The NMC Horizon Report: 2014 Higher Education Edition

The NMC Horizon Report: 2014 Higher Education Edition, examines emerging technologies for their potential impact on and use in teaching, learning, and creative inquiry within the environment of higher education.

Author(s) Organizational Affiliation
New Media Consortium (NMC)
EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI)
Publication Year
Resource Type
Number of Pages

The internationally-recognized NMC Horizon Report series and regional NMC Technology Outlooks are part of the NMC Horizon Project, a comprehensive research venture established in 2002 that identifies and describes emerging technologies likely to have a large impact over the coming five years in education around the globe. This volume, the NMC Horizon Report: 2014 Higher Education Edition, examines emerging technologies for their potential impact on and use in teaching, learning, and creative inquiry within the environment of higher 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. While there are many local factors affecting the practice of education, there are also issues that transcend regional boundaries and questions common to higher education. The NMC Horizon Report: 2014 Higher Education Edition is the 11th in the annual higher education series of reports and is produced by the NMC in collaboration with the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI). 

What the experts say

Technology provides great advantage, and it is fast becoming a necessity in the larger real-world setting. This study is focused on postsecondary education, and also focused primarily on technologies useful in postsecondary settings, which will be useful within all adult education settings. This resource provides an amazing collection of current and exciting future technology applications and movements. The New Horizons Group has done a fantastic job of creating an incredibly useful resource, with value across a wide range of education forums. This report will be of special interest to adult educators who already believe that technology will influence and benefit adult basic education (including ESL/ESOL) and who are interested in forecasts of what lies ahead. The topics, trends, challenges, and developments identified in this report benefit adult educators and those who are interested in how technology is affecting education.

This resource provides extraordinary insights into current and upcoming technologies that are and will become important for the postsecondary (and by extension adult education) classroom in the next five years. This compilation could be used as a buyer's guide for administrators of adult education classrooms and as a learning guide for adult education students. Key trends identified in this report  that may be of special interest to adult educators include: data-driven learning and assessment; hands-on (project-based) learning where students are seen as creators rather than consumers; the integration of online, hybrid, and collaborative learning in face-to-face instruction; use of interactive polling in class and outside; and adaptive, personalized electronic tutoring services that detect student patterns of successes and failures and adjust instruction or provide guidance. Challenges impeding technology adoption that might be of special relevance to adult education include: massive open online courses (MOOCs); low digital fluency of teachers; relative lack of rewards for teaching; keeping education relevant to learning needed for family, community, and work; alternative means of proving skill acquisition through certificates, badges, and e-portfolios that measure competencies; and many of the six technologies such as, consumer technologies (mobile apps, tablet computing), digital strategies (bring your own device, flipped classroom, games and gamification);  Internet technologies (cloud computing, Semantic applications), and learning technologies (badges/microcredit, learning analytics, mobile learning, online learning, open content, open licensing, personal learning environments, virtual laboratories), among others.

The section on the significance of social media in postsecondary institutions (and by extension within adult education classrooms) is an amazing contribution here (pages 8-9). There is an opportunity to change the breadth and reach of the content with this extended access.

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