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Smartphones catching up with laptops as learning aids

A report from YMCA Awards has revealed that smartphones are increasingly being used by students for learning

Posted by Charley Rogers | February 23, 2017 | Secondary

Almost half of students are using smartphones regularly to assist in their studies, according to a new report exploring the proliferation of technology in education. 

The report, from international awarding organisation YMCA Awards, also revealed that 82% of students want access to a mix of both traditional offline resources and newer digital learning methods in their studies.

With over 80% of learners preferring a mix of learning methods, it makes sense for providers to begin to explore the possibility of offering some aspects of training through mobile technology.

The report used a sample of 250 students enrolled on health and fitness related further education courses, and uncovered 78% of students use websites, 70% use online quizzes, 62% use online videos, and one in four use online games to support learning.

Commenting on the report’s findings, Rob May, Director of the YMCA Awards said:

“As our research shows, mobile phone usage to aid study is on the rise and this is only likely to increase in coming months and years. And, with over 80% of learners preferring a mix of learning methods, it makes sense for providers to begin to explore the possibility of offering some aspects of training through mobile technology. Failure to do this could mean some providers get left behind as their bolder and more innovative counterparts race ahead.”

In addition, the report found that six in ten learners value small, bite-sized learning content of around five to ten minutes, and 59% want multimedia such as video, audio, and illustrations to be included in this.

These findings come in light of news that smartphones, for the first time, have surpassed desktop computers for web browsing. Indeed, three in five students in YMCA Awards’ study cited smartphones as the most used device in their daily lives, ahead of laptops and desktop computers.

The organisation is now warning that training providers need to do more to incorporate mobile methods into teaching, if they haven’t already. 

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