The New Media Consortium listed adoption of digital textbooks, mobile learning, innovations in web and print design, and the merging of online and learning analytics as the trends that are reinventing what course materials can do for students. However, the potential has yet to be realized.
“Each of these trends is spurring new visions of what digital course materials could look like and how they can foster more engaged learning; together, they are fueling a grass-roots wave of innovations,” authors of the report Course Apps wrote. “Two of the trends in particular, digital textbooks and design, have not yet reached their full potential in higher education, and there is space for institutions and education-focused companies to take them to the next level in service of teaching and learning.”
Textbook publishers are taken to task in the report for watching from the sidelines as others innovate. Digital tools still need to include “social, interactive, and immersive capabilities inherent to the connected devices on which these materials are experienced.” The report also pointed out that most content creators don’t have the expertise to develop their own materials.
“There is a need for user-friendly tools that empower faculty to design the kinds of compelling resources that will comprise the next wave of instructional resources and materials,” the authors wrote.