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3 Tech Trends Shaping the Future of Post-Pandemic Teaching and Learning

The landscape of higher education has been transformed by COVID-19, and that impact is a major factor in the 2021 Educause Horizon Report. Here are three key technology trends to watch as the lasting effects of the pandemic play out.

technology trends

What's in store for higher education's post-pandemic future? The latest Educause Horizon Report has identified the trends, technologies and practices shaping teaching and learning in the wake of COVID-19. The potential lasting effects of the pandemic "loomed large" in the trend selection this year, the report stated, emphasizing that although it remains to be seen whether the transformations of the past year will persist into the future, "it isn't hard to imagine that higher education may never be the same in some important ways (good or bad)."

In the realm of technology in particular, it's clear that the pandemic-induced shift to remote learning has dominated the trend landscape. The top three technological trends identified by the report are:

  • Widespread adoption of hybrid learning models. The report noted that adoption of blended or hybrid models has accelerated over the last year. Not only have faculty and students discovered and become attached to new ways of engaging with one another, the flexibility of being able to move between remote and in-person experiences "will help institutions minimalize disruption and ensure continuity of course delivery through future crises."
  • Increased use of learning technologies. The pandemic has brought new and existing learning tools into the mainstream. "Institutions and instructors previously resistant or indifferent to tools such as videoconferencing, team-based platforms, and virtual classrooms have come to rely on those tools as essential ingredients in their work," the report pointed out. Even wider adoption can be expected in the road ahead.
  • Online faculty development. The adoption of new technologies brings with it the need for faculty buy-in, training and support. "Ongoing investments in faculty development, including remote capabilities for instructional design and technology support, will be needed to ensure faculty skills and literacy keep pace with ongoing technology advancements," the report asserted.

The report also identified the most important trends in the social, economic, environmental and political realms. The top trends there are:


  • Remote work/learning;
  • Widening of the digital divide; and
  • Mental health issues.


  • Decreasing higher education funding;
  • Demand for new/different workforce skills; and
  • Uncertainty in economic models.


  • Climate change;
  • Reduction in work travel; and
  • Sustainable development.


  • Increase in online globalization;
  • Rise of nationalism; and
  • Public funding for higher education.

The full report and additional materials can be accessed on the 2021 Horizon Project research hub.

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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