Educational Technology Research in Higher Education: New Considerations and Evolving Goals

Educational Technology Research in Higher Education: New Considerations and Evolving Goals


In the continually evolving educational landscape, technology has been a transformative force, reshaping traditional teaching and learning paradigms. The fusion of education and technology has led to an era in which classrooms are no longer confined by four walls and digital literacy and the use of technology are as vital to student success as any textbook. But how are institutions or other groups researching the effectiveness of technology, especially when it comes to teaching and learning?

As higher education institutions continue to recover from and adapt to the changes brought on by a global pandemic and the rise of powerful new technologies, faculty and institutional leaders are confronted with the imperative to equip students with skills that extend far beyond the conventional confines of past educational goals. Educational technology, encompassing a diverse array of tools ranging from online platforms and virtual reality to artificial intelligence and interactive applications, can offer a gateway to an enriched and dynamic learning experience. This report highlights the ways in which these technologies can be effectively harnessed to engage students in different ways, meeting them where their preferences are, and promoting skills that will help them in the workforce.

Amidst the opportunities that educational technology presents, there also lie challenges that necessitate careful consideration. Issues such as digital equity, data privacy, and the potential for depersonalized instruction demand thoughtful examination in the pursuit of effective and ethical implementation. Through an exploration of research findings and exemplary institutional insights, this report seeks to provide faculty and institutional stakeholders with a comprehensive understanding of the potential benefits and challenges associated with integrating technology into educational practices.

Ultimately, the growing link between education and technology is not a mere trend but a fundamental shift that requires educators to adapt and evolve. This report serves as a guide to future research on the landscape of educational technology, while offering insights into its potential to amplify engagement, tailor learning experiences, and prepare students for a future in which digital literacy is integral. By embracing these advancements judiciously and innovatively, with careful study of the results, educators can pave the way for an empowered approach to teaching and learning that will help students succeed at their institution and in the workforce.

Key Findings

  • Technology changes so rapidly that it can be difficult for research on its efficacy in the classroom to stay up to date.
  • Unequal distribution of digital skills and access to technology is a global concern. Inequalities exist based on gender, race, socioeconomic status, and geographic location.
  • Classroom modality preferences are shifting toward online and hybrid for both faculty and students.
  • Technology's integration with so many systems across institutions means a wealth of student data is available for potential current and future research.
  • Personalized adaptive software can improve learning outcomes, especially for low-performing students.
  • Efforts are needed to bridge these digital divides.
  • AI and other powerful computing technologies are creating opportunities for faculty and students to use technology in myriad disciplines.
  • Faculty and administrators must lead the way through the use and study of new and powerful technologies.

Learn More

See a snapshot of this report on the Educational Technology Research Hub.

EDUCAUSE is a higher education technology association and the largest community of IT leaders and professionals committed to advancing higher education. Technology, IT roles and responsibilities, and higher education are dynamically changing. Formed in 1998, EDUCAUSE supports those who lead, manage, and use information technology to anticipate and adapt to these changes, advancing strategic IT decision-making at every level within higher education. EDUCAUSE is a global nonprofit organization whose members include US and international higher education institutions, corporations, not-for-profit organizations, and K–12 institutions. With a community of more than 99,000 individuals at member organizations located around the world, EDUCAUSE encourages diversity in perspective, opinion, and representation. For more information, please visit


hp HP, Inc. creates solutions that make life better for everyone, everywhere—every person, every organization, and every community around the globe. For higher education, HP combines instructional innovation, applied research, data science, immersive technologies, and advanced information security to empower equitable access to teaching and learning from anywhere. Learn more at

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Citation for this work
Sean Burns. Educational Technology Research in Higher Education: New Considerations and Evolving Goals. Research report. Boulder, CO: ECAR, October 2023.