Adaptive learning tools and Artificial Intelligence: The trend of investment in adaptive learning will continue, but with an increasing emphasis on the AI tools to drive the adaptive logic. Recent partnerships between IBM and both Blackboard and Pearson, to apply features of the Watson computer system to learning data, are steps in this direction. These technologies promise to use machine learning technologies in order do a better job than human-programmed or formula-based adaptive engines. Ideally, these tools will be able to deliver not just the what (the best content for a learner), but also the how (what mode of delivery is best for the learner) and perhaps even the when (how often, and at what times are best for the learner) to improve the learning experience.
Data and Analytics on the rise: Any kind of adaptive experience drive, as well as any type of predictive analytics, is driven by a great deal of data. More and more learning tools will be connected and start emitting data in a standards-based format; and systems to manage this data (Learning Record Stores) will become more widespread. A number of very large institutions are already leveraging technologies like OpenLRS or working with commercial vendors. We can expect to see further development of the standards that collect student activity data: ADL, responsible for xAPI, and IMS Global, responsible for the Caliper standard, have announced that they will work on a project to explore convergence (or potentially even unity) of these two standards.
VR and AR continue to grow: Virtual and Augmented Reality technologies will continue to grow in order to deliver richer learning experiences, as the hardware needed to create and view such media becomes less expensive. A number of Courseware publishers will likely roll out VR/AR products in the coming year in areas such as healthcare and physical sciences; 360degree cameras are now cheap enough that teachers and students can easily create their own enhanced video experiences to share with others.
Primary education sees more content creation: While in higher education, students have often been ahead of their teachers in their ability to create multimedia content, this has not been the case in primary schools. This is set to change and students will start to become media content creators as well as content consumers. This will also lead to the creation of more education programs about how to critically analyse media. As the primary communicative medium in the future will be digital, students will need to learn how to distinguish truth from opinion in digital media alongside traditional written text, especially as technologies to produce biased or outright false images become more and more widespread and harder to detect.
Learning content and others campus content delivered to big screens via Set Top Boxes: As set-top boxes such as AppleTV, Roku, Chromecast and other similar devices become more common, schools will start to explore delivering learning content to these devices. Videos from courses, library repositories and other resources can be delivered directly to students to watch whenever and however they prefer. Moreover, some schools will start to deliver non academic content (such as campus events or announcements) to these television screens just as easily as to web browsers, as well as making selected programming available to alumni and/or the general public.
Recruiting and Alumni Outreach technologies get a boost: Schools and universities have been modernising their recruiting operations with the latest web technologies including marketing automation tools in the last few years. This trend will continue, and similar technologies will extend to Alumni services and fund-raising. Alumni are less and less receptive to traditional newsletters and magazines, and would like to take more advantage of the rich content repositories that schools have and can make available to them.