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eTextbooks and their influence on the student learning experience

Even since the creation of first electronic eBook dates back to 40 years ago, ebooks have only just started to become popular over the last few years. Up until recently, etextbooks have been a digital version of print books; however, over time, new features such as keyword search, bookmarking and highlighting have been utilised. Furthermore, nearly all eBooks have components such as citation tools, text-to-speech features and interactive quizzes, enabling students to engage more actively with content.

Students have started taking advantage of etextbooks because of their price and flexibility. In many cases, digital books are usually provided for free by universities. This is due to the fact that they are more affordable than traditional books, as they do not have print costs. With this in mind, students are more willing to buy books, utilise them and have more ability to do well in their studies. As well as this, because of ebooks’ being highly portable, learners can carry their digital books at university and interact with them during their studies.

Secondly, ebooks have enhanced the learning experience of students with impairments.  Learners with disabilities are now able to interact with digital content through the use of smart tools, such as the read-aloud function or text resizing.

Thirdly, students have begun benefitting from the features offered by these digital textbooks. This is achieved with the use of search, citation, highlighting and note-taking tools. Furthermore, smart functionalities have allowed learners to utilise information in a deeper and more meaningful way.

Finally, due to the format of ebooks, students are more willing to engage with content and lectures, as they are on a platform that they are more familiar with. Moreover, improving their grades and deepening their whole learning experience.

With these positive aspects in mind, lots of higher education institutions are moving their traditional books with digital textbooks. Additionally, they are provisioning this digital content for a low price, or even for free in some cases.

Nevertheless, if institutions would like to provide a valuable learning experience, they should offer more than just digital content. Hence, it would also be useful for institutions to provide lecturers with training and support on how to integrate these digital materials with their modules, facilitating the student access to those resources.

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