Trends You Need to Know!

The NMC Horizon Report: 2013 Higher Education Edition is a report that discusses emerging technologies and their impact on education. Anyone involved in higher education should read the report and be understand upcoming trends. The report gives a report of “trends” for the next five years. You can read the entire report HERE. This is a summary of the potential trends and implications.

Near Term (The next 12 months)


Massively Open Online Courses. MOOCs are expected to grow in number and popularity over the next year. MOOCs offer the possibility of higher education at zero cost. For those wanting to learn more about a particular subject, I think a MOOC route is great. I love learning. I think my brain enjoys it! What does that mean for us at WJU? The first two words that come to my head are relationship and discipleship. If more and more MOOCs are going to become available, we need to make sure we are not only offering quality education, but relationship and discipleship as well. Students won’t find this through a MOOC. God created us relational.

Tablet Computing:

Tablets enable learning to take place in and out of the classroom at an affordable cost. The tablet arena is growing and there is major competition for innovation. At WJU, we need to consider this in our courses! Is your Moodle portal something that a student will be able to not only use for your course – it will actually help improve their learning experience? We all know that there are multiple intelligences and students learn through a variety of ways. Add audio and visual elements to your course and make sure that students can access these elements on their device. You will find that students will want to extend their learning beyond your classroom walls!


Mid-Term (2-3 years)


Games and Gamification: 

Badging and ranking systems recognize student achievements. Students are encouraged to learn more through engaging content and curricula that is also competitive.

Learning Analytics: 

Course management systems allow for differentiation and customization. As stated in the Horizon report, many universities use analytic software with the advising process to make it more accurate. Mobile software will be able to “coach students” toward habits that will lead to success.


Far-Term (4-5 years)


3D Printing: 

Over the next 4-5 years, 3D printing will increase. This is important to know when considering the arts, architecture, manufacturing, and the sciences. As we grow our programs, how will 3D printing play into our curricula?  3D printing is currently used in many research and lab settings.

3D printed blue treefrogs in different layer t...

3D printed blue treefrogs in different layer thicknesses (Photo credit: Creative Tools) 

Wearable Technology: 

Google glass is probably the most anticipated product. These glasses will enable the wearer to use tools for research and be able to track data (record or take a photo) all through voice-command. The report also discussed bendable OLED displays that can wrap around curved surfaces such as furniture. These displays will project computer images.

What does all this mean? 

The report (NMC, 2013) states that “the role of educators continues to change due to the vast resources that are accessible to students via the Internet.”  Students are connected to their devices, surfing the web, downloading applications, texting, and reading articles. We need to understand our students, and understand the tools that allow us to navigate to their language and area of study. Hybrid courses (courses that mix traditional learning with online learning such as our Moodle portal) are excellent ways to do this.

6 Challenges Listed from the Horizon Report:

  1. Digital media literacy by faculty is a key skill – training!
  2. The emergence of new scholarly forms of authoring, publishing, and researching calls for new evaluation methods.
  3. Some have a resistance to change.
  4. The demand for personalized learning is not supported by current practices.
  5. There is increased competition to traditional models of learning.
  6. Some academics are not using new technologies.

What will you do about these challenges?


NMC (2013). NMC Horizon Project: 2013 Higher Education. Retrieved from


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