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Educause Adds Honorary AI Category to Horizon Report

For the first time, Educause's Teaching and Learning Horizon Report has added a separate category for artificial intelligence in its list of the top trends shaping the future of teaching and learning in higher education.

The annual Horizon Report project brings together expert panelists to identify and discuss the macro trends they believe are most important across five categories: social, technological, economic, environmental, and political (STEEP). "For the first time in the history of this research, panelists identified AI-related trends across all five of the STEEP categories," the report authors explained. "Thus, in this edition of the Horizon Report, we include an honorary category of AI trends."

The report added, "The potential impacts of AI are broad and far-reaching. Overall, the AI trends depict a potential future in which humans will need to navigate the impact of AI amid the ongoing development of AI tools."

The top AI trends identified in the report, spanning the STEEP categories by which the overall trends are organized, are:

  • AI is changing the way we communicate.
  • AI tools have growing potential to reshape pedagogy and student experiences.
  • AI is increasingly having an impact on the economy and workforce.
  • AI is increasingly being used to address climate change and sustainability issues.
  • The potential for the use of AI in politics is growing.

Other trends identified across each category are:


  • Public perception of the value of higher education is declining.
  • Student demographics are changing.
  • Students are increasingly demanding access to learning anytime, anywhere.


  • Concerns about cybersecurity and privacy are increasing.
  • The use of learning analytics continues to rise.
  • The digital divide persists.


  • The demand for and focus on workforce skills is growing.
  • Challenges for employee retention are increasing.
  • Student debt is increasingly impacting students' enrollment decisions.


  • Higher ed institutions are increasing their commitment to sustainability.
  • Concerns about the impact of big data tools on the environment are rising.
  • The demand for green skills in the workforce is increasing.

AI also features in the Key Technologies & Practices section of the report, highlighting the widespread influence of emerging AI technologies across the institution. These technologies and practices are "anticipated to have a significant impact on the future of teaching and learning in light of the social, technological, environmental, economic, and political trends previously identified by the panel." They include:

  • Finding appropriate uses for AI-enabled technology.
  • Supporting AI fluency.
  • Supporting equitable and inclusive learning.
  • Protecting data privacy and security.
  • Navigating misinformation.
  • Supporting mental health.

The full report provides a deep dive on each trend, links to evidence and further reading, scenarios depicting possible futures, and ways to take action on an institutional level. Find it here on the Educause site.

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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