Friday, 9 November 2012

Students study for longer and more efficiently with smartphones

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The mobile movement is a global phenomenon with smartphone and tablet adoption increasing worldwide. Smartphones are becoming indispensable to our daily lives and transforming the way we do things.

The adoption of smartphones has given rise to a massive shift in consumer behaviour – new data from StudyBlue® suggests that education is no exception.

Based on data of nearly one million students (conducted in 2011), those that use Android or iPhone learning apps spend an additional 40 minutes studying per week compared to those that use online-only platforms. Mobile learning apps such as LearnersCloud’s GCSE eLearning resources turn normally unproductive time into opportunities for study.

‘Mobile learners take advantage of the “free” time they inevitably have during their day. Whether while waiting for a bus, during their lunch break in the cafeteria or at home waiting for their favourite TV show to start, students can dip in and out, watch short clips or answer from a range of revision questions.’ Joseph Caxton, Director, LearnersCloud.

What is healthy? What is efficient?

As well as studying for longer each week, students also study more efficiently. The well-known ‘anywhere, anytime’ caption, included in most app descriptors, highlights the functionality for individuals to learn on the go, 24 hours a day. But what is healthy? What is efficient?

Research from the University of California (UCLA) in a recent study reiterates the known fact that cramming in the evening ‘will make you worse at exams and homework’. Regardless of how much a student studies each day, if they sacrifice sleep or stay up particularly late in order to cram, they’re likely to absorb less and subsequently underachieve in class.

Students that have access to mobile learning apps on the other hand are more than twice as likely to study between the hours of 6.00am and 8.00am than their non-mobile counterparts. They are also three times as likely to track their progress.

Here at LearnersCloud, we conducted a short survey on a much smaller scale and found that most students use the reporting feature to track their progress. Factors such as how long they’ve spent on each subject and their results from the Test & Learn questions help them find gaps in their knowledge and learning. This on-going performance analysis is less common in traditional learning paths and allows the individual to adjust their focus responsively.

According to Andrew J. Fuligni, Professor of Psychiatry and Bio-behavioural Science (UCLA): ‘Academic success may depend on finding strategies to avoid having to give up sleep to study, such as maintaining a consistent study schedule across days, using school time as efficiently as possible, and sacrificing time spent on other, less essential activities.'

Mobile learning apps offer just that.

An intuitive fit

‘The world we live in today is very different to the one ten or even five years ago,’ says LearnersCloud’s Joseph Caxton. ‘The generation of digital natives, those with an inherent understanding of digital technologies, are part of a tech-savvy generation. They want to be connected when they want, from anywhere. Learning is no different so shouldn’t it fit intuitively with their lifestyle?’
From the data mined, nearly 40 per cent of mobile study sessions include a break where their smartphone is being used, flittering between activities – individuals talk with friends, reply to texts or check their Facebook updates.

‘Let’s be honest, with increased connectivity, comes increasing numbers of distractions, competing for an individuals’ attention. Yet data tells us that those students that use mobile learning apps are more likely to return to their study session after a break than just quit. Mobile learners are better able to manage their distractions and get back into the material they are covering.

What could your learners being doing with their spare time?

To challenge learners to question how they spend their spare time and to encourage the use of mobile learning technologies we’ve designed this useful infographic to print off and display in your classroom.

Alternatively, to request a free poster of the infographic - complete a request form.

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