Efficacy and research

The Not-So-Powerful PowerPoint®: Students Weigh the “Best” Classes Against the “Worst”

The Today’s Student project by Cengage Learning is based on original research that springs from our company’s commitment to gaining insights directly from students. We surveyed and interviewed 5,000 students—traditional and non-traditional, from four-year and two-year colleges—for their impressions of success, career prospects, technology, courses, and obstacles to achieving academic goals.

In this report, Cengage Learning explores how students define their “best” and “worst” classes and uncovers the criteria that influenced this ranking. Student comments largely spoke to the importance of active learning—using technology to complement instructor interaction.

» Download the whitepaper: “The Not-So-Powerful PowerPoint®: Students Weigh the ‘Best’ Classes against the ‘Worst’”

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Students’ New Reality: Saving for Four Years is Not Enough

When is a four-year college not a four-year college? When it takes six years or more to finish. A survey of 5,300 students from the Today’s Student research study, co-developed and deployed by Cengage Learning and The Work Institute, LLC, reveals how students are handling the new reality of college life – from additional years to mounting student debt.
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Closing the Gap to Conceptual Understanding

Insights from the 2015 American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) conference

In an effort to better understand the needs and challenges of Physics instructors, Cengage Learning conducted research with attendees of the 2015 American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) conference. In addition to needs and challenges, the research was designed to understand how instructors are using technology as well as how it has impacted their style of teaching. A total of 12 AAPT attendees were interviewed. The participants taught all levels of Physics and represented a wide variety of 2- and 4-year institutions. The interviews revealed that Physics instructors are struggling with building critical thinking skills with students, but believe that technology can aid in increasing student engagement.

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Addressing the Needs of Health Care Students and Instructors

Insights from the 2015 ABHES Conference
In order to better understand the challenges facing career college health care instructors and their students, Cengage Learning’s market research team conducted interviews with instructors at the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) conference in February 2015. Cengage Learning wanted to understand instructor needs and concerns, and discuss what they consider to be their most significant challenges.

A total of fourteen instructors across health care disciplines were interviewed. The research shows that instructors have difficulty engaging students and getting past their personal barriers. These barriers, which include home issues and poor academic backgrounds, are the biggest challenges most students face.
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Community Colleges Are Successfully Reinventing Their Mission

Following World War II, “the United States economy promised middle-class jobs to high school graduates,” as Georgetown University’s Anthony Carnevale noted in a 2012 New York Times piece. “As late as the 1970s, more than 70 percent of middle-class jobs still required only high school or less, but between 1973 and 2010, the share of jobs requiring education beyond high school more than doubled, to more than 60 percent from 28 percent.” With today’s employment emphasis on technology and specialization, the expectations lean even more dramatically toward a postsecondary degree. For a growing population of traditional and non-traditional students, that means a two-year community college.

Though often stigmatized and dismissed in the past, community colleges have nonetheless realized a resurgence of interest among learners of all ages, educational backgrounds, skill levels and goals.

To read more about these trends, read our paper “Community Colleges Are Successfully Reinventing Their Mission,” which details how students at community colleges are more satisfied than students in four-year schools and also feel that their community college courses prepare them better for the workplace, compared with four-year schools.

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With Digital Learning Solutions, Assignments Matter

Within the past few years, advances in digital learning solutions have increased the options available to instructors. The challenge for instructors has evolved from simply incorporating a digital solution into their classroom into how to best leverage the myriad options available within the solution. Research conducted by Cengage Learning shows that the biggest difference can come from weighting assignments within the digital solution as part of a course grade. Instructors across disciplines have reported higher levels of student engagement in course materials when at least 20% of their course grade is tied to their digital learning solution. This white paper will examine a semester-long study of instructors using MindTap as well as individual stories of instructors successfully implementing digital learning solutions in their respective courses.

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Rich Digital Primary Source Sets and Intuitive Courseware Increase Student Engagement and Outcomes in U.S. History with MindTap

Students taking U.S. History courses in today’s higher education environment are often not engaged in the course and often apathetic to history in general. That sent Cengage Learning down a path to reinvent the courseware being used to teach and learn the U.S. History Survey. To measure the impact of this novel application, A total of nine instructors teaching History courses to 808 postsecondary students participated in the research. The goal of the study was to compare final grades achieved in courses taught by the same instructors under two different conditions: courses taught with MindTap and courses taught without MindTap. The results were quite dramatic: students in U.S. History classes using MindTap achieved significantly better course grades than students in classes using the same textbooks and other digital resources but without MindTap. Furthermore, students using MindTap for U.S. History received 32% more A’s and more than 35% less D’s and F’s. All instructors who used the Progress Report felt that it helped them understand students’ strengths and weaknesses. And around two-thirds of students who used MindTap recommended it for students taking the course in the future. MindTap for U.S. History is an effective tool to increase the academic success of students in the digital classroom.

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MindTap Supports Course Customization and Sparks Engagement in Softside Disciplines

College instructors routinely report that engaging students in their coursework and promoting critical thinking are deep-rooted, ongoing challenges. Many instructors also say they spend a significant amount of time looking for custom content that will capture students’ interest and better align with their curriculum. An increasing number are evaluating—and using—digital products to help address these teaching issues, and there are good reasons for doing so. Today’s mobile, digitally savvy students bring to their college education the expectation for convenient, instant connectivity to information—including course materials. Digital solutions meet this demand, paving the way to improved engagement while streamlining instructors’ course preparation with multimedia resources and integration tools that support course customization.

Cengage Learning’s online digital teaching and learning solution, MindTap, has been shown to appeal to students and instructors alike. More importantly, it has demonstrated its ability to improve engagement and student performance in a variety of softside courses such as American government, criminal justice (CJ), and history. This white paper summarizes a research study as well as the individual experiences of instructors who have found MindTap to be an effective source of time-saving customization tools as well as features and content that promote better student outcomes.

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Engaging Students with MindTap Leads to Success

A Study of MindTap in Post-secondary College Success, Criminal Justice, Medical Terminology, and Psychology Courses

MarketingWorks and SEG Measurement, two independent research firms, conducted a comprehensive study of faculty and student perceptions of MindTap in the fall of 2014.

In a national, semester-long study, a majority of instructors and students in college success, criminal justice, medical terminology, and psychology courses judged MindTap to be effective in helping to teach students the content of their courses. In addition, students using MindTap in psychology courses showed significantly greater growth in psychology knowledge and skills than students who did not use MindTap but did support their learning with other digital tools.

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Student Learning Improves Significantly with MindTap

Peer Reviewed

A study of the impact of Cengage Learning’s MindTap on student learning in post-secondary psychology courses

Cengage Learning is continually studying the impact of our products in the increasingly digital higher education environment. To examine the impact of MindTap on Psychology courses, a large efficacy study was undertaken by two independent research teams. This study collected feedback from students and instructors as well as analyze the results of a standard post-test of subject matter knowledge. Students in classes using MindTap achieved significantly higher psychology post-test scores than students in classes using the same textbooks and other digital resources but without MindTap. All participating instructors felt that MindTap contributed to student learning and to enhancing students’ critical thinking skills. A majority of the participating students felt MindTap made the course more engaging and contributed to improving their grade in the course. The researchers concluded that MindTap can be an effective tool to increase student learning and improve instructor productivity in Psychology.
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