How the pandemic has boosted education technology adoption – campus technology


How the pandemic has boosted education technology adoption

The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting hub of online learning in higher education has increased the prevailing reliance on many educational technology tools, according to the 2021 Changing Landscape of Online Education (CHLOE) report. Technology with Biggest Gain: Video conferencing, which is expected to reach 87 percent of mainstream adoption by the end of 2021, compared to 51 percent in 2019.

CHLOE is an annual survey of online senior officials on the structure and organization of online learning in US higher education, conducted by Quality Matters and Eduventures Research. The 2021 survey polled representatives from 422 US colleges and universities, looking at the impact of the pandemic on the future of online learning.

Other technologies seeing a big increase in 2021 compared to 2019:

  • video recording and distribution tools, which went from 44 percent of mainstream adoption in 2019 to 60 percent projected in 2021 (as the report noted, moving into “majority territory” for the first time);
  • access tools, from 42 percent to 51 percent;
  • Evaluation integrity (including electronic monitoring), 29 percent to 49 percent;
  • Student support (including retention tools), 32 percent to 43 percent;
  • OER, 15% to 25%; And
  • Virtual labs and simulations, from 11 percent to 28 percent (“the only category with more than double the prevailing adoption rate,” the report noted).

While learning management systems are expected to reach 96 percent of mainstream adoption this year, they were already in use by 93 percent of organizations in the pre-pandemic period.

The report also analyzed the proportion of organizations reporting “little or no investment” in each technology sector in 2019 compared to forecasts for 2021. The report said that all technology sectors across all areas “experienced a significant decrease in enterprise non-participation.” For most segments, the non-adoption rate is expected to fall below 20 percent after the pandemic. In other words, virtual labs, open educational resources, assessment integrity technologies, accessibility tools, video recording, distribution tools, video conferencing, textbooks/materials, and learning management systems are expected to be at least partially accredited by 80 percent or more of the response institutions by the end of 2021. Both video conferencing and a Learning Management System (LMS) will reach nearly 100 percent of mainstream or partial adoption.

“The pandemic has prompted schools of all kinds… to invest in new forms of technology or reinvest in existing capabilities,” the report noted. “COVID-19 has closed technology adoption gaps faster and more decisively than anything before.”

The full report, covering enrollment trends, attitudes toward online learning, quality assurance of online learning, and more, is available for download on the Quality Matters website (registration required).

About the author

About the author: Rhea Kelly is the Executive Editor of Campus Technology. It can be accessed at [email protected].


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