NMC Horizon Report 2015: Higher Education

The latest Horizon Report for Higher Education has just been released. As usual I like to peruse the key trends and challenges which are usually more interesting than the actual predictions of developments in educational technology. Key trends highlighted this year (from short term to long term trends):

  • Redesigning Learning Spaces e.g. encouraging collaboration, project-based learning, incorporating technologies.
  • Increasing Use of Blended Learning
  • Proliferation of Open Educational Resources (OER): resources not just free in economic terms, but also in terms of ownership and usage rights.
  • Growing Focus on Measuring Learning – learning analytics is starting to provide crucial insights into student progress and interaction
  • Increasing Cross-Institution Collaboration – universities to unite across international borders and work toward common goals concerning technology, research, or shared values.
  • Advancing Cultures of Change and Innovation – In order to breed innovation and adapt to economic needs, higher education institutions must be structured in ways that allow for flexibility, and spur creativity and entrepreneurial thinking.

Key challenges highlighted this year (from short term to long term challenges):

  • Blending Formal and Informal Learning –  lack of ways to acknowledge and qualify learning that happens beyond the classroom.
  • Improving Digital Literacy – Supporting digital literacy requires policies that both address digital fluency training in pre- and in-service teachers, along with the students they teach.
  • Personalizing Learning – approaches, and support strategies intended to address the specific learning needs, interests and aspirations of individuals.
  • Teaching Complex Thinking – prepare learners to take advantage of the latest tools and techniques to help them tackle complex problems and influence systemic change
  • Competing Models of Education – provide a high quality of service and more learning opportunities at lower costs.
  • Rewarding Teaching – teaching is often rated lower than research in academia.

6 Educational Technologies to watch for Higher Education:

  • Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less
    • Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
    • Flipped Classroom
  • Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years
    • Makerspaces – engaging learners in creative, higher order problem solving through hands-on design, construction, and iteration.
    • Wearable Technology
  • Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years
    • Adaptive Learning Technologies
    • The Internet of Things

Interestingly only one item (Flipped Classrooms) was on the list of the report last year. The others seem to be new to the list (although Wearable technology and the Internet of Things have been on the long term horizon in previous years).

To read the full report: Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., and Freeman, A. (2015). NMC Horizon Report: 2015 Higher Education Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.


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