From industry to communication; energy to entertainment—digital transformation is reshaping virtually every facet of modern life. For those in the higher education space, this is equally true. Many of today’s students are constantly connected, digitally savvy and on-the-go learners. For instructors looking to maximize their efforts and equip students with the skills they need to succeed, the importance of digital cannot be overstated.
The Impact of Digital Learning on the Modern Instructor
But what about you, the instructor? What facets of digital impact your teaching and more importantly, your impact on today’s learners? In this article, learn about the five ways digital learning is reshaping the modern classroom and the inherent benefits and challenges it introduces to your classroom.
1. Better Alignment with Student Technology Use
As you’ve no doubt seen in your instruction, students are increasingly reliant on digital devices in and out of the classroom. While this technology use can prove distracting in the classroom, it can also drastically change the efficacy of student learning. According to one study, digitally enhanced learning leads to improved retention and graduation rates as well as access and affordability.
What’s even more surprising? Our research indicated that when used in conjunction with course lessons, it can also significantly impact student confidence and performance, resulting in a:
- 71% increase in confidence
- 31% increase in homework completion
- 14% increase in grades
- 17% reduction in drop, fail and withdrawal rates
By leveraging the technology students already use, instructors can create more opportunities for engagement, active learning and student agency.
2. Optimized Course Prep, Lesson Planning and Grading
When it comes to preparing your courses, planning your lessons or grading students’ assignments, it can feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day. Couple this with the time and effort it takes to understand individual student needs—and differentiate your instruction accordingly—and your “free” time becomes even scarcer.
Fortunately, online learning tools are making it easier for instructors to:
- Templatize lesson plans that leverage content, resources and activities you’ve seen impact students—while remaining flexible to adapt to the changing needs of new classes
- Diversify your curriculum to cater to the unique learning styles of your students
- Engage students in a variety of skill-building activities and assessments—while streamlining grading and remediation
3. Access Student-Level Insight into Learning Needs
Across the country, higher education institutions are increasingly relying on real-time data from analytics programs and dashboards to help instructors better understand the needs of individual students.
As you’ve likely noticed in your instruction, there is no one-size-fits-all solution that ensures every student maximizes their learning. The more individual insight an instructor can get from a student, the more prepared they are to tailor instruction, feedback or help to that student’s needs.
Enter classroom analytics.
By integrating technology in the classroom, instructors can maximize the potential for students to receive assistance beyond what they can offer. As an example, imagine a student attempting to learn new course concepts by taking an online quiz. For every incorrect answer, they can automatically receive additional resources, hints, etc. to guide them to the correct answer.
4. An End to Content Limitations
Google and YouTube have made information available to anyone, anytime. However, in the higher education space, many instructors are still limited by the content they’re able to provide students during the semester. With e-learning however, you can combine the content that fits your pedagogy—leveraging a number of learning tools, course materials or resources to boost your impact.
5. Increased Affordability for Students
The affordability problem that plagues higher education is nothing new. Across disciplines, many students find it challenging to purchase the course materials they need, often turning to free alternatives that may not include the right course content—or worse, not purchasing any course materials at all. Online learning materials offer students more choice in how they spend their money.
Whether it’s online classes that alleviate housing costs or electronic course materials that provide students with access to the content they need, digital learning provides students with greater options to fit their specific needs. With the average ebook costing 50-60% less than traditional textbooks, including a blended mix of digital and traditional course content can help educators lower costs while optimizing their instruction and impact on students.
Want More Info on Digital Learning?
For even more ways you can make the most out of digital in the classroom, check out our guide, Five Instructor Tips on Implementing Online Tools for the First Time. Packed with tips and tricks gleaned from your peers, this infographic is a quick-start guide to helping you start your digital transformation with your best foot forward.