Key Trends Accelerating Tech Adoption in Higher Education


What is on the five-year horizon for Higher Education Institutions? What trends and technologies will drive educational change? The NMC/CoSN Horizon Report: 2016 Higher Education Edition examines emerging technologies for their potential impact on, and use in teaching, learning, and creative inquiry in schools. The report, based on the opinions of 58 experts, identifies six key trends in educational technology that are likely to impact the core mission of Higher Education Institutions over the next five years.

Short-Term Impact Trends: Driving Ed Tech Adoption in Higher Education for One to Two Years

Growing Focus on Measuring Learning

There is a renewed interest in assessment and the wide variety of methods and tools that educators use to evaluate, measure, and document academic readiness, learning progress, skill acquisition, and other educational needs of students.

Increasing Use of Blended Learning Designs

Perceptions of online learning have been shifting and more educators see it as a supplement to some forms of face-to-face learning.  The benefits of blended learning are now recognized and programs are becoming mainstream at universities and colleges.

Mid-Term Impact Trends: Driving Ed Tech Adoption in Higher Education for Three to Five Years

 Redesigning Learning Spaces

More universities are helping to facilitate emerging pedagogies and strategies, such as the flipped classroom, by rearranging learning environments to accommodate more active learning and support project-based learning.

Shift to Deeper Learning Approaches

There is a growing emphasis in Higher Education on deeper learning approaches, defined as the mastery of content that engages students in critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, and self-directed learning.  In order to remain motivated, students need to able to grasp how the knowledge and skills impact the world around them.  This includes approaches such as problem-based learning, project-based learning, and challenge-based learning.

Long-Term Impact Trends: Driving Ed Tech Adoption in Higher Education for Five or More Years

Advancing Cultures of Innovation

Many thought leaders have long believed that universities can play a major role in growth of national economies.  In order to breed innovation and adapt to economic needs, higher education institutions must be structured in ways that allow for flexibility while spurring creatively and entrepreneurial thinking.

Rethinking How Institutions Work

Changes in higher education are transforming the paradigm for how postsecondary learning works.  Institutions are putting increased emphasis  are graduating students who are more work-savvy through new policy initiatives, programs, and curriculum that encourage students to work with peers on innovative solutions to complex problems.


Some of these trends are already beginning to have a significant impact on education, and should only continue to gain influence as adoption continues to increase in institutions around the U.S. It’s important for resellers to understand these trends, and the impact they will inevitably have on their customers’ growing educational technology needs.

Download the Full Report

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