Impact of eXtended Reality on Higher Education

2020 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report

2020 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report | Teaching and Learning Edition

For sixteen years, EDUCAUSE’s Horizon Report has tried to provide foresights of educational technology in higher education, based on the discussions in a panel of experts. Predicting the future is very difficult no matter in what field… the great inventor Edison still gets quoted about how films would replace all teachers within years to come, that was early 20th century. The Horizon Report was no exception in its inaccuracy to make technology forecasts in the field of educational technology and was therefore susceptible to criticism from the community. From this year onwards, the report focuses less on prediction and looked closer to potential and expected impact of those emerging technologies and practices on the future of higher teaching and learning. The following items rose to the top of its list of technologies and practices: adaptive learning; AI/machine learning; analytics; design in pedagogy; Open Educational Resources and finally eXtented Reality. In the present report, the expert panels reflect on the institutional impact the technologies and practices would likely have along the following dimensions: equity and inclusion, learning outcomes, risks, faculty receptiveness, and cost.

In its chapter on eXtended Reality (AR, VR, MR, haptic) the report briefly describes how higher education institutions are experimenting actively with XR technologies in the curriculum, despite the relatively high cost of equipment and the amount of effort it takes to create content. The report concludes that still the potential for XR as a learning vehicle is high. The report refers to some European examples: in the University of Leeds in health care and projects at Leiden University where they are using 360-degree video for immersive interactive VR experiences in emergency training for medical students and an AR application called AugMedicine for anatomy studies in 3D. Interesting are the conclusions of the panel with regard to the five dimensions of impact : compared to the other technology trends the Educause panel considers the XR technology the most costly while the learning impact scores lowest.

Read the full Horizon Report 2020