How should institutions respond to students' changing expectations of their digital environment? What experiences at university prepare students to flourish in a digital world? What are institutions doing to engage students in dialogue about their learning environment and to gather intelligence about their changing needs?
Higher education study
The project has conducted an initial study in higher education to review existing evidence about students' expectations and experiences of study in a digital environment. This included the digital environment generally (eg wifi, IT support, access to devices and printers); and the study environment in its digital aspects (eg how digital resources and media are used; what software students access, how they use their own devices and services to support learning).
The study also looked at how universities collect, manage and analyse such information locally and how they engage students in a productive dialogue about their digital experience. In addition to a detailed literature review the study also undertook a student focus group, institutional interviews and stakeholder interviews.
Further education study
Our ‘enhancing the student digital experience’ guide has been updated with the findings from the FE study together with over 40 new snapshots of current practice from colleges and providers who are meeting the digital student challenges.
Phase three of the digital student project explored the needs of learners studying in the skills sector in relation to their expectations and experiences of the digital environment.
The scope of the study covered work-based learning (including apprenticeships), adult and community learning and offender learning. It built on the approaches used in our HE and FE studies, adding to the FE sector literature review and conducting primary research with both learners and providers.
The study ran from July 2015 to March 2016. Sero Consulting led this work.
- Read the report and brief for leaders of providers supporting apprenticeships, adult, community and offender learning
- Read our guide on enhancing the digital experience for skills learners
Student digital experience tracker pilot
Find out more on the student digital experience tracker project page.
Online learners' expectations and experiences of the digital environment
This next phase of the project will build on the previous HE, FE and skills studies. Initial work will consider the questions that institutions need to ask around online learners' expectations and experiences, which are likely to be quite different to those for campus-based learners.
The wide diversity of online learners raises significant challenges as it includes FE and HE students experiencing blended learning, postgraduate students doing full-time professional distance learning courses, informal learners as well as students paying for formal courses, and students studying on open online courses (MOOCs).
The review will run from March to August 2016. Lou McGill, Helen Beetham and Tim Gray are leading this work.
This work also links with our scaling up online learning project.
Read the final report from this study - What makes a successful online learner? Findings of the digital student online learners’ expectations and experiences of the digital environment.
Find out more
For more information about the digital student project, contact Sarah Knight, senior co-design manager at Jisc.
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