Digital Learning at the University of Worcester
by Roberta Nicora

Many students now coming into university can be classed as millennials and what have they all grown up with? Technology. It intercepts all parts of everyday life, and the level of engagement that this generation has with technology makes it an imperative when working with them.

Kortext, the UK's leading digital learning platform, recognises this need and, along with partners John Smith’s and Samsung,  has been working with universities across the UK to provide the most intuitive digital learning platform. The University of Worcester has implemented Kortext through the REACH trial and has seen outstanding results. 3 courses have given each of their students a tablet preloaded with the Kortext app and etextbooks for their course, to assist in their education. The pilot has proved so successful in the first term, that the scheme has already paid for itself.

After its introduction, the digital learning platform has helped increase engagement and bring a huge range of benefits. Student surveys from The University of Worcester have shown early indications of increased satisfaction levels on the participating cohorts. Withdrawals from the 3 courses have also dropped from an average of 3.8% to below 1%, year on year. 

For this trial to be a success, it needed to achieve certain criteria: to maximise engagement between staff and students, to be a clear enhancement of the student experience and to create equality of access to essential study resources. Finally, it needed to develop an environment for personalised learning.

Of the 320 students participating in the study, 98% were active users, indicating excellent engagement. The pilot also showed that of the 2,419 etextbooks assigned, 100% had been downloaded to the devices supplied. There have also been 216,394 etextbooks' pages read and 25,908 annotations made. This all indicates that the staff and students have embedded the Kortext digital learning platform as an integral part of their teaching and learning environment.

The University of Worcester has been at the forefront of digitisation in the higher education sector. Its new award winning development of The Hive library, is evidence of this. The university has long also invested in the digitised student experience through innovations in the Library and Technology Enhanced Learning

The ideas behind the REACH trial, were to put a focus on student success and progression. There would be no hidden extras and it needed to be inclusive for all students. But the most important factor of all, was to give the students a new intuitive digital learning experience.

The staff and students at Worcester have given some great feedback. Bill Davies, head of Law, has said that

"Sessions have been more flexible and more engaging and interactive then I have ever given without the tablets."

A Nursing student has also said that

"The tablet has been a revelation in terms of opening PowerPoints during lectures and I have enjoyed Kortext. WOW! All that knowledge in such a small space."