it is the responsibility of the institution to help them make the shift from print-based learning materials to digital course materials and courseware.

Lunch bag filled with smart devices

What will YOU bring to the table?

How do you see technology fitting into your classroom? What options are available that you aren’t currently using? Whatever your burning questions may be, the answer is clear. Your students are ready, and you have the power to satisfy their appetite for learning.

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