Each year EDUCAUSE publishes the Horizon Report, which is a document that looks at the trends impacting higher education. I want to discuss the report because I believe it offers insight into what trends we need to be aware of in special libraries.
There are different versions of the Horizon Report, and the one I want to discuss in this post is the 2023 Teaching and Learning Edition. Even if your special library is not attached to an institution of higher education, the trends still impact any teaching and learning occurring within libraries. Trends such as generative AI will have a significant impact on all teaching and learning environments.
*For full disclosure, I was part of the expert panel that participated in developing the 2023 Horizon Report Teaching and Learning Edition.
The report is broken down into five categories: social trends, technological trends, economic trends, environmental trends, and political trends. Each category has three trends under it that will affect teaching and learning in the coming year(s).
The key trends identified this year include: AI-enabled applications for predictive, personal learning; generative AI; blurring boundaries between modalities; Hyflex; microcredentials; and supporting students’ sense of belonging and connectedness.
For readers new to the Horizon Report, I hope you pay particular attention to the section titled Implications: What Do We Do Now? The ideas shared in that section give concrete ideas for how to move forward in light of the current trends and technologies impacting our work.
In light of technology trends, in special libraries, we may need to consider how we provide information to library users. If more students are learning in Hyflex courses, we cannot assume they will visit the library or even that they will regularly check their online course. Due to this, we will need to work with course instructors and potentially create multiple content access points.
Another example is in the area of microcredentials. If more students are looking for microcredentials to round out their education, special libraries may want to partner with higher education institutions to develop a research microcredential or a microcredential that acknowledges expertise in the research methods or content in your special library.
I encourage you to read the full report yourself and consider how the trends affect your work and your library users.
Dr. Lauren Hays is an Assistant Professor of Instructional Technology at the University of Central Missouri, and a frequent presenter and interviewer on topics related to libraries and librarianship. Please read Lauren’s other posts relevant to special librarians. Take a look at Lucidea’s powerful integrated library systems, SydneyEnterprise, and GeniePlus, used daily by innovative special librarians in libraries of all types, sizes and budgets.
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