New Year...New Trends: Part 2-Ed Tech Trends

Since the last few days of 2019, experts in learning, development and higher education were already well on their way to publishing industry standards and tech trends for the coming decade in education. Fast forward, just a little bit anyway, 20 days into the new decade and hopefully Educators are hitting the ground running with some of the exciting tech tools abound in 2020. Let's get into the trends for 2020 and how these tools can be used in Nursing Education and Professional Development!


Mobile Learning:

Nothing new is the expectation of learners in academia as well as in professional practice, that their learning will incorporate mobile devices. It is the expectation that learning will be convenient, accessible, thus being mobile friendly. Mobile learning also has the added benefit of being able to work with most mixed reality (MR), augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR) platforms, making their use even more collaborative and interactive. Its expected that mobile learning will move beyond smartphones and tablets to even wearable technology, such as smartwatches. Mobile devices are great tools for integrating gamification in the classroom as well as microlearning and even infusing social media. Trends are moving more towards education being created to be more responsive vs. being more adaptive. In other words, educators need to create their learning with a mobile-first mindset vs. the traditional way we have been creating and teaching, especially for our remote staff. What are some innovative ways we can engage our nurses working in the field with the use of mobile devices?

Mixed Reality

This is the cross between augmented and virtual reality, AR and VR, respectively. We are seeing this transform the education landscape. AR uses either a headset (can even be a cardboard box) or a smartphone, to lay images and content onto the physical environment, whereas VR immerses learners in virtual simulation, typically done with headsets. As the cost of the software and hardware begin to decrease, these are becoming very attractive and used more frequently in education settings. I have seen this being implemented in some schools of Nursing as an adjunct to their simulation experiences. We are seeing this being used in med school environments as well. I am sure the cost of maintaining the headsets are far less than maintaining those high fidelity manikins--definitely something worth looking into. According to the EDUCAUSE Horizon report (2019), mixed reality can immerse the learner and have them in places they may not normally find themselves in, such as other planets, a refugee camp, or even in an OR performing surgery.

Advanced Analytic Technology

This is basically going back to big data-something I mentioned in part 1 of this blog-and what educational institutions will be doing with all that data we collect on students. All these assessments and evaluations have meaning but we have to do something with that data to turn it into outcomes. Proper use of this data will aid in the personalization of education, where Educators can take those metrics and hone in on areas of student weakness as well as tailoring to specific learning styles. By using data analytics in a more useful way, Educators can be the drivers of change for those in the classroom as well as in practice.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Every industry, including healthcare, is being impacted in some way by artificial intelligence. Using big data and various algorithms to predict human activities, artificial intelligence allows for personalized learning experiences and a reduction of workload. It has been in use with various learning management systems where they are testing the use of reminders and nudges to move learners towards successful completion of online assignments. Increasing learner engagement remains a huge enigma in higher education and professional development but there are AI tools in use that can help with online discussion forums, for example, to bring a more human-like connection. Speaking from experience as an online educator, students frequently feel like they are speaking to no one or someone in cyberspace. AI can help minimize this feeling.

There are many more ed tech trends in discussion within the learning and development space. The question now is, in what ways will we in Nursing Education look to integrate even just one of these tech tools in our educational offerings? For further discussion on how ProDevo can assist your School of Nursing or Nursing Professional Development team on using various forms of educational technology, feel free to contact me for a free phone consultation.


Alexander, B., Ashford-Rowe, K., Barajas-Murphy, N., Dobbin, G., Knott, J., McCormack, M., Pomerantz, J., Seilhamer, R., & Weber, N. (2019). EDUCAUSE Horizon Report: 2019 Higher Education Edition. Retrieved from

Himmelsbach, V. (19 September 2019). 4 Emerging Education Technology Trends to Watch [Blog]. Retrieved from