What Lies Ahead: Higher Education Trends for 2022

By RedShelf

At RedShelf, we believe that education changes the world and that, through  technology, we can change education for the better. It’s a core belief that informs everything we do—including navigating through and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Remaining at the forefront of digital delivery requires a watchful eye to shifts, trends, and what may lie ahead for higher education in 2022 and beyond.

It’s quite clear that the future of higher ed will be impacted by macro-level societal trends including a heightened focus on health and well-being, equity and inclusion, accessibility, data privacy, and more. Earlier this year, EDUCAUSE took a deep look at the convergence of these trends and predicted where the future of higher education might go after the pandemic. As we turn our calendars to 2022 and another academic term, we’re keeping these influential trends top-of-mind.

Education-Specific Trends

While no one has a fool-proof crystal ball, there are clear signs that new and advancing technologies and practices will have a noticeable impact on learning moving forward. Here is a short-list of what we expect to see across higher education in 2022 and beyond:

Technology Integration: As institutions expand the number and types of technologies they are using, efficient integration and interoperability across those platforms will become increasingly critical. 

Privacy & Security: Cyberattacks continue to make headlines. In fact, 2020 was a record-breaking year for breaches in the educational space, affecting millions of students nationwide. We can expect continued investment into security strategies that effectively detect, respond, and prevent security threats from campussafeguarding constituents' privacy rights and maintaining accountability for protecting all types of restricted data.

Artificial intelligence (AI): It isn’t the first time we have seen AI on a forecast in higher education. In fact, it is already found in learning management systems, library services, mobile apps, and more. Much like we’ve seen in the transition to digital delivery, AI will continue to address the current challenges in teaching, learning, and student achievement, offering new ways to meet students’ changing expectations. 

Blended Delivery Models: The pandemic forced  schools and faculty to swiftly (but temporarily) move their classes entirely or partially online. But signs indicate that students now want permanent flexibility to move at will between online and in person instruction. Institutions will need to determine how to do that in a way that is both operationally efficient and educationally effective. 

Learning Analytics: Critically important to higher ed, learning analytics is part of a larger field of data analytics helping higher education leaders make decisions to better serve diverse learners as their needs evolve across educational landscapes. Concerns over data access and privacy will remain a top priority.

Micro-Credentialing: Micro-credentials that demonstrate knowledge and competency in narrowly-focused areas and are attainable in shorter periods of time, are becoming increasingly popular. In turn, many higher-ed institutions are being forced to examine their curriculum development processes, how credit and noncredit programs operate and interact, and how they serve a student population with increasingly diverse educational goals. 

Open Educational Resources: Like Inclusive Access and Equitable Access models, OER programs can help to level the playing field for students who don’t have optimal access to critical learning resources. Millions of university and government dollars are being invested to expand the use of these free materials and, at RedShelf, we offer countless OER titles to support this trend. 

Quality Online Learning: The pandemic spotlighted the enormous difference between simply teaching over the internet, and delivering sophisticated, engaging, effective online learning experiences. Many institutions have turned their attention to quality assurance, taking a more intentional look at their educational technology, instructional design methodology, accessibility, and more.

Tags: #ForefrontofDigital, #DigitalFirst