Learner Device Preferences

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Oregon State surveyed over 2,000 of their ecampus students about their device preferences and were surprised with some of the results (according to a Webinar I attended that was hosted by the researchers Mary Ellen Dello Stritto, Ph.D. and Katie Linder, Ph.D.). Students don't always prefer mobile as many assume (including me Smiley Happy). 

Their research report Student Device Preferences for  Course Access and Multimedia Learning

includes all the survey questions and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

An interesting paragraph from their conclusion (Stritto & Linder, 2018, p. 23): "The results of this study show a wide range and variety of usage of the four main device types: desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. However, the students in this study overwhelmingly owned laptops and preferred to use those devices to access their courses and engage with videos and other multimedia. While this study showed that some students were using tablets and smartphones to access their course materials, they were rarely preferred, although they were used for convenience."

Of course, various colleges and universities obtain different results when they survey students using questions that are worded differently and are directed at different student demographics. On p. 29, the demographics describe how three quarters of their respondents were undergraduates with an average GPA of 3.39. Also, 42.9% were seniors and 23.9% were engineering students. The table on p. 27 lists respondent race/ethnicity that is not as diverse as other universities, such as Wayne State University in my home town of Detroit, Mic... and not as diverse as our community college in the Metro Detroit suburbs. Maybe various colleges and universities will administer the exact same student device preferences survey Stritto & Linder (2018) provided within their report. If so, I hope everyone shares out their results! 

Dello Stritto, M. E. & Linder, K. E. (2018). Student device preferences for  course access and multimedia learning. Corvallis, OR. Oregon State University Ecampus Research Unit.

1 Comment
Community Member

hi dejonghed07@macomb.edu

This is so true.  I think lots of students use their phones for communication and don't tend to use them for work.  They prefer the laptops or larger devices.   I read some research that concluded that students though devices without keyboards were for entertainment and those with keyboards were for work.  This mimics what i have seen with 14/15 year olds.

About the Author
As an Instructional Designer at Macomb Community College, I design, develop and facilitate online and on-ground workshops including online faculty certification and Canvas certification. I also support faculty in repurposing courses from an on-ground to an online learning environment, recommend course improvement ideas, and support faculty in using technology to facilitate learning. I obtained an Ed.S. and M.Ed. in Instructional Technology from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan and a B.A. in Education from the University of Michigan in Dearborn, Michigan.