What Do the Next 5 Years Hold for Higher Ed Technological Innovation?

Learning Research

What Do the Next 5 Years Hold for Higher Ed Technological Innovation?

Feb 15, 2017

With input from more than 78 experts, the New Media Consortium (NMC) and the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative has released its 2017 Higher Education Report, highlighting six key trends, six significant challenges and six important developments in technologies that impact teaching and learning.

The extensive, annual, 54-page report features some fresh trends. A new development, cited for the first time in this report, is the next-generation learning management systems (LMS). Don’t confuse these with current LMSs that focus primarily on organizing teaching materials, say the authors. Rather, educators want systems that support personalization, meet universal design standards and offer more opportunities for formative assessments. “It reflects the desire to enable educators to unbundle all the elements of a learning experience. They want the opportunity to remix open content and educational apps,” said Samantha Becker, a Senior Director at NMC in an interview.

Researchers looked back the past 14 years of predictions, and here's what they found:

  • Blended learning was the most pervasive trend;
  • Competition for new models of education was the most targeted challenge;
  • Learning analytics was the most impactful technology device.

“We also used data from the past six years to develop meta-categories, so users interested in learning more about improving the teaching profession or spurring innovation can bury deeper into the topics,” said Becker.

One overall theme of the report is a growing need for faculty development around teaching, said David Thomas, director of academic technology at the University of Colorado at Denver, in an interview. “I think we’re starting to realize that the technology is largely in place,” added Thomas. “Now it’s largely a human capital problem.”

Those who don’t have time to read the full-length report can get the nuts and bolts in a seven-minute video available online. For readers with more time, taking a look back to compare the past and present reports can be a useful tool for vetting predictions.

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