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The 2011 Horizon Report is a collaboration between
The New Media Consortium
and the
EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative

Since 2005, the annual Horizon Report has been the most visible aspect of a focused collaboration between the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) and the New Media Consortium in which the two organizations engage their memberships in both the creation and outcomes of the research.

The New Media Consortium (NMC) is a globally focused not-for-profit consortium dedicated to the exploration and use of new media and new technologies. Its hundreds of member institutions constitute an elite list of the most highly regarded colleges, universities, and museums in the worlds. For nearly 20 years, the consortium and its members have dedicated themselves to exploring and developing applications of emerging technologies for learning, research, and creative inquiry. For more information on the NMC, visit

The ELI is a community of higher education institutions and organizations committed to advancing learning through information technology (IT) innovation. ELI is a strategic initiative of EDUCAUSE. While EDUCAUSE serves those interested in advancing higher education through technology, ELI specifically explores innovative technologies and practices that advance learning and promotes innovation in teaching and learning using information technology. To learn more about the ELI, visit

© 2011, The New Media Consortium
ISBN 978-0-9828290-5-9

Permission is granted under a Creative Commons Attribution license to replicate, copy, distribute, transmit, or adapt this report freely provided that attribution is provided as illustrated in the citation below. To view a copy of this license, visit or send a letter to Creative Commons, 559 Nathan Abbott Way, Stanford, California 94305, USA.

Johnson, L., Smith, R., Willis, H., Levine, A., and Haywood, K., (2011). The 2011 Horizon Report.
Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

Cover photograph, “Kauai’i Solstice,” © 2005, Larry Johnson.

The internationally recognized series of Horizon Reports is part of the New Media Consortium’s Horizon Project, a comprehensive research venture established in 2002 that identifies and describes emerging technologies likely to have a large impact over the coming five years on a variety of sectors around the globe. This volume, the 2011 Horizon Report, examines emerging technologies for their potential impact on and use in teaching, learning, and creative inquiry. It is the eighth in the annual [...]


The technologies featured in every edition of the Horizon Report are embedded within a contemporary context that reflects the realities of the time, both in the sphere of education and in the world at large. To ensure this context was well understood as the current report was produced, the Advisory Board engaged in an extensive review of current articles, interviews, papers, and new research to identify and rank trends that are currently affecting the practices of teaching, learning, and creativ [...]


Any discussion of technology adoption must also consider important constraints and challenges, and the Advisory Board drew deeply from a careful analysis of current events, papers, articles, and similar sources, as well as from personal experience in detailing a long list of challenges institutions face in adopting any new technology. Several important challenges are detailed below, but it was clear that behind them all was a pervasive sense that individual organizational constraints are likely [...]


The six technologies featured in the 2011 Horizon Report are placed along three adoption horizons that indicate likely time frames for their entrance into mainstream use for teaching, learning, or creative inquiry. The near-term horizon assumes the likelihood of entry into the mainstream for institutions within the next twelve months; the mid-term horizon, within two to three years; and the far-term, within four to five years. It should be noted at the outset that the Horizon Report is not a pre [...]


This report is part of a longitudinal research study of emerging technologies that began in March 2002. Since that time, under the banner of the Horizon Project, the New Media Consortium and its research partners have held an ongoing series of conversations and dialogs with hundreds of technology professionals, campus technologists, faculty leaders from colleges and universities, museum professionals, teachers and other school professionals, and representatives of leading corporations from more [...]


Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less Now that they are firmly established in the consumer sector, electronic books are beginning to demonstrate capabilities that challenge the very definition of reading. Audiovisual, interactive, and social elements enhance the informational content of books and magazines. Social tools extend the reader’s experience into the larger world, connecting readers with one another and enabling deeper, collaborative explorations of the text. The content of elec [...]


Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less According to a recent report from mobile manufacturer Ericsson, studies show that by 2015, 80% of people accessing the Internet will be doing so from mobile devices. Perhaps more important for education, Internetcapable mobile devices will outnumber computers within the next year. In Japan, over 75% of Internet users already use a mobile as their first choice for access. This shift in the means of connecting to the Internet is being enabled by the conv [...]


Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years Augmented reality, a capability that has been around for decades, is shifting from what was once seen as a gimmick to a bonafide game-changer. The layering of information over 3D space produces a new experience of the world, sometimes referred to as “blended reality,” and is fueling the broader migration of computing from the desktop to the mobile device, bringing with it new expectations regarding access to information and new opportunities for [...]


Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years Game-based learning has gained considerable traction since 2003, when James Gee began to describe the impact of game play on cognitive development. Since then, research — and interest in — the potential of gaming on learning has exploded, as has the diversity of games themselves, with the emergence of serious games as a genre, the proliferation of gaming platforms, and the evolution of games on mobile devices. Developers and researchers are worki [...]


Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years Thanks in part to the Nintendo Wii, the Apple iPhone and the iPad, many people now have some immediate experience with gesture-based computing as a means for interacting with a computer. The proliferation of games and devices that incorporate easy and intuitive gestural interactions will certainly continue, bringing with it a new era of user interface design that moves well beyond the keyboard and mouse. While the full realization of the potential of [...]


Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years Learning analytics promises to harness the power of advances in data mining, interpretation, and modeling to improve understandings of teaching and learning, and to tailor education to individual students more effectively. Still in its early stages, learning analytics responds to calls for accountability on campuses across the country, and leverages the vast amount of data produced by students in day-to-day academic activities. While learning analyti [...]


All editions of the Horizon Report series are produced via a carefully constructed qualitative research process that draws on the input of a diverse group of people representing a range of backgrounds, nationalities, and interests. This group, known as the Horizon Project Advisory Board, is reconstituted annually and with each new edition, with at least one third of the group being new to the process each year to ensure a fresh perspective. To date, more than five hundred internationally recogni [...]


Larry Johnson, co-PI The New Media Consortium Malcolm Brown, co-PI EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative Bryan Alexander National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE) Kumiko Aoki Open University of Japan (Japan) Neil Baldwin Montclair State University Helga Bechmann Multimedia Kontor Hamburg GmbH (Germany) Michael Berman California State University, Channel Islands Gardner Campbell Baylor University Cole Camplese The Pennsylvania State University Crist [...]


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