Master List of Existing Key Trends

The below list encompasses all current key trends in the NMC Horizon Project across all learning sectors. Please keep these in mind as you engage in Research Question 1 to add new trends so that we can avoid repetition. Though there may be certain nuances in these that you believe should be elaborated on as their own trends, and we encourage you to do so in Research Question 1.

1. Agile Approaches to Change
2014 Higher Ed Long-Range Trend: Driving changes in education in five or more years
There is a growing consensus among many higher education thought leaders that institutional leadership and curricula could benefit from agile startup models. Educators are working to develop new approaches and programs based on these models that stimulate top-down change and can be implemented across a broad range of institutional settings. The Lean Startup movement uses technology as a catalyst for promoting a culture of innovation in a more widespread, cost-effective manner. Pilots and other experimental programs are being developed for teaching and improving organizational structure to more effectively nurture entrepreneurship among both students and faculty.

2. Digital Delivery is Increasingly the Norm
2014 Higher Ed Long-Range Trend: Driving changes in education in five or more years
Digital delivery will one day be the norm, resulting in less face-to-face interaction. The open source movement has yielded thousands of online educational resources and a growing number of educational entrepreneurs and startups whose primary role is to create and deliver digital content. With the rise of free services including TED talks, Wikipedia, the Khan Academy, and many others, higher education continues to experience a paradigm shift in which online learning represents the intersection of formal and informal learning. Massive open online courses, for example, can be taken for credit or purely for new skill acquisition or curiosity sake. More and more, teachers are interacting with students through online discussion forums and by sharing video and audio recordings. Furthermore, students are increasingly at the helm of digital content creation, producing videos and other rich media.

3. Evolution of Online Learning
2014 EU Long-Range Trend: Driving changes in education in five or more years
Over the past several years, there has been a shift in the perception of online learning to the point where it is seen as a viable alternative to some forms of face-to-face learning. The value that online learning offers is now well understood, with flexibility, ease of access, and the integration of sophisticated multimedia and technologies chief among the list of appeals. Recent developments in business models are upping the ante of innovation in these digital environments, which are now widely considered to be ripe for new ideas, services, and products. While growing steadily, this trend is still a number of years away from its maximum impact. Progress in learning analytics, adaptive learning, and a combination of cutting-edge asynchronous and synchronous tools will continue to advance the state of online learning and keep it compelling, though many of these are still the subjects of experiments and research by online learning providers and tertiary institutions.

4. Evolving Expectations for Teachers/Faculty
2014 EU Fast Trend: Driving changes in education over the next one to two years
The number of educational resources made easily accessible via the Internet continues to grow, expanding the ways in which people learn. Professors are now expected to adopt new approaches for the delivery of knowledge. Students, along with their families, are using technology to socialize, organize, and informally learn on a daily basis, driving the belief that schools should be doing the same. As there are no signs of the dependence on the Internet dissipating, institutions are rethinking the primary responsibilities of educators. This shift in expectations also extends to the ways in which professors use these tools; it is no longer as acceptable for them to stand at the front of the classroom everyday and dispense information. Instead, an increasing amount of faculty are using class time to integrate technologies such as smartphones, tablets, and social media into learning projects. and incorporating more hybrid and experiential learning scenarios.

5. Expansion of Rich Media
2013 Museum Trend
Collection-related rich media are becoming increasingly valuable assets in digital interpretation. Museums are beginning to see the value in developing formal strategies for capturing high-quality media documentation at every opportunity. Curators and content specialists are working more closely than ever with educators and technologists to embrace opportunities provided by using digital resources to enhance multimodal learning both online and in the galleries. Video, audio, and animations are no longer seen as afterthoughts in interpretation but increasingly as necessary components of an interpretive plan. This trend is beneficial to museum professionals and visitors alike as it encourages a deeper understanding of objects, ideas, and audiences.

6. Digitization of Exhibitions and Collections
2013 Museum Trend
Digitization and cataloguing projects continue to require a significant share of museum resources. Museums are distinguished by the content they keep and interpret. There is an increasing understanding among museum professionals that visitors expect to be able to readily access accurate and interesting information and high-quality media. This requires museums to plan strategically for the digitization and cataloging of collections. These projects frequently require sacrifices in terms of scarce resources (money, personnel, and time) in order to meet long-term goals.

