Researchers at an Australian university have demonstrated how an app can be used to improve academic performance.

The Swinburne University of Technology team developed a customised app for lecturers, to enable them to interact easily with students. Those students who used the app performed just over 7% better on their course work than those who didn’t. And when it was first introduced two years ago it boosted retention by 12% compared with the previous semester.

Swinburne academic Dr Ekaterina Pechenkina said: “Evidence-based research into student engagement tells us that well-engaged students are less likely to drop out. Our results imply that students are willing to use learning apps and that performing highly on the app may predict their future academic success.”

By pushing quizzes and games through to students lectures are better able to build a meaningful relationship with students.

“At a time when students’ demand for personalized education is growing, mobile apps could allow students to access course material whenever they choose. Game elements like leaderboards and digital badges generate feedback, allowing students to see how they are performing compared to their peers. Taking advantage of mobile app technologies in this way could help lecturers reach out to their students and keep them interested in the course content,” added Dr Pechenkina.