The NMC and EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) jointly released the NMC Horizon Report > 2014 Higher Education Edition at a special session at the ELI Annual Meeting 2014. This eleventh edition describes annual findings from the NMC Horizon Project, an ongoing research project designed to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have an impact on learning, teaching, and creative inquiry in education. Six key trends, six significant challenges, and six emerging technologies are identified across three adoption horizons over the next one to five years, giving campus leaders and practitioners a valuable guide for strategic technology planning. The format of the report is new this year, providing these leaders with more in-depth insight into how the trends and challenges are accelerating and impeding the adoption of educational technology, along with their implications for policy, leadership and practice.
“Campus leaders and practitioners across the world use the report as a springboard for discussion around important trends and challenges,” says Larry Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of the NMC. “Understanding how to better incorporate online learning in face-to-face settings will be critical over the next year, along with the notion that higher education institutions need to define policies around social media use to maximize the potential of these platforms for teaching and learning.”
Key Trends Accelerating Higher Education Technology Adoption
This year’s NMC Horizon Report identifies the Integration of Online, Hybrid, and Collaborative Learning and the Growing Ubiquity of Social Media as fast trends driving changes in higher education over the next one to two years. The Shift from Students as Consumers to Students as Creators and the Rise of Data-Driven Learning and Assessment are mid-range trends expected to accelerate technology use in the next three to five years; and Agile Approaches to Change and the Evolution of Online Learning are long-range trends, positioned at more than five years away.
Significant Challenges Impeding Higher Education Technology Adoption
A number of challenges are acknowledged for presenting barriers to the mainstream use of technology in higher education. Low Digital Fluency of Faculty and Relative Lack of Rewards for Teaching are perceived as solvable challenges — those which we both understand and know how to solve. Competition from New Models of Education and Scaling Teaching Innovations are considered difficult challenges, which are defined as well understood but with solutions that are elusive. Described as wicked challenges are Expanding Access and Keeping Education Relevant, which are complex to define, much less address.
Important Developments in Educational Technology for Higher Education
Additionally, the report identifies Flipped Classroom and Learning Analytics as technologies expected to enter mainstream use in the first horizon of one year or less. 3D Printing and Games and Gamification are seen in the second horizon of two to three years; Quantified Self and Virtual Assistants are seen emerging in the third horizon of four to five years.
The subject matter in this report was identified through a qualitative research process designed and conducted by the NMC that engages an international body of experts in education, technology, business, and other fields around a set of research questions designed to surface significant trends and challenges and to identify emerging technologies with a strong likelihood of adoption in higher education. The NMC Horizon Report > 2014 Higher Education Edition details the areas in which these experts were in strong agreement.
“With its 2014 edition, the Horizon Report for higher education has taken some important evolutionary steps,” says ELI Director Malcolm Brown. “The report now embeds the six technologies more explicitly in the overall context of higher education, with its expanded section on trends and challenges. The report has always assisted the community in making decisions about technology directions, but now the trends and challenges sections provide additional resources for campus discussions and decision making.”
The NMC Horizon Report > 2014 Higher Education Edition is available online, free of charge, and is released under a Creative Commons license to facilitate its widespread use, easy duplication, and broad distribution.