7. Growing Expectations for Social Engagement
2013 Museum Trend
Expectations for civic and social engagement are profoundly changing museums' scope, reach, and relationships. More and more, museums are integrating emerging technologies and approaches such as social media, open content, and crowdsourcing as a means of engaging their communities both internally and externally on a deeper level. Embracing these innovations means that museums are providing patrons with more immersive opportunities to become part of the content. Increasingly, people who are unable to make a physical trip to a museum are able to access its collections and respond and contribute meaningfully to conversations about what may be happening in the physical space, redefining what it means to be a museum patron.

8. Growing Ubiquity of Social Media
2014 Higher Ed Fast Trend: Driving changes in education over the next one to two years
Social media is changing the way people interact, present ideas and information, and judge the quality of content and contributions. More than 1.2 billion people use Facebook regularly according to numbers released in October 2013; a recent report by Business Insider reported 2.7 billion people — almost 40% of the world population — regularly use social media. The top 25 social media platforms worldwide share 6.3 billion accounts among them. Educators, students, alumni, and the general public routinely use social media to share news about scientific and other developments. The impact of these changes in scholarly communication and on the credibility of information remains to be seen, but it is clear that social media has found significant traction in almost every education sector.

9. Importance of Content Curation
2014 EU Fast Trend: Driving changes in education over the next one to two years
Digital literacy goes beyond teaching students how to assess the quality of data and content; it entails understanding how to assess media-based and other content (such as video, audio, slides, articles, and reports) from disparate sources and select those which are the most germane or useful to the task at hand. When resources are curated effectively, they add more value to each other. For example, a news article detailing a new scientific discovery is enhanced by a video of a physicist showcasing the findings. The video may explore a different facet of the discovery than the article, but the goal is that the content in both will help learners gain new knowledge about a subject.

10. Increasing Focus on Open Content
2014 EU Mid-Range Trend: Driving changes in education over the next one to two years
Openness — concepts like open content, open data, and open resources, along with notions of transparency and easy access to data and information — is becoming a value across education. As traditional sources of authority are augmented by downloadable content, however, there is need for more curation and other forms of validation to that can communicate the credibility of a resource. Complicating the landscape in some ways, “open” has become a term often applied in very different contexts. Often mistaken to simply mean “free,” open education advocates are working towards a common vision that defines “open” more broadly — not just free in economic terms, but educational materials that are freely copiable, freely remixable, and free of barriers to access, sharing, and educational use.

12. Increasing Preference for Personal Technology
2014 EU Fast Trend: Driving changes in education over the next one to two years
Both professors and students want to use their own technology for learning more and more, mirroring a trend that has been in the workplace for some time. There is an opportunity cost associated with being given access to a computer that cannot be personalised with new applications, tools, or other resources. Utilizing one’s own device has become something deeply deeply personal, and very much an extension of someone’s personality and learning style. The choice one makes between the iOS or the Android platforms, for example, is an expression of one’s personality, as is the choices of apps, games, and other content one chooses to put on the device. Students and educators appreciate being able to do their work with tools they have configured to their own preferences, which are familiar and productive for them personally. As devices continue to be ever more capable, affordable, and mobile, students often have access to more advanced equipment in their personal lives than they do in class.

13. Increasing Use of Hybrid Learning Designs
2014 Higher Ed Fast Trend: Driving changes in education over the next one to two years
Education paradigms are shifting to include more online learning, blended and hybrid learning, and collaborative models. Students already spend much of their free time on the Internet, learning and exchanging new information. Institutions that embrace face-to-face, online, and hybrid learning models have the potential to leverage the online skills learners have already developed independent of academia. Online learning environments can offer different affordances than physical campuses, including opportunities for increased collaboration while equipping students with stronger digital skills. Hybrid models, when designed and implemented successfully, enable students to travel to campus for some activities, while using the network for others, taking advantage of the best of both environments.

14. Massive Reinvention of the Personal Computer
Mid-Range Trend: Driving changes in education within three to five years
Computers as we know them are in the process of a massive reinvention. The computer is smaller, lighter, and better connected than ever before, without the need for wires or bulky peripherals. In many cases, smartphones and other mobile devices are sufficient for basic computing needs, and only specialized tasks require a keyboard, large monitor, and a mouse. Mobiles are connected to an ecosystem of applications supported by cloud computing technologies that can be downloaded and used instantly, for pennies. As the capabilities and interfaces of small computing devices improve, our ideas about when — or whether — a traditional computer is necessary are changing as well.

