Survey: Tech While Studying Can Both Help And Harm

According to a study conducted by McGraw Hill Education, online activities and the use of mobile devices can either help or hurt the study process. 40% of students reported that anything online, primarily social networks, is the biggest distraction when studying as reported by nearly. More than 50% of students said they used computers, tablets and phones for non-study activities while they were studying, such as texting friends.

Students who take advantage of the latest study technologies such as adaptive learning programs, report feeling more productive and less stressed can only be a sign of good news. As a result of study technology, more than 50% of students felt "better prepared for classes" and had "improved studying efficiency"; while 45% of students experienced reduced stress related to studying and exams. This survey, which sought to better understand students' study habits and the influence of learning technologies on studying, was participated by more than 500 college students. Other highlights include:

  • Students are using smart phones to study more than they're using tablets – 36 % of students say they use smart phones for studying, when compared to 22 percent of students who opt for a tablet device or a computer.
  • Digital study tools are saving students' time – 67 % of students said that digital study tools such as adaptive learning programs save them time – up to five or more hours a week when studying.
  • Sleep is a necessary ingredient for academic success, and students using digital study tools get more of it – 50 % of students who regularly use study technology say that they use time they save studying to catch up on sleep – an important benefit, given that 64 % of respondents said that it takes more than 7 hours of sleep per night to be an effective student.
  • Writing papers is the biggest source of academic stress for students – 34 % of students said writing a major paper was the most stressful, over 22 %t who claimed that taking a test was a more stress-inducing activity, indicating that the commonly known "test anxiety" may be lower than expected.
  • When it comes to laptops, most college students are using PCs – when asked which brands of electronic devices they owned, an overwhelming 71 %t of students said they owned a PC laptop, far outweighing the 20 % of Mac laptop owners.

"Studying effectively – and with the right type of technology – is one of the best ways to ensure that students succeed in class," said Brian Kibby, president of McGraw-Hill Higher Education. "But focus is the key. When used properly, study technologies such as our LearnSmart adaptive study tool can help students pinpoint their studying efforts with great precision, prompting them to review only the material they have not yet mastered and moving beyond the concepts they know cold. This instant feedback helps students arrive to class better prepared and engaged and leads to higher grades and exam scores."

According to The Sacramento Bee, the students who participated in the survey are users of LearnSmartâ„¢, a McGraw-Hill Education adaptive study tool. LearnSmart uses algorithmic technology to continually measure students' knowledge, skills and confidence levels and creates a unique study plan based on the resulting data to increase students' understanding in the areas where they need to improve the most.

The platform helps students study more effectively, increase their retention of a particular subject and achieve better grades while allowing professors to use data analysis to tailor instruction and reduce administrative time. On average, LearnSmart helps students bump up a full letter grade. More than 2 million students have used the LearnSmart platform, in which more than 1.6 billion questions have been answered to date. In this survey, approximately two thirds of students reported experiencing positive benefits from using study technologies such as LearnSmart.

"Technology has made such a positive impact on the way I study. My study time has become shorter and the retention is greater. I truly enjoy the way it adapts to me and the accessibility," said Ingrid Zapata, a student at Texas A&M University.

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