Skip to main content

Report: New McGraw-Hill Research Finds More than 80 Percent of Students Use Mobile Technology to Study

Company's second annual report on digital study trends in higher education finds that college students' use of mobile use for studying has jumped 40 percent since 2013

NEW YORK, March 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Mobile use among students was on the rise from 2013 to 2014, according to new research released today by McGraw-Hill. The second annual report, "The Impact of Technology on College Student Study Habits," conducted by McGraw-Hill and Hanover Research, found that 81 percent of students use mobile devices (such as smartphones and tablets) to study, the second most popular device category behind laptops and up 40 percent year over year. Of the different types of learning technologies available, students found that adaptive learning technologies were the most effective, with 85 percent indicating a moderate or major improvement in grades.

VIDEO: "SmartBook Made Success Possible"

"The rise of studying via mobile isn't simply due to the ubiquity of smartphones and tablets on campus, it's a case of mobile suiting the way students study now. The feedback we've received from students and instructors suggests that today's students tend toward shorter, more concentrated bursts of studying anywhere they're able, rather than waiting for several hours to hunker down in the library," said Sharon Loeb, vice president of marketing for McGraw-Hill, Higher Ed. "We expect the growth in mobile use among college students to continue for the next five years, which means institutions will need to adapt their infrastructure and faculty will want to consider ways to incorporate mobile learning into their courses."

According to the survey of roughly 1,700 college students across the U.S., technology plays an integral role in their collegiate experiences:

  • Mobile is becoming a must-have: 66 percent of students indicated it is moderately to extremely important for them to be able to study on a mobile device

Technology adoption for higher education is growing rapidly, due in large part to the positive impact on students. The report found:

  • Technology can lead to better grades: 77 percent of students said study technology has positively impacted their grades
  • Tech is also saving students time: 48 percent of students said technology saves them time while studying; of this group, 77 percent indicated technology saves them two to five hours per week or more
  • Confidence is key: Students said technology helps them feel better prepared for classes (62 percent) and have more confidence in their knowledge of course material (52 percent)

When it comes to providing high-quality education technology solutions for students, personalization matters. Seventy-two percent of students agreed that study technology should feel as tailored as social media feeds, and 79 percent of students agreed study technology should be more individualized.

"Greater personalization and effectiveness are why we see major growth in adaptive learning technologies," said Loeb. "Adaptive technology delivers personalized learning experiences that continually respond to students' individual knowledge and skill levels, helping them to focus on areas where they need the most help and resist the urge to spend time on material they've already mastered. Our adaptive systems have been shown to improve student performance by an average of one letter grade, and it's exciting to see this effectiveness translate to increasing popularity among students."

Other findings from the report offer insight into a student's perception of college readiness and sentiment about their financial futures. More than half of students (51 percent) said that college is harder than they expected, while 57 percent indicated that the cost of tuition is the most difficult part about college. Eighty-nine percent of students agreed that without student loans, they would not be able to afford college, and 77 percent said they are worried that they will feel trapped by student loan payments after graduation.

About The Impact of Technology on College Student Study Habits Research

McGraw-Hill's study, "The Impact of Technology on College Student Study Habits," surveyed 1,697 college students aged 18+ who are currently enrolled in higher education institutions across the U.S. Respondents were from a mix of majors and grade levels, ranging from freshman to PhD students, and have used McGraw-Hill's technology in their coursework.

McGraw Hill
McGraw Hill is a leading global education company that partners with millions of educators, learners and professionals around the world. Recognizing their diverse needs, we build trusted content, flexible tools and powerful digital platforms to help them achieve success on their own terms. Through our commitment to equity, accessibility and inclusion, we foster a culture of belonging that respects and reflects the diversity of the communities, learners and educators we serve. McGraw Hill has over 30 offices across North America, Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and South America, and makes its learning solutions for PreK-12, higher education, professionals and others available in more than 80 languages. Visit us at or find us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or X.

Tyler Reed
McGraw Hill
(914) 512-4853