The integration of digital technologies into campus in order to accelerate Digital Transformation is no longer something nice-to-have or exclusive to wealthy institutions. It is a must-have in 2023 and beyond to optimize hybrid learning environments as they join the university of the future.

The acceleration of technology adoption that we have witnessed in many higher education institutions this year was born as an emergency response over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, many institutions have steadily been shifting into long-term education technology adaptation, developing strategies toward a tribrid model.

Global Market Insights predicts that the e-Learning market will exceed $1 trillion by 2028. The higher education technology sector is set to bring further advancement to colleges and universities throughout 2023, reshaping and lifting the education system of the 21st century with the help of AI, VR, AR, Digital Twins, and the Metaverse. By 2025, the global digital spending on education has been projected to be over $350 billion.

Other technologies which will continue to have an impact and see a consistent increase in adoption in the higher education sector include Gamification, Blockchain, Chatbots, and Internet of Things (IoT) as well as Cloud-based technologies for student relationship management (CRM), Learning Management Systems (LMS), and assessment management, among others.

A whopping 86 percent of educators are convinced that technology should play a paramount role in how they teach future generations. Indeed, this will resonate on how graduates will be prepared to be in alignment with future jobs. 

Thus, the top higher education technology trends to watch out for in 2023 include Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), Digital Twins, the Metaverse (including digital avatars and NFT art for use in the Metaverse and other Web3-based virtual environments), Internet of Things (IoT), Blockchain, Cloud, Gamification, and Chatbots. These technologies will support the expansion of the Digital Transformation of higher education going forward.

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) will play an instrumental role in higher education in 2023. AI in education has been projected to reach 3.68 billion by 2023 and grow over 40 percent overtime to reach $17.83 billion by 2027. Institutions may expect to reap benefits from using AI for invigilating, grading, and library services, among others. Incorporating AI into the curriculums and supporting its integration will play a paramount role in order to see the benefits from this trend. The University of British Columbia is already using an AI-enabled avatar called Language Chatsim which helps students practice speaking German in a virtual environment.
  • Virtual and Augmented Reality (VAR): And their combinations of Mixed and Extended Reality (MR/XR) are immersive, experiential technologies with a tremendous capacity for simulations and training in areas such as medicine, engineering, veterinary medicine, and many more. These technologies are central to the Metaverse. They can help the classroom become more interactive and immersive while playing a role engaging learners’ senses through comprehensive multisensory experiences, moving forward to the next level: The Internet of Senses (IoS) applied to education.
  • Digital Twins: A Digital Twin creates a highly complex virtual model which is an exact replica of a physical thing, in this case, we refer to the campus. In 2021, Morehouse College was revealed as a pioneer after creating a Digital Twin of its campus to offer its students a better and more attractive solution for remote learning, a solution that offers a superior experience than Zoom.
  • The Metaverse: The Metaversity promises to provide an entire virtual world where students and faculty can interact remotely, efficiently, engaging in educational and interactive worlds. 
  • Internet of Things (IoT): The success and expansion of an all-connected campus depends on the network. A 5G, real-time network empowers the connected campus bringing accessibility only to students, administrators, and faculty but also to all the connected things and equipment which are part of it. The IoT goes hand-in-hand with a smart automated campus.
  • Blockchain technology provides secure storage for students’ records and other records. Blockchain will remain an ed tech trend in 2023. It is expected to grow 85.9 percent from 2022 throughout 2030.
  • Cloud Computing in the form of cloud-based services will continue to expand during 2023. Cloud-based infrastructure will allow limitless virtual libraries to assist students and academics in their research. With the help of the Cloud, online education platforms can handle vast amounts of video content, 3D-modeling and more, making it easy for students to share their work with their teachers as well as accessing limitless video lectures.
  • Gamification: Although not new, game-based learning will continue to grow in 2023. Tedious and complex classes can become enjoyable and thus increase student engagement.
  • Chatbots are autonomous agents which use various Artificial Intelligence techniques such as Natural Learning Processing (NLP), Automatic Speech Recognition, Data Mining, Machine Learning, and Sentiment Analysis. In higher education, chatbots can drive student engagement. They can answer queries such as lesson plans, student modules, assignments, and deadlines. They improve student retention, play a role in admission, career services, and mental health support. In the future, pedagogical chatbots are going to be incorporated into the classroom. The aim of pedagogical chatbots (conversational agents) is to improve students’ engagement, according to research conducted by the University of Granada, Spain. Chatbots in higher education are a trend to keep an eye on in 2023.