- Educause released a report today that provides six key trends, six significant challenges and six new developments in educational technology that are likely to impact teaching and learning in the next five years. The 2018 NMC Horizon Report says two specific trends — advancing cultures of innovation and an increase in cross-institution collaboration — will be long-term priorities for colleges and universities.
- In the near term, the report says that analytics and new learning spaces are gaining importance as institutions look for ways to measure and boost student learning and success. Institutions will adopt adaptive learning technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) in two to three years, because they "promise to positively impact teaching and learning." Mixed reality and robotics also are expected to be more prominent in higher eduction in four to five years, according to the report, which was produced with research from the now-defunct New Media Consortium and the Educause Learning Initiative.
- However, campuses face challenges in advancing digital equity and adapting traditional organizational models to "advance the future of the workplace." The report identifies political and economic pressures as those that "create a wicked challenge" — one that is difficult to define and even more challenging to solve. Similarly, rethinking instructors' roles with the expansion of technologies is another challenge.
Ed tech continues to expand its impact on every aspect of the campus. In particular, institutions are increasingly turning to powerful analytics to dissect the abundance of student data available in order to improve retention and graduation rates. And as seen by the successes of Georgia State University in Atlanta, which caters to low-income and minority students, and others, effective use of data analytics can significantly boost student outcomes.
The use of big data and cloud computing and the expansive (and sometimes unpredictable) inroads made by online learning are among the most important changes in higher education brought about by technology, according to a recent review of trends by Educause as it celebrated its 20-year anniversary.
Institutions also are finding new uses for data, including in admissions recruitment and the monitoring of student activity to predict dropouts. However, experts note that while colleges acquire abundant data, they need to coordinate its compilation and use of it more effectively.
While higher ed has embraced data and computing technologies, it continues to be slow to adapt more advanced technologies like AI, augmented and virtual realities and adoptive learning that are more complicated to understand and integrate. However, colleges and universities need to find ways to adapt to the constant change that technology brings in order to attract students and top-notch instructors, streamline operations and cut costs. For some institutions, implementing or expanding the use of certain technologies could help them prevent the shut down of degree programs and departments — and even the closure of their doors forever.