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Cengage Learning

Digital student resources

The brief

Cengage Learning publishes textbooks for students in HE in both printed and e-formats, supplementing these with a range of digital assets – provided free or as a bundle.

As a basis for developing new digital supplements, Cengage commissioned Shift Learning to deliver a strong base of feedback from students including the digital materials they find most useful, how new resources are discovered and whether there are any unmet needs that Cengage could be addressing in the digital environment.

Our approach and methodology

We adopted a three stage methodology to provide Cengage with research which integrated a variety of perspectives:

Stage 1

  • Series of face-to-face focus groups with students in university campuses, allowing us to understand what learners expect from digital resources and the value that they derive from them.

Stage 2

  • 2 online focus groups with learners at universities across the UK. This allowed us to gather opinions across a broader geographical range and avoid any bias that may have affected the earlier face-to-face groups.

Stage 3

  • Phone interviews with lecturers, building on the findings of the first two phases. This phase aimed at establishing the drivers that encouraged lecturers to recommend digital support resources on their courses.

Delivering results and value to our client

We worked closely with Cengage Learning to ensure that we kept them up to date with research results as soon as possible, delivering a top-line interim report after the focus groups which helped to inform the final research phase.

Our final research report gave Cengage Learning a set of hypotheses around student study and purchasing behaviours, as well as the factors which affect their lecturers’ perceptions. These will go on to inform quantitative research in wider subject areas and markets, with a view to informing strategies for product development in 2017 and 2018.