Top 9 reasons why Institutions need to embrace eBooks
Last week New York City announced its partnership worth USD 30mn with Amazon, to create an eBook marketplace for its 1,800 public schools. While this is a seriously big news, it brings back another important question about eBooks – How important is it for Institutions such as schools and colleges to implement eBooks in their digital strategies. For a school or college, it is not only about converting a plain book to an eBook, but there are also a lot more elements to it, including interactivity, assessments, feedback, and ways to improve a student’s learning.
Here are our top 9 reasons why Institutions need to embrace eBooks sooner than later:
- 36% of students want to increase mobile technologies in classroom – According to a study by Pearson in 2014, 83% of students in US college students actively use mobile phones and 89% actively use laptops. 45% of the college students own a tablet. What this essentially means? Mobile devices are being extensively used by students as a means to learn better and faster. McGraw Hill reports that 81% of higher-ed students use mobile devices for learning (up by 40% since 2013). As an educational institute, this is probably one of the biggest reason to embrace eBooks, but they should deliver the content in a format that is platform agnostic (HTML5) or is supported across all devices.
- Goodbye, bulky books – Institutional learning is not confined to a single textbook. There are reference books that a student needs to refer to while learning. The average weight of a grade 6 student is 18.4 pounds and it increases with the grade. The number of reference books increases massively for higher education and for most reference books, only a few chapters are required. That’s where eBooks save the students a lot of physical burdens. With the newer eBook models such as Chapter Buy, eBooks enable students only to buy chapters that are required for the study. And that too on a portable device.
- There is more to learn than plain textbooks – Let’s face it. The way learning happens today, it is no longer only textbook oriented. There are YouTube videos, assessments, podcasts, presentations and a whole lot of content that is required by today’s students to learn. With the traditional ways of distribution all these content elements have to be delivered separately. The advantages of using an eBook is that all these elements can be delivered contextually on eBook itself. The student does not have to leave the eBook to access all the additional content, resulting in a more immersive and engaging experience.
- Collaborate with instructors at the same time – Why wait for going back to school or college and ask questions. Advanced eBooks now allow students and professors to interact over the eBook apps. Not only the students can highlight text and take notes, they can also share it to their peers and professors. Professors on the other hand can respond to their queries contextually on the eBook.
- Track student progress real-time – The biggest concern that an educational institution has is the inability to track the progress of a student using the traditional methods of learning. While exams provide a feedback whether a student has learnt or not, they are often late from the perspective of providing timely feedback for corrective actions. eBook platforms can help schools and colleges track the content usage by students and enable personalized learning for the students.
- Don’t wait for your book to arrive – Unlike the traditional ways of purchasing an eBook, where in either the student has to access the school or college library to check the availability of a book, or go to the bookstore or purchase it online, eBooks are delivered instantaneously. It is just like purchasing it, downloading it and start consuming it. All that is required is an internet connection.
- Enable distance learning – eBooks lowers the barrier for requiring a professor to deliver a lecture to geographically distanced students. With recorded lectures, embedded audio and video elements, schools and colleges can enable distance learning for students. The students can learn and submit assessments on the eBook itself. Even if distance learning is not a requirement, the regular students have the lectures, eBooks and other learning content always handy with them. Flipping the Classroom anyone?
- Search and Learn – This is one feature that physical books can never provide. The ease of using search within an eBook to locate the relevant section and learn from it. While glossaries are used and would be used in eBooks, search essentially saves time. Institutions which enable eBooks on their ecosystem essentially help students save valuable time which gets lost just for locating the relevant section.
- Economically more viable for students – eBooks help publishers save a lot of cost that goes in printing and distributing and they essentially pass some of the cost benefits to the end users. eBooks in most cases cost lower than physical books (highly interactive eBooks can be an exception here) and with newer eBook models such as pay by chapter and pay by page, eBooks have a considerable economic advantage for students.
While most of the above arguments offer a compelling case for investing in eBooks for schools and colleges, other external factors also need to be evaluated on a case by case basis, such as cost factors involved, change in existing technology etc. Do let us know your thoughts on the same in the comments section below.
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