Every new semester brings a new set of teaching challenges. Spring 2023 was no different. When faculty combine powerful technology like Top Hat with their own efforts to advance equity and engagement in the classroom, students take note. We recently surveyed more than 4,100 students across 157 higher education institutions who used Top Hat during the spring 2023 semester. The bottom line: students appreciate being able to access engaging learning tools beyond the lecture hall, as well as being able to test their understanding in an interactive manner. Below, we summarize our key findings.

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Cater to students with varying levels of preparedness

Learners arrive to class with a complex set of needs. It’s why personalized and collaborative learning tools have become a non-negotiable item for students today. Students rate Top Hat particularly high on user-friendliness and engagement. 88 percent of student users agree or strongly agree that Top Hat activities help them feel more engaged in the learning process. “I would not have been as motivated to pay attention and learn the material without the incentive of acing the next Top Hat question!,” shares one student from the University of South Carolina. Students also grade Top Hat against traditional teaching software. 73 percent of learners agree or strongly agree that Top Hat is more engaging than most other educational products they’ve used in college.

Course materials play a critical role in keeping students engaged beyond class time—and students have come to expect accessible and multimedia-rich readings. Of those who use Top Hat textbooks, 77 percent agree or strongly agree that Top Hat’s dynamic courseware is more engaging than a traditional textbook. “All the resources given helped me understand and remember the material on a level that I usually can’t achieve with other textbooks. I also really like the formatting of the readings with relevant videos and questions integrated in the reading content,” shares a student from McGill University. 

Greater practice leads to better comprehension

Student ‘A’ might need support with the stages of mitosis. But Student ‘B’ might need support with the evolution of mammals. Today’s learners value having multiple opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge using frequent, low-stakes assessments that reduce the pressure to perform. They also see a direct correlation between practice and comprehension, made clear by the following results. 83 percent of students agree or strongly agree that Top Hat helped them better understand the course material. “I loved how Top Hat allows you the opportunity to answer the questions again if your results are incorrect. It helps me better understand my mistakes, therefore I am able to recognize my erroneous work,” shares a student from the University of Houston.

Comprehension and confidence go hand-in-hand for students today. When given the opportunity to complete several quizzes, polls and discussions in class, students are more likely to feel confident in their academic abilities. 79 percent of students agree or strongly agree that Top Hat helped them better understand their instructor’s lectures. Just as promising, 73 percent of students agree or strongly agree that being able to participate in class through Top Hat helped them feel more confident in their course.

Paving the way for a more enriching educational experience

When learning barriers are removed, students are more likely to thrive. So it’s no wonder that the majority of students support the use of Top Hat in their future academic endeavors. An impressive 89 percent of students recommend their instructors use the engagement platform again. Top Hat’s accessible and interactive tools have proven to leave a lasting impression on students from all backgrounds. For example, 83 percent of students agree or strongly agree that Top Hat helped them be successful in their course. “It was a very integrative way of teaching course concepts to the students and I think it benefited our learning experience,” shares a Wilfrid Laurier University student.

Survey methodology

Survey responses were collected by Top Hat from 4,146 college and university students who used the platform and content during the spring 2023 semester. Respondents represented 157 North American institutions. The top five disciplines include Chemistry, Psychology, Biology, Government and English.

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