In 2015 we launched our first cross-sector Student Technology Survey in Navitas, gathering 2114 responses from Higher Ed, VET and English learners studying at colleges in Australia.
We set out with the following research objectives:
- To assess students’ experiences, needs and expectations around technology in their personal lives and study;
- To identify student needs in relation to technology for learning;
- To explore attitudinal factors relating to technology in learning.
Findings inform a number of areas in the short and longer term, including advice for teaching staff, information for IT, and ideas for further development of technology to support learning and teaching.
I’ve included a few of the key findings from the research below, but if you’re short on time, take a look at this animated summary!
Here are a few of the findings which emerged from our analysis of the data:
Ownership and general use of technology (devices and internet)
- Over 96% of respondents own smartphones and they are used in a wide variety of contexts. There is significant potential for engaging more actively in mobile learning, ‘bitesize’ learning and more targeted, personalised communications across all student groups.
- Students access internet and use technology (particularly larger screens) more in the home than anywhere else. It is essential to understand the wider context of our students’ lives and the impact this has on their ability to access learning and study effectively.
Use of technology in learning contexts
- Students use different technologies according to availability and the task in hand; large-screen devices are most flexible, but students are also attempting an increasing range of study activities on smaller screens (e.g. smartphones).
- Students use a wide variety of formal and informal channels to connect and communicate in their course. There is more to be learned about this aspect of the study experience in order to create engaging learning communities with students.
Student support and general attitudes towards technology
- Students learn about and fix problems with technology by drawing on a range of resources, not necessarily provided by their institution or teachers. A range of formal, informal, self-guided and community-supported approaches will suit differing needs, learning styles and contexts.
- There is general positivity among respondents towards technology for learning, with appetite for further exploration and integration, as well as further guidance and support for the tools, facilities and resources already in place.
Much of the information we gathered was not unexpected, and confirms some of the anecdotal ‘chatter’ about technology in our various learning contexts. What it gives us at this stage is some reassurance that students are generally equipped with basic technology to enable study online or digitally, and that their attitudes towards technology are largely supportive of further expansion and development. You can hear more commentary on the results in this webinar recording on our ‘Play Again’ page.