Although the creation of electronic the book dates back to 40 years ago, ebooks have only just started to become popular over the last few years. Traditionally etextbooks consisted of a digital version of print books; however, with time, additional features such as keyword search, bookmarking and highlighting have been developed. As well as this, currently, most digital books have features such as citation tools, text-to-speech features and interactive quizzes, allowing learners to interact more actively with content.
At this point, a common question is “How have e-textbooks influenced the whole student experience?”
Firstly, students have started benefiting from etextbooks because of their affordability and portability. In most cases, digital books are usually provided for free by universities. This is because they are more affordable than print books, as they do not have print costs. For this reason, learners are more willing to purchase books, interact with them and have more chance to do well on their course. As well as this, due to the ebooks’ portable nature, students usually carry their digital books at university and interact with them during their lectures.
Secondly, digital books have improved the learning experience of students with impairments. Indeed, learners with disabilities are able to interact with digital content through the use of smart tools such as the read-aloud function or text resizing.
Thirdly, students have started benefitting from the functionalities offered by these digital textbooks. This is done through the use of search, citation, highlighting and note taking tools. As well as this, smart functionalities have helped learners to consume information in a deeper and more engaging way.
Finally, due to the digital nature of ebooks, students are more willing to engage with content and lectures, as they are on a platform that they use regularly. Thus, improving their grades and enhancing their whole learning experience.
Due to these positive aspects, nowadays, many higher education institutions are replacing their print books with digital textbooks. Additionally, they are providing this digital content for free.
Nevertheless, if universities would like to offer a memorable learning experience, they should offer more than simply digital content. Hence, it would 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.