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Almost half of students are using smartphones regularly to assist in their studies, according to a new report exploring the proliferation of technology in education.

The report, from international awarding organisation YMCA Awards, also revealed that most (82%) students want access to a mix of both traditional offline resources and newer digital learning methods in their studies.

Exploring technology-enhanced learning in health and fitness further education, the research featured in the report used a sample of 250 students enrolled on related courses and uncovered 78% of students use websites, 70% use online quizzes, 62% use online videos, while one in four use online games to support learning.

In addition, the report found that six in ten learners value small, bite-sized learning content of around five to ten minutes and 59% want multimedia to be included in this – such as video, audio, illustrations.

These findings come in light of news that smartphones, for the first time, have surpassed desktop computers for web browsing. Indeed, three in five students in YMCA Awards’ study cited smartphones as the most used device in their daily lives, ahead of laptops and desktop computers.

The organisation is now warning that training providers need to do more to incorporate mobile methods into teaching, if they haven’t already.

Commenting on the findings, Rob May, Director of YMCA Awards, said:

“The rise in mobile technology is hard to deny and it goes far beyond communication, as it was first intended. How many of us use our smartphone devices to read the news? To manage our money through banking apps? Or even to shop? Naturally enough it comes as no surprise that this technology is finding its way into the education and training sphere.

“As an awarding body for the leisure sector, we truly believe the rise in mobile learning will become particularly important for our industry as it gives learners the ability to learn whilst on the move, in a range of environments. For those providers who have yet to incorporate digital and mobile learning technologies, now is the time to review this approach. As our research shows, mobile phone usage to aid study is on the rise and this is only likely to increase in coming months and years. And, with over 80% of learners preferring a mix of learning methods, it makes sense for providers to begin to explore the possibility of offering some aspects of training through mobile technology. Failure to do this could mean some providers get left behind as their bolder, and more innovative, counterparts race ahead.”

For further information on the report, please visit: http://www.ymcaawards.co.uk/campaign/making-digital-learning-work/

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