This study says in about half of cases, they isn’t, at least not in the first couple of years:
[At 24 institutions of higher learning,] 45 percent of the students demonstrate no significant improvement in a range of skills—including critical thinking, complex reasoning, and writing—during their first two years of college.
The publisher quotes US News and World Report as commenting:
The time, money, and effort that’s required to educate college students helps explain why the findings are so shocking …—…many students aren’t learning anything.
One report of the study blames the assumption that all information is on the Internet so analysis and study aren’t important:
Sociologists Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa published the book “Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses,” which claimed business majors had the least amount of educational gains after their first two years of college….
The study also showed today’s business students are less engaged with the material than in past years. One reason for student disengagement is the Internet — students know they can always look up information when they need it, so they don’t take the time to study and memorize it.
Jonathan Keane of Drexel University writes of “Generation Laz-Y” and quotes another study suggesting that college students spend 36 percent of their time “communicating and networking across social networks, blogs, personal e-mail and instant messaging.”