The idea of a “typical” day in the life of a college student is becoming increasingly difficult to grasp. Between extracurricular activities, work, commutes, and family obligations, a college student’s realm extends well beyond academics. Therefore, it’s no surprise that study habits look remarkably different than they have in the past.

With all of the demands on students’ time, the days of spending hours on end studying in the library are becoming increasingly scarce. We interviewed over a thousand students and only 19% of students actually even study in the library.

However, with average study times ranging between 1.5 to 4 hours a day, students are not studying less, but are merely studying whenever and wherever their busy lives permit. Many are using fragmented pockets of time to study for minutes – rather than hours – at a time.

Day in the life

This shift was reflected in recent findings from Cengage Learning’s “21 Voices,” an ongoing research project aimed at gaining insight into students’ daily lives. As part of that project, we asked students to “Draw Their Day”. The goal was to understand their evolving learning behaviors and see how they fit studying into their jam packed daily lives.

We saw students grabbing study time before breakfast, between classes, after workouts, and other short increments throughout the day and night. The advent of educational technology and mobile devices enables this ability to study whenever, wherever more than ever before.

Aligning tech support

Jim Sherer, Vice President of Technical Support at Cengage Learning, has seen this shift in study habits first hand. “As students’ study habits change, it’s our job to change with them. We’re making better use of data, adapting our services and, most importantly, aligning tech support to their learning lives and behaviors. We’re working to help students reclaim and redistribute their time where they want and need to spend it.”

Sherer also says, “They’re getting the answers they need within 90 seconds, which has resulted in a 97% satisfaction rate with our technical support services.”

But it doesn’t stop there. As study habits continue to change, we are constantly looking for new ways to support students and will continue to roll out new services that will serve them better in this changing environment where access to digital solutions becomes a critical part of their success.