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What Do Today’s College Students Really Want? Innovative Student Research Program Fuels Product Development at Cengage Learning

By Andrea Jones
May 29th, 2014

New “21 Voices” research project to help better understand today’s students

Boston, MA, May 29, 2014 — Illustrating its increased commitment to focus on the student end-user, Cengage Learning today announced 21 Voices — a research program that will allow the company to gain valuable insights into the daily lives of college students. Twenty-one students from different regions, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds, representing a mix of different majors as well as academic and extracurricular interests, will participate in this unique multi-year, hands-on research program. Outcomes of this research will inform product development and better position Cengage Learning to design and deliver products to both engage and delight students.

“Marking an industry leading shift in long-standing practice, Cengage is putting students first in the development of educational materials rather than designing products based on what faculty and instructors tell us students need,” said Jim Donohue, chief product officer. “In order to do this, we must listen to students and truly understand the way they live their lives.

“What distinguishes this from other research efforts is that it is focused on the end-to-end lives of students, rather than on developing a specific product or even addressing the needs of any individual discipline,” Donohue said. “This lets us zoom out the lens, see the bigger picture, and discover new ways to improve the overall learning experience for students.”

The 21 Voices program pairs students with Cengage researchers for activities at different intervals throughout the year. These include weekly activities such as blogging, photo journaling, surveys and video chatting. Every quarter, the Cengage researchers will spend time observing the students’ everyday lives and how they handle challenges and deadlines during the academic semester. There will be an annual summit to facilitate collaboration and share the research findings.

Updates on 21 Voices will be released as the program progresses. For more information about 21 Voices, visit www.cengage.com/students/21voices.

About Cengage Learning
Cengage Learning is a leading educational content, technology, and services company for the higher education and K-12, professional and library markets worldwide. The company provides superior content, personalized services and course-driven digital solutions that accelerate student engagement and transform the learning experience. Cengage Learning is headquartered in Boston, MA with operations in more than 20 countries around the world. www.cengage.com.

About the Author:

Andrea Jones

Andrea Jones is a technology specialist in Virginia. A former French teacher, she currently supports technology integration in a middle school.