November 6, 2017

Strategic ed tech planning with the 2017 NMC Horizon Report

Posted by Laura Guertin

I am fortunate to be serving for a fourth year on my campus Budget & Strategic Planning Committee. As we delve into what we are doing well and where we can improve, one topic we spend much time on is innovative and engaging classroom practices. When it comes to educational technology, one document I always look to is the New Media Consortium (NMC) Horizon Report.

This annual report “identifies and describes important developments in technology likely to have a large impact on higher education worldwide” and “identifies six key trends, six significant challenges, and six important developments in educational technology across three adoption horizons spanning over the next one to five years. Each topic has been tied to essential questions of relevance or policy, leadership, and practice. The three sections of this report constitute a reference and technology-planning guide for educators, higher education leaders, administrators, policymakers, and technologists” (

NMC hopes that their research will help to inform the choices that institutions are making about technology to improve, support, or extend teaching, learning, and creative inquiry in higher education across the globe – a perfect fit for my Strategic Planning Committee right now!

To read the full higher education edition of the 2017 NMC Horizon Report (60 pages), visit:

You can also explore the 11-page preview document (PDF) of the same report.

No time to read the report?  Check out this YouTube video summary:


I have reproduced the table of contents from the full report below. How many of these topics are you, your department, or your institution addressing or discussing? Or are you ahead of the ed tech curve?



Key Trends Accelerating Technology Adoption in Higher Education

Long-Term Trends: Driving Ed Tech adoption in higher education for five or more years
> Advancing Cultures of Innovation
> Deeper Learning Approaches

Mid-Term Trends: Driving Ed Tech adoption in higher education for the next three to five years
> Growing Focus on Measuring Learning
> Redesigning Learning Spaces

Short-Term Trends: Driving Ed Tech adoption in higher education for the next one to two years
> Blended Learning Designs
> Collaborative Learning

Significant Challenges Impeding Technology Adoption in Higher Education

Solvable Challenges: Those that we understand and know how to solve
> Improving Digital Literacy
> Integrating Formal and Informal Learning

Difficult Challenges: Those that we understand but for which solutions are elusive
> Achievement Gap
> Advancing Digital Equity

Wicked Challenges: Those that are complex to even define, much less address
> Managing Knowledge Obsolescence
> Rethinking the Roles of Educators

Important Developments in Educational Technology for Higher Education

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less
> Adaptive Learning Technologies
> Mobile Learning

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years
> The Internet of Things
> Next-Generation LMS

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years
> Artificial Intelligence
> Natural User Interfaces

I blogged about the 2016 and 2015 reports, and you can access prior reports going back to 2004 on the NMC Horizon Report website. You may also be interested in the Campus Technology 2017 Teaching with Technology survey results.