When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. That old adage reminds us to make the most of what we’re given in life. Over the past 10 years, publishers have been handed a big bag of lemons: The Internet. From maps to current events, the internet has changed how we get information. Education has not escaped this shift. The textbook industry has been disrupted by digital content. While textbooks were once the gold-standard of educational materials, they can no longer keep up with the less expensive, more interactive, highly flexible options afforded by the digital world. There are several reasons why textbook companies need to reevaluate their direction.
1. New, Costly Textbooks Are Now the Least Attractive Option
Let’s face it: textbooks don’t come cheap. The average college student has $37,000 in student debt, before even entering the working world. Students have little choice when it comes to tuition or housing. They can, however, cut back on the costs of learning materials. Desperate times call for desperate measures! It’s not unheard of for students to share textbooks, rely on notetaking, or simply go without. The better alternative is to purchase used textbook or rent textbooks…or, you guessed it, try out a digital copy.
2. Today’s Students Are Used To an Online World
You don’t have to look far to notice how heavily millennials and generation Z relies on smart phones. Wi-fi is now available for free in most coffee shops, restaurants, and many public areas. Cellular data enables connectivity almost anywhere. Not only are young people accustomed to accessing information around the clock, but the way they absorb and retain information has changed. From an early age, new generations are bombarded by online stimuli- games, videos, and social media 24/7. Every spare moment can be filled with entertainment. Younger generations have a harder time focusing on less stimulating pursuits, like reading a typical textbook. Online content offers the option of interactivity and mobile access, matching up with the needs and interests of today’s typical college student.
3. Textbooks Can’t Keep Up With Their Online Counterparts
When it comes to keeping up with the times, hard-cover textbooks simply can’t. Consider the practical aspects. The average student takes around four or five classes at a time, sometimes six. Some students don’t have a vehicle, and many take on part-time work. For a student on the go, that means dragging multiple textbooks from place to place. The online alternative is much less cumbersome. With a single iPad or laptop, students can bring all their learning material wherever they go. Textbooks can’t compete with the assessments offered by online textbooks either. Busy students want to make the most of the time they have. Online assessments consistently track progress, so students can keep tabs on their strengths and weaknesses. Traditional textbooks just can’t match the flexibility and features of digital content.
4. Many Educators Now See the Value of Digital Content
When online learning was born, educators were anxious. In classrooms of the future, would a computer replace the professor? They were relieved to discover the answer was an emphatic, “NO!”. Not only does online learning not replace educators, but the tools it offers have proven themselves invaluable in the classroom. Educators can augment their lessons with digital content customized for their students, breaking up lecture time with engaging online activities. The ability to assess their students throughout the learning process also enables teachers to discover students who need academic intervention long before a failed test. Digital content decidedly has a place in the classroom. In fact, this integration has demonstrated consistently stronger learning outcomes.
Students are Gravitating Towards Online Learning, and So Should Publishers
The picture painted here is clear: textbooks are old news, and online learning is the wave of the future. Students want learning to be flexible, accessible, and interactive. Though it hasn’t happened yet, but traditional textbooks may one day be obsolete. Don’t fight the change! The only option for textbook publishers hoping to keep up sales is to change their tactics, enter the digital learning arena, and create the revolutionary content today’s students are asking for. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!
The benefits of real-time changes to online learning are broad. The goal of education is to give students the tools they need to succeed, and online learning in real-time does just that. MyEcontentFactory can help you to provide students with the instant feedback, rapid connection, and ever current information they want with the speed and ease that your publishing business needs.
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