Parents Prefer Print

Parents prefer physical learning materials over digital.

Online learning became the norm across the globe in 2020, as the global lockdown resulted in schools closing their doors and teachers conducting classes via video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet.
SCREEN Americas and Muller Martini recently sponsored a survey conducted by the Book Manufacturer’s Institute, that questioned 1000 parents of primary and secondary school pupils in America.
Parents were questioned about their and their child’s experience with remote learning during the Covid-19 pandemic, with particular focus on the impact of digital learning material on the child’s learning experience. The Book Manufacturer’s Institute wanted to determine whether parents preferred for their children to use digital or printed educational material when attending school online.
In today’s digitally connected world, one would expect the survey’s results to be swayed heavily towards digital learning materials, but in fact the findings were quite the opposite: in general parents experienced numerous frustrations with the transition to online learning and most of the parents felt that the use of printed learning materials was essential to their child’s education.

Key Findings:

  • 85% of parents want their children to be utilising physical books and 88% regard them as essential learning tools.
  • 69% of parents prefer physical learning materials over online materials and 76% feel that books are more impactful to their child’s learning experience than online materials.
  • Over 80% of parents felt that physical learning materials would have made things far easier for them during the lockdown, when they were helping their children learn at home.
  • The foremost concern parents had with online learning was distractions, because they felt that it was easy for their child to do such things as surf the web during lessons.

The results are conclusive, universal, and undeniable. Parents clearly articulate why they believe physical materials will have a more meaningful, measurable, and positive impact on student learning. And with the pandemic having disrupted learning just about everywhere, they are demanding a better learning environment from now on.” – Dr. Frank I Luntz

Studies have shown that information retention is better with print, as is concentration – this is applicable to both children and adults. Students also tend to feel more of a sense of accomplishment when they have finished reading a physical book as opposed to a digital book, due to the tangible nature of a physical book.

What’s interesting to note about the survey was that many parents felt that they would have had a better view of their child’s learning experience and progress, if their child had used physical learning materials. Parents want to be sure that their child is receiving a good education and it appears to be harder for them to track progress when their child is learning online.

Books are Best

While the Covid-19 pandemic forced many to embrace digital communication tools, when it comes to education it may have had the opposite effect and reinforced the need for physical learning materials and the importance of in-person classes. Printed materials are often far more convenient to reference and easier to use, especially when a child needs learning assistance from a parent.
So despite the move to digital, it seems that in some areas, print is here to stay.

To read more about the survey, visit the Book Manufacturer’s Institute’s website.