38% of new students want more help with independent learning

Student Voices report identifies how universities can tackle the 8% drop-out rate of new students

Student Voices, a 40-page report just published, identifies that 38% of first-year students want more help with independent learning as they make the difficult transition from school to university according to a new report.

Andrew Robinson, Director of Higher Education, EMEA, Cengage, says: “The barriers to independent learning usually stem from the fact that most new students have come direct from a school education where learning has been more prescriptive and there has been more guided support. At university they are required to take greater ownership for their studies – completing a lot of their work outside of the lecture room and managing their own time, for example – as well as learning new skills such as researching, referencing and writing in new formats.

“It can be intimidating and students often don’t know where to start or have the courage to ask, while staff don’t always have the time to provide the mentoring support required. As our report suggests, at the end of the day, students often just want to know that what they are doing is correct.”

The 8% undergraduate drop out rate, identified by the Office for Students, costs universities around £33K per student

Meeting this demand could help reduce the 8% undergraduate drop out rate, identified by the Office for Students, which costs universities around £33K per student. Currently, that equates to 185,430 students who have invested time and money which cannot be recouped.

More digital needed

However, 75% of students want to try new digital tools to support their learning, the report finds. The top 5 requests are:

  • Test yourself/practice questions
  • Chapter summaries
  • Instant feedback for questions
  • Assignment questions that form part of a final grade
  • Online tutorials and walkthrough videos or written guides

“The next stage will be to dig deeper in to our findings to get a more comprehensive understanding of the student experience. In particular, with almost 80% of students claiming that digital resources are essential to them achieving their learning goals, we are interested in looking more deeply into how such resources can support them, helping them to overcome the challenges that our initial findings have unearthed, and how students are engaging in these new technologies. We will also be using the findings to inform our product development and priorities in our own digital strategy,” says Robinson.

Student Voices is published by HE service provider Cengage and research conducted by independent market researchers Shift Media. The report investigates some of the most prescient issues that HEIs and education content providers can work together to address: meeting student needs; enhancing the student experience; increasing student achievement; and ensuring students finish their education with the skills, tools and mental resources for a successful graduate career.