The New Media Consortium (NMC) and Open Universities Australia (OUA) are releasing the 2015 NMC Technology Outlook for Australian Tertiary Education at a special OUA roundtable of Australian tertiary education leaders. The fourth edition of this Australia-focused regional report describes findings from the NMC Horizon Project, an ongoing research project designed to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have an impact on teaching, learning, and creative inquiry.

Report coverTen key trends, ten significant challenges, and twelve emerging technologies are identified across three adoption horizons over the next five years, giving Australian university leaders, decision-makers, and practitioners a valuable guide for strategic technology planning. The report will provide these leaders with in-depth insight into how the trends and challenges are accelerating and impeding the adoption of educational technology for tertiary education institutions in Australia.

“This regional report will inform leaders and decision-makers of the latest technologies, trends, and challenges that are shaping the learning landscape in Australian universities,” says Larry Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of the NMC. “The panel’s findings show that the increasing use of blended learning models along with the renovation of traditional classrooms are highly influential trends, while the greatest challenges are in making the higher education experience more personalised and relevant to the demands of the real world.”

“Our collaboration with the NMC has produced a very compelling report,” said Brenda Frisk, Head of Learning Technology at Open Universities Australia and Co-Principal Investigator of the project. “This is crucial information for Australian leaders in higher education, especially those that are making big decisions involving IT budgets and infrastructure. We believe the 2015 NMC Technology Outlook for Australian Tertiary Education will support and even accelerate the integration of emerging technologies.”

Key Trends Accelerating Educational Technology Adoption in Australian Tertiary Education
These ten trends are identified as very likely to drive technology planning and decision-making over the next five years, and they were ranked in order of importance by the expert panel, with the first trend listed being deemed the most impactful. This year’s key trends are: “Increasing Use of Hybrid/Blended Learning Designs,” “Redesigning Learning Spaces,” “Growing Focus on Measuring Learning,” “Rethinking How Institutions Work,” “Shift from Students as Consumers to Students as Creators,” “Employment as the Definition of Successful Education,” “Proliferation of Open Educational Resources (OER),” “Advancing Cultures of Change and Innovation,” “Shift to Deeper Learning Approaches,” and “Increasing Cross-Institution Collaboration.”

Significant Challenges Impeding Educational Technology Adoption in Australian Tertiary Education
A number of challenges are acknowledged as barriers to the mainstream use of technology in Australian universities. The expert panel ranked challenges in order of significance, with the first challenge listed being deemed the most prominent. They are: “Personalising Learning,” “Rethinking the Roles of Educators,” “Creating Authentic Learning Opportunities,” “Transitioning to New Business Models for Tertiary Education,” “Improving Students’ Digital Literacy,” “Scaling Teaching Innovations,” “Integrating Technology in Faculty Education,” “Keeping Formal Education Relevant,” “Competing Models of Education,” and “Teaching Complex Thinking.”

Important Developments in Educational Technology for Australian Tertiary Education
Additionally, the report identifies bring-your-own-device (BYOD), cloud computing, flipped classroom, and learning analytics as digital strategies and technologies expected to enter mainstream use in the first horizon of one year or less. Badges/microcredit, mobile learning, open licensing, and wearable technology are seen in the second horizon of two to three years; adaptive learning technologies, augmented reality, quantified self, and telepresence are seen emerging in the third horizon of four to five years.

The subject matter in this report was identified through a qualitative research process designed and conducted by the NMC that engaged an Australian body of experts in tertiary education, technology, business, and other fields around a set of research questions designed to surface significant trends and challenges. The Australian expert panel was also asked to identify emerging technologies that have a strong likelihood of adoption in Australian institutions. The 2015 NMC Technology Outlook for Australian Tertiary Education the areas in which these experts were in strong agreement.

The 2015 NMC Technology Outlook for Australian Tertiary Education is available online, free of charge, and is released under a Creative Commons license to facilitate its widespread use, easy duplication, and broad distribution.

> Download the report (PDF)

About The Author

Victoria Estrada has been contributing her writing, research, and editing skills to the NMC Horizon Project since 2012. Before that, she was learning from stellar English language instructors at La Universidad Nacional in Costa Rica, where she worked for a year with a Fulbright grant. Victoria has a Certificate in Non-profit Leadership and Management from Austin Community College, and a bachelor's degree in English Writing & Rhetoric from St. Edward's University. Some of her other interests include people, flora & fauna, sustainability, good coffee, good causes, and photos. She has recently relocated to her hometown -- San Antonio, Texas.