March 29, 2023 9:42 pm

As the Instructional Technologies Council (ITC) continues our series of articles focusing on the anticipated influence of distance mastering more than the subsequent ten years, it is affordable for readers to be at least somewhat skeptical. So, I decided to do a small experiment with a sample of comfort and a sample of 1. 

About 13 years ago, my college president’s assistant told me that “the president wanted me to” predict the prime 5 technological innovations that will influence greater education inside the subsequent handful of years. My 1st reaction was annoyance. Following all, as I paraphrased in a blog post from 2010, asking me to predict how technologies will influence education is like asking the Wright brothers how frequent flyer miles will influence industrial air travel (I didn’t originate that comment, but I cannot keep in mind who did). My second reaction was to refer him to the Horizon Reports. Following all, why should really I do the function when Educause was currently performing it.

Editor’s note: The Instructional Technologies Council continues its series of articles focusing on the anticipated influence of distance mastering more than the subsequent ten years.

Lastly, I buckled down and wrote up the memo that ultimately became a weblog post. Let’s see how my predications that “the most significant technological advances are not ‘things,’ they are usage improvements primarily based on what currently exists. Correct innovation will arise out of the ideas of convergence, integration, decoupling, social networks and predictive analytics” fared, following additional than a decade. 

How’d I do?

I was somewhat familiar with the ideas of incremental vs. disruptive innovation at the time, and I believed Dr. Christensen was a bit off the mark predicting disruptive innovation due to educational technologies, but I did really feel specific there would be incremental innovation. Following all, as a keynote speaker at a lengthy-ago ITC Annual Conference as soon as stated: “Technology does not transform pedagogy, pedagogues transform pedagogy.” And he then went on to make some incredibly unflattering but proof-primarily based comments about the intransigence of pedagogues.

In 2010 I predicted convergence. To see if this came correct, appear at your audio/visual departments and libraries. At 1 time, we had 16mm film projectors, 35mm filmstrip projectors, record players, cassette tape players, VHS video players, three/4” video players, overhead transparency projectors and so on. Right now nevertheless pictures, moving pictures, text, audio and video all come from our laptops via a single projector.  Libraries have migrated to (converged on) largely digital collections as nicely. So yes, the future can be predicted. That is 1 out of 1.

How about integration? We do see examples of this taking place, but perhaps not in such an clear way.  Faculty preserve grades, attendance and course supplies on the exact same platform these days, and a decade ago that was not necessarily the case. But our LMS and ERP systems are nevertheless separate solutions from distinct vendors, not as tightly integrated as they could be. So, let’s give that a .five for 1.five out of two.

Decoupling? Completely! In the weblog I predicted, to a higher or lesser extent, the development of competency-primarily based education (CBE), micro-credentials and open educational sources. All of which are taking place. Plus, we see several combinations and permutations of decoupling, integration and convergence all taking place simultaneously. We’ve decoupled credentials from degree completion and award profession certificates and business certifications via our non-credit or workforce improvement operations and then articulate them back towards college credits top to complete degrees. Or at least we should really be performing that! I’m claiming this is a best prediction bringing me to two.five out of 3.

Unexpected positive aspects and shortcomings

Now, my predictions about social networks might be a stretch, if you assume I imply on line solutions such as Facebook or Twitter. I do not and didn’t but solutions like these do let us network in methods we couldn’t just before. I in fact meant leveraging the energy of human interaction through technologies. For instance, 1 day, my then-teenage son began operating into and out of his bedroom and generating cup following cup of tea, holding each and every 1 up to his webcam afterwards. It turns out that he had been playing laptop games with a worldwide cohort of “friends” and somebody from England decided to teach the American kid how to make a “proper cuppa.” This kind of impromptu educational encounter would have been unthinkable just a handful of years earlier. 

When was the final time you Googled a job candidate, or posted an opening on a social network? Have you ever discovered how to repair your auto from watching a YouTube video? I have. Do you use a listerv to crowdsource the answer to thorny concerns, or e-mail a colleague to see how they handled some thing comparable? You do this every single day, do not you – or at least, you have carried out some of them. I’m taking the win.  three.five out of 4.

Lastly, predictive analytics. Yeah, we’re attempting. Early alert systems, information dashboards and other tools are beginning to make inroads into greater education. But we’re nowhere close to exactly where our colleagues in small business and business are. I anticipated we would be farther along by now. I’m only providing myself a score of .25, bringing my total to three.75 out of 5 or a total of 75% accuracy 13 years following my 2010 predictions.

Let’s answer the query in the title. Can we predict the future of instructional technologies? Certain, definitely, some of the time, for broad basic categories.

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