Research recently carried out by Cengage EMEA, a global education and technology company, has investigated some of the most prescient issues that higher education institutions and content providers can work together to address. More specifically, it has investigated the learning challenges higher education students most commonly encounter and their use and attitude towards digital learning resources. By capturing student data on these topics, we are able to analyse how students are learning, where their learning barriers are, and how they are using digital resources to overcome these challenges. Together this provides a clear indication where time, resources and effort can be best employed to improve student grades and student satisfaction.
The presentation will lay out the research objectives, methodology (including example questions) and findings, highlighting where these have cast new light on the student experience. It will outline action points, based on the research, that can be put into play at institution and department-level to enhance student learning. We will also discuss the next steps in the research and how content providers are partnering with educational institutions to improve the learning experience.
The Student Voices research was carried out by independent market research company. Students across the UK, the Netherlands, Scandinavia and South Africa were surveyed.
For first year students, the most commonly cited challenge was independent learning (38%), whilst by the third year it was interpreting data (31%). Taken more broadly, modules they find most challenging vary by subject. Business and Economics students, for example, often find certain modules challenging due to the mathematical/statistical aspects.
Use and Perception of Digital Resources
79% of respondents stated that digital resources are an essential part of their course. Those digital resources and tools offering online reading and practice questions are used the most frequently to enable students to check they have acquired the right knowledge and are exam-ready. Most commonly used features include ‘test yourself questions’, ‘chapter summaries’, ‘assignment questions’ and ‘instant feedback for questions’. These are conducive to enabling independent learning and is in line with the higher number of students who suggest that independent learning is a challenge.
More generally, respondents feel their course experience could be improved through more one-to-one guidance, support on assignments and the provision of more digital resources, including information on where to find them and how to use them.
The presentation will explore these findings in more detail, but also provide deeper insight and easy-to-implement takeaway actions that will encourage and support independent learning, raise student confidence in more challenging areas of study, as well as showing how digital resources can be easily woven into teaching to provide subject mastery and increased student support.
Cengage., (2019). Student Voices EMEA 2019 [online]. Andover: Cengage EMEA. [Viewed 20 March 2019]. Available from: https://www.cengage.co.uk/student_voices/