Raleigh, N.C. Sept. 22, 2016 – Even as students are growing more disappointed with the state of technology in their classrooms, digital textbooks are proving to be an outlier as a trusted learning tool, according to a recent survey of 500 college students conducted by Wakefield Research for VitalSource. Even as nearly one-in-five are not happy with the technology in their classrooms and almost three-quarters of students do not believe an increase in available classroom technology would improve their grades, they overwhelmingly believe they would have more success with interactive textbooks.
"Today's college students have spent their entire K-12 academic careers immersed in interactive learning environments – both in the real world and digitally," said Pep Carerra, VitalSource's Chief Operating Officer. "We can't expect to drop them into college classes and strip that level of interactivity and engagement away and expect them to be successful."
Not All Tech Created Equal
Digital textbooks are bucking the disillusionment trend current classroom technology is facing: 87 percent of students feel they would get better grades with interactive textbooks, rather than traditional course materials. 92 percent have had professors recommend digital versions of texts and course materials in their classes.
A deeper look into the data, however, reveals that simply offering digital textbooks does not fit the bill for today's students. To meet expectations, digital text needs to be accessible and have sophisticated features that allow students to get more out of their content. A full 94 percent of students identified features that would enhance their learning experience provided by digital textbooks, including:
- The ability to take quizzes on information learned during studying (63 percent)
- The ability to keep track of information learned during study sessions (57 percent)
- The ability to take notes and highlight content in a digital textbook (55 percent)
- The ability to set study goals and track their progress (52 percent)
Students cite convenience of use, affordability and interactivity as the primary benefits of a digital textbook over physical textbooks.
Based on the survey results, students feel any digital textbook adopted by their school must be able to be used in a multitude of ways to be truly useful. Currently, 29 percent of college students read them offline, 26 percent online, and 45 percent online and offline equally. To that end, 87 percent feel that digital textbooks are not worth the money if they can't be viewed fully offline. These students feel the need to be able to study without an internet connection.
VitalSource Technologies Inc., part of Ingram Content Group, is improving the learning experience by making it easier to create and deliver effective and affordable content. The preferred choice among educational institutions and companies for digital learning materials, VitalSource helps over 1,000 educational content providers create and deliver seamless interactive learning experiences through its exclusive Bookshelf platform to millions of learners at 7,000 institutions. Bookshelf users opened more than 18 million digital textbooks last year and read more than 2 billion pages.
The VitalSource Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research (www.wakefieldresearch.com) among 500 currently enrolled college students between May 11 and 18, 2016, using an email invitation and an online survey.
Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. For the interviews conducted in this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 4.4 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.