81% of College Students Use Mobile Tech to Study

New McGraw-​Hill Education research finds that more than 80% of college students use mobile technology to study. The company's second annual Report on digital study trends in higher education finds that college students' use of mobile for studying has jumped 40% since 2013.

Mobile use among students was on the rise from 2013 to 2014, according to new research released today by McGraw-​Hill Education. The second annual report, "The Impact of Technology on College Student Study Habits," conducted by McGraw-​Hill Education and Hanover Research, found that 81% of students use mobile devices (such as smartphones and tablets) to study, the second most popular device category behind laptops and up 40% year over year. Of the different types of learning technologies available, students found that adaptive learning technologies were the most effective, with 85% indicating a moderate or major improvement in grades.

"The rise of studying via mobile isn't simply due to the ubiquity of smartphones and tablets on campus, it's a case of mobile suiting the way students study now. The feedback we've received from students and instructors suggests that today's students tend toward shorter, more concentrated bursts of studying anywhere they're able, rather than waiting for several hours to hunker down in the library," said Sharon Loeb, vice president of marketing for McGraw-​Hill Education, Higher Ed. "We expect the growth in mobile use among college students to continue for the next five years, which means institutions will need to adapt their infrastructure and faculty will want to consider ways to incorporate mobile learning into their courses."

According to the survey of roughly 1,700 college students across the U.S., technology plays an integral role in their collegiate experiences:

  • Mobile is becoming a must-​have: 66% of students indicated it is moderately to extremely important for them to be able to study on a mobile device

Technology adoption for higher education is growing rapidly, due in large part to the positive impact on students. The report found:

  • Technology can lead to better grades: 77% of students said study technology has positively impacted their grades
  • Tech is also saving students time: 48% of students said technology saves them time while studying; of this group, 77% indicated technology saves them two to five hours per week or more
  • Confidence is key: Students said technology helps them feel better prepared for classes (62%) and have more confidence in their knowledge of course material (52%)

When it comes to providing high-​quality education technology solutions for students, personalization matters. Seventy-​two percent of students agreed that study technology should feel as tailored as social media feeds, and 79% of students agreed study technology should be more individualized.

"Greater personalization and effectiveness are why we see major growth in adaptive learning technologies," said Loeb. "Adaptive technology delivers personalized learning experiences that continually respond to students' individual knowledge and skill levels, helping them to focus on areas where they need the most help and resist the urge to spend time on material they've already mastered. Our adaptive systems have been shown to improve student performance by an average of one letter grade, and it's exciting to see this effectiveness translate to increasing popularity among students."

Other findings from the report offer insight into a student's perception of college readiness and sentiment about their financial futures. More than half of students (51%) said that college is harder than they expected, while 57% indicated that the cost of tuition is the most difficult part about college. 89% of students agreed that without student loans, they would not be able to afford college, and 77% said they are worried that they will feel trapped by student loan payments after graduation.

AudienceSCAN reports that 39% of Soon-​to-​be-​College Graduates use iPhones. They are 300% more likely than average to use SnapChat, so it definitely couldn't hurt to advertise there! 32% use Android tablets regularly. While they're studying, they're also shopping: 37% use their smartphones to search for nearby stores/​retailers. Your school-​supply retailers would be interested to know that 19% plan to buy office equipment, furniture or supplies. And in keeping with the digital study trend, 18% are shopping for iPads or Android touchscreen tablets this year.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports inåÊAdMall.

Courtney Huckabay
Courtney is the Editor for SalesFuel Today. She analyzes secondary customer research and our primary AudienceSCAN research. Courtney is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University.