15. New Forms of Multidisciplinary Research
2014 Higher Ed Long-Range Trend: Driving changes in education in five or more years
Digital humanities and computational social science research approaches are opening up new pioneering areas of multidisciplinary research, innovative forms of scholarship and publication, and new kinds of courses and pedagogies. Researchers, along with academic technologists and developers, are breaking new ground with data structures, visualization, geospatial applications, and innovative uses of open source tools. At the same time, they are pioneering new forms of scholarly publication that combine traditional static print style scholarship with dynamic and interactive tools, which enables real-time manipulation of research data. Applying quantitative methods to traditionally qualitative disciplines has led to new research categories such as "Distant Reading" and "Macroanalysis” — the study of large corpuses of texts as opposed to close reading of a few texts. These emerging areas are leading to exciting new courses and curricula for undergraduate and graduate students.

16. Rise of Cross-Institution Collaboration
2013 Museum Trend
Cross-institution collaboration is growing as an important way to share resources. Museums are increasingly aware of the ways in which content, including but not limited to unmediated collections data, may be seen and used in the broader networked environment. The days of large-scale, multi-year, foundation-funded collaborative projects are probably on the wane. Increasingly, multi-institutional collaboration will occur at the data level with institutions being collaborative partners only in a passive sense, and the real work of pulling multiple resources together being accomplished downstream, possibly by third-party organizations.

17. Rise of Data-Driven Learning and Assessment
2014 Higher Ed Mid-Range Trend: Driving changes in education within three to five years
There is a growing interest in using new sources of data for personalizing the learning experience and for performance measurement. As learners participate in online activities, they leave an increasingly clear trail of analytics data that can be mined for insights. Learning analytics experiments and demonstration projects are currently examining ways to use that data to modify learning strategies and processes. Dashboards filter this information so that student progress can be monitored in real time. As the field of learning analytics matures, the hope is that this information will enable continual improvement of learning outcomes.

18. Seamless Learning Experiences Across Devices
2013 Museum Trend
Increasingly, visitors and staff expect a seamless experience across devices. Whether viewing objects in gallery spaces, ordering tickets, interacting with the online store, or simply browsing the museum’s website, visitors expect museums to provide a wide range of digital resources and content, and want the experience of interacting with that content to be consistent across their devices. Virtual visitors in particular expect to be able to perform typical tasks online quickly and easily irrespective of the device they may have at hand. This is true even for visitors in the physical space, where it is common to see people interacting with their smartphones as they decide which part of the gallery to visit next.

19. Shift from Students as Consumers to Students as Creators
2014 Higher Ed Mid-Range Trend: Driving changes in education within three to five years
A shift is taking place in the focus of pedagogical practice on university campuses all over the world as students in across a wide variety of disciplines are learning by making and creating rather than from the simple consumption of content. Creativity, as illustrated by the growth of user-generated videos, maker communities, and crowdfunded projects in the past couple years, is increasingly the means for active, hands-on learning. University departments in areas that have not traditionally had lab or hands-on components are shifting to incorporate hands-on learning experiences as an integral part of the curriculum. Courses and degree plans across all disciplines at institutions are in the process of changing to reflect the importance of media creation, design, and entrepreneurship.

20. Shift to More Authentic Learning
There is a new emphasis in the classroom on more challenge based, active learning. Challenge Based Learning and similar methods foster more active learning experiences, both inside and outside the classroom. As technologies such as tablets and smartphones now have proven applications in schools, educators are leveraging these tools, which students already use, to connect the curriculum with real life issues. The active learning approaches are decidedly more student-centered, allowing them to take control of how they engage with a subject and to brainstorm and implement solutions to pressing local and global problems. The hope is that if learners can connect the course material with their own lives and their surrounding communities, then they will become more excited to learn and immerse themselves in the subject matter. Studies of Challenge Based Learning in practice, including two authored by the NMC, depict an increase in the uptake of 21st Century Skills among learners, including leadership and creativity.