The selection, approval, and adoption of academic texts can be a lengthy and carefully vetted process, especially in the public school sector where variables such as the appropriate nature of the content and budget come into play. There is often somewhat more leeway when it comes to adopting texts at the higher education level, with many university professors and department heads having more input into the selection of course materials. Those circumstances have been some of the difficulties that have prevented even more widespread adoption of digital textbooks.
Now, McGraw-Hill Education’s highly-innovative LearnSmart platform is addressing one of the key obstacles plaguing both professors and students, namely, the proprietary nature of academic publishing companies. Until this latest announcement, students and educators who wished to take advantage of the wealth of tools that McGraw-Hill’s LearnSmart adaptive learning dashboard had to offer could only utilize it in conjunction with McGraw-Hill texts. Essentially, any professors who wished to offer her students the advantages of the interactive and personalized platform was limited in terms of textbook options. The LearnSmart tool, though, now works off of learning objectives rather than page-correlated learning and study, so professors are free to select any text for their courses while still affording their students the benefits of using LearnSmart.
“We’ve heard it from students, professors and institutional leaders — our adaptive learning technologies improve student performance and help institutions with critical issues such as engagement and retention,” said Brian Kibby, president of McGraw-Hill Higher Education, in a press release. “By providing more students with access to LearnSmart, we expect to see a greater number of students studying more efficiently and effectively, mastering their coursework and achieving stronger results in their classes.”
LearnSmart helps students by assessing and evaluating the effectiveness of their study habits, which it does by checking content mastery and confidence and then targeting the material to where the deficiencies still lie. While LearnSmart and its family of learning products are currently compatible with computers and iOS devices, the company says an Android-compatible version is in the works, allowing students to work from anywhere and still access their study materials.