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How You Can Finally Get Students To Read Their Content

There are tactical things you can do to ensure students actually do read their content.

January 30, 2023

Are you tired of putting hours of work and time into preparing your classroom content/structure for the semester only to learn that most students look to alternative sources for learning? As just one example of many, 60% of students report a preference for YouTube as a tool for learning over traditionally printed textbooks in the classroom. 

As a professor, the most important thing you can do is add value to your students' education—but how can you do that when so many refuse to read their content to prepare for coursework and exams? You adapt with the times and start teaching in a way they benefit most from and enjoy in the process!

Here's the problem and solution to getting your students to read their content finally.

The Problem: Emerging Competitors 

It has always been a challenge getting students to read their content. The difference is that several years ago, you either read the material or you didn't pass. 

Today, there are alternatives. Emerging competitors like Quizlet, Chegg, Khan Academy, and Youtube are stealing their attention and offering easier ways around your readings.

Khan Academy is particularly popular for personalized learning and studying at their own pace. On the other hand, YouTube is a convenient way to watch hands-on learning (often in an entertaining way), and Quizlet and Chegg are great for quick answers—with approximately 40 million students using Chegg for classroom aid and 50 million using Quizlet. 

Putting the portion of students aside that use these platforms for cheating, the problem here isn't that your students aren't learning; they're doing it somewhere else. The most influential and impactful learning should be done in your classroom. And there are ways to make it happen!

The Solution: Five Ways You Can Influence Students to Read More

Ignacio Estrada once said, "If a child can't learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn." Research shows that these five tools and solutions are crucial to getting students more involved and engaged with your content.

1. Reading Analytics 

One of the first ways to influence more reading is to have valuable insight into their performance throughout the semester. This will not only tell you who is keeping up with their assignments and who isn't but areas where you may even be able to improve or spend more time. For instance, students may not be reading their content because they have difficulty keeping up with their course.

Classavo has an analytics feature that shows if and how students engage with course materials, how long they spend on specific topics, and more. This could be an excellent tool for uncovering what issues may need more attention and which students may require different learning styles.

2. Replace Static Textbooks With DIY Content Relevant to Exams

Arguably the most important solution to students not reading their content is DIYing your content. Traditional textbooks are often too expensive for most students—not to mention they're boring, broad, and general, not customized to your unique teaching methods, and so much more. A recent study uncovered that a shocking 65% of students have already started skipping textbook purchases for these reasons. 

So, if you want your students to read more of their content, you'll need to make it more accessible and relevant. 

DIY content gives you more control over your teaching, making your material as relevant to quizzes and exams as possible so students see value in reading, studying, and learning. 

3. Secure Exams and Quizzes

Most of your students want to achieve their best in the classroom. However, you'll still find a few looking for an easy way out that allows them to skip reading materials and ask the internet for answers during tests. In fact, studies show that the rate of cheating has increased since testing has moved online.

The evolution of technology has allowed many students to get away with this—platforms like Classavo do not. 

By making exams and quizzes more secure, your students will have to read your course content to obtain and retain the information they need to pass your tests. Combining DIY content with secure test-taking nearly eliminates the ability to cheat. Therefore, more students are getting the necessary information and learning to continue their education and careers. 

4. Make Collaboration and Discussions Easy

Incorporating collaborative practices and discussions into your course material will get more people to read their content. While many teachers fear too much collaborative work will influence some students to work harder while others slack off and get good grades they don't deserve; collaborative work can be the most influential in education. 

This is because students can learn from each other in ways they may not be able to learn from you. Take, for instance, a study Emma Clemens conducted

In her assessment, she found that students valued a mix of group and individual work. This was because they would "remember a friend's explanation of a topic [in their group work] when answering questions" on individual work. 

5. Make Your Course Material More Accessible 

It's incredible how many people can miss their readings because they've misplaced, lost, or left behind their textbooks. It could be that they meant to read the material but didn't have it on hand when they had the time. Content your students can assess on their phones or laptops, on the other hand, reduces this issue because 95% bring their phones to class every day—and everywhere they go before and after. 

This means they can access course material and content whenever there is a small gap between the millions of things they have to do: between classes, waiting at a doctor's appointment, etc. 

These tools and features are a great way to encourage students to read more of your course content. It's also a great way to bring exciting, entertaining, and, more importantly, effective learning into your classroom. 

Students can lose as much as 50% of the new information they learned within an hour. Another 20% is gone in 24 hours. 

Classavo has an All-in-One-Teaching Platform geared towards making your classroom more effective and efficient at reaching your students with personalized content. Contact us for more insight and resources!

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