tech trends

6 trends shaping the near and far future of higher ed

Annual Horizon Report details the trends, challenges, and developments to hit higher education

An increased focus on measuring learning, along with putting more thought into redesigning learning spaces, are two trends with great significance for higher ed in the next one to two years, according to the just-released Horizon Report.

The report measures the impact of innovative practices and technologies, along with unique challenges and developments, for higher-ed institutions across the globe. The research behind the report is a product of EDUCAUSE and the New Media Consortium, which EDUCAUSE acquired in early 2018.

The six trends are set to have wide-ranging impacts on higher education.

Short-term trends

1. Growing focus on measuring learning spaces: This trend encompasses the interest in assessment and the wide variety of methods and tools that educators use to evaluate, measure, and document academic readiness, learning progress, and skill acquisition. As societal and economic factors redefine the skills needed in today’s workforce, colleges and universities must rethink how to define, measure, and demonstrate subject mastery and soft skills such as creativity and collaboration.

2. Redesigning learning spaces: As universities engage with strategies that incorporate digital elements and accommodate more active learning in the physical classroom, they are rearranging physical environments to promote these pedagogical shifts. Educational settings are increasingly designed to support project-based interactions with attention to greater mobility, flexibility, and multiple device usage. To improve remote communication, institutions are upgrading wireless bandwidth and installing large displays that allow for more natural collaboration on digital projects.

Mid-term trends

3. The proliferation of open educational resources: Adoption of OER has been driven largely by efforts to reduce the costs associated with higher education, though perhaps the most powerful potential outcome of OER is the opportunity for institutions to develop a broader set of investments in course development and infrastructure.

Laura Ascione

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