The shift to eTextbook adoption, especially in higher education, comes with numerous benefits. The last decade has seen significant interest among institutions in eTextbooks to enhance student learning and also to address the affordability issues arising from the cost of printed textbooks.
Several innovations in eTextbook delivery infrastructure and the emergence of best practices from early adopters indicate that digital reading may indeed be a practical alternative to its print counterpart. Other than their ability to store large amounts of material, portability, ease of reading, and easy page navigation, digital textbooks provide for a fun learning experience with a range of attractive features and customizable options for ease of reading.
In this blog, we will look at some of the ways digital textbooks can aid the learning abilities of students and boost their levels of engagement.
What are eTextbooks?
eTextbooks are the digital versions of the traditionally printed books that can be easily accessed, read and annotated from various digital devices such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, and eBook readers. Research suggests that eTextbooks have several interactive and collaborative features that help increase student engagement.
Let us look at how eTextbooks increase student engagement.
1. Ease of reading
Various eTextbook providers continually work on improving their eTextbook applications by incorporating tools such as a dictionary that instantly defines words that students may not understand or offers a definition for a specific word at the click of a button.
Further, with eTextbooks, students need not wait to purchase the book from a physical store as these are completely digital in nature and can be accessed online. Based on the textbook provider, some of them can also be accessed offline by downloading and saving on the digital devices.
2. Accommodates more learning styles
Every student has a unique learning style. For instance, some prefer watching videos or reading text whereas others are more comfortable following along with an instructor.
eTextbooks address these needs and allow for a more engaging and enriching experience as compared to plain text to help expand learning opportunities to students who may not have done as well using traditional learning materials.
3. Unique homework assignments
With traditionally printed textbooks, teachers are responsible for developing 100% of the assignments. However, most of these assignments are often limited to reading/answering questions, along with occasional project work.
Digital content, on the contrary, allows teachers to add a wide range of interactive learning elements that are not found in printed educational materials, such as interactive case studies, videos, annotating tools, and audio translations to better engage their students.
Students can also be assigned various online activities and assessments that are much more inspirational compared to the average reading assignments.
4. eTextbooks enable customization
Implementation of a digital textbook or eTextbook in the classroom allows instructors to customize the lesson for each student. Additionally, if a student reads a chapter in the textbook, takes a quiz, and does not clear the same, the teacher can adapt the activities in a way that the student will have to redo the work until a certain mastery level is achieved.
5. Search feature
This is an excellent feature that makes eTextbooks the preferred format for many students. Instead of scanning every page in a chapter looking for a quick answer, this very useful functionality of eTextbooks makes them convenient for students when it comes to studying and completing homework. Apart from searching for text, they can also bookmark pages and take notes just like in a traditional textbook.
6. Ease of page navigation
Unlike a printed textbook, where a student learns to memorize where specific chapters are located, e-textbooks make page navigation much simpler.
Page navigation allows students to proceed to the next page of content or revert to the previous page using built-in commands in the software. Some of the other navigation-friendly features of an eTextbook that help boost student engagement include easy jumping from page to page, using the index, and consulting the glossary.
7. Accessible anywhere and anytime
eTextbooks can be accessed and read almost anywhere. Further, with the browser-based reading platform, students can access their eTextbooks from any device including a laptop, desktop computer, tablet, or a smartphone.
One of the key elements of successful teaching is getting every student to actively participate in the learning process by way of engagement. eTextbooks allow students to easily highlight, annotate and then share their material or notes with friends, teachers or study groups.
9. Markup & interactive features
eTextbooks offer students multiple markup features such as highlighting and taking notes. Most e-readers today allow notes to be tagged to specific words/paragraphs of a book to help students take clear notes in their digital textbooks.
In today’s competitive education landscape, an online learning environment is becoming a popular alternative for students with no time or desire to sit in a traditional classroom for hours. With an ever-increasing tech-savvy generation of students accustomed to processing information from smart devices, embracing digitized versions of textbooks can make imparting and absorbing information effortless, while maximizing student engagement at the same time.
Digital or eTextbooks promote a new-age classroom approach that allows educators to connect with their students in a more collaborative environment, leading to better student engagement. It also helps in fostering more interactive, cost-effect and up-to-date education programs for better student outcomes.
However, the ubiquitous nature of digital textbooks requires the educators to be aware of potential pros and cons to be able to best support the creation, delivery and effectiveness of digital learning content.
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