2021 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report on Teaching & Learning

The Horizon Reports from Educause are always worth reading, as they provide a clear snapshot in time of how their panelists believe current trends and events will shape behaviors and expectations in the future. The 2021 Report on Teaching and Learning examines how the pandemic may affect postsecondary education in both the short and long term. Looking at social, technological, economic, environmental, and political trends, the report identifies important technologies and practices to monitor.

A hint at the discussion may be found early on in the report, in this quote: “What has changed since last year’s report, though, are the ways in which panelists discussed these trends and reflected on their implications. Mental health issues and the digital divide have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. Concerns over funding now also include the perceived value (and cost) of the online education now being offered at most institutions, relative to in-person education. It all feels so different this year, and yet much is the same.”

In that vein of “different but still the same,” we see that some of the technologies and trends to consider are familiar—artificial intelligence, learning analytics, OER. Others are new—hybrid learning models, microcredentials. The report hints at, but does not directly state, that the institutional educational services and delivered college experience of the 21st century are irrevocably disconnected now from those of the 20th century. 

Specifically mentioned as having an impact on the future of teaching and learning are the following: 

  • Artificial intelligence (AI)

  • Blended and hybrid course models

  • Learning analytics

  • Microcredentialing

  • Open educational resources (OER)

  • Quality online learning 

The report then provides imagined scenarios for higher education, written from a perspective of 10 years hence and envisioning how institutions will manage in environments of growth, constraint, collapse, or full transformation. It then closes out with three essays written from international perspectives—higher ed in Australia, South Africa, and Turkey—and two from the perspectives of U.S. community colleges and U.S. public doctoral institutions. 

Resources (PowerPoint slides and a transcript) from a webinar scheduled in close conjunction with the original release of this report may be found here.