Eduventures 2020 Higher Education Technology Landscape Unveiled

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Updated Landscape Includes New Segments that Support the Higher Education Teaching and Learning Ecosystem and Reflect the New Reality Brought on by COVID-19

2020 Tech Landscape

“Even before the pandemic, we were already seeing an increased focus on building teaching and learning ecosystems that are flexible enough to address potential changes in educational delivery and support. COVID-19 has dramatically exacerbated this need.”

ACT® | NRCCUA®, an educational data science and research organization, announced today the publication of the Eduventures® 2020 Higher Education Technology Landscape (Landscape). Created to help higher education leaders prioritize their technology investments and understand the expanding array of standalone and bundled offerings, Eduventures has been publishing an updated Landscape and follow on report for the last six years.

The Effect of COVID-19 on Teaching and Learning

As Eduventures has done each year since 2014, the annual Higher Education Technology Landscape categorizes the market of technology products. This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has both strained technology systems and made them more relevant than ever before. As a result, the 2020 Landscape reflects the heightened demands placed on teaching and learning ecosystems with new emphasis on the following solution categories:

  • Accessibility Solutions: Institutions now face the challenge of ensuring that students with disabilities can access digital content while learning remotely. By adding the Accessibility Solutions segment to the Landscape, products are identified that help to both create and assess accessible digital content.
  • Faculty Lifecycle Management Solutions: All institutions track student-level data that gives them insight into things like courses taken or assessments completed. Many do not have similar insight into faculty activities like courses taught or assessments administered. This type of insight is critical when considering how a teaching and learning ecosystem should adapt to changes in modality. The new Faculty Lifecycle Management Solutions segment comprises solutions that help provide this insight.
  • Institutional Effectiveness Solutions: Education leaders have already begun reflecting on how effective their remote learning efforts were, and whether students performed as well as they would have in an on-campus setting. As institutions seek to learn from these efforts, data and metrics are needed to establish their success or failure. Institutional Effectiveness Solutions support program development and evaluation, efficacy measurement, and ongoing program review.
  • Student Engagement Solutions: Higher education often uses the term “engagement”, but rarely is there a consistent definition. The Landscape considers engagement to be less about tactical steps and more about the end goal of creating a sense of belonging for students along their journeys. The Student Engagement Solutions segment was added this year to highlight solutions that empowers schools them to engage with students and foster a sense of belonging.
  • Student Mobility Solutions: Student transferring between institutions is not a recent phenomenon. This process requires students to find information about transfer articulation policies and agreements, research how courses and programs map to potential degrees, and understand which comparable courses are taught at other institutions. Students find themselves retaking courses or choosing the wrong program all too often. Student Mobility Solutions empower both students and institutional leaders to overcome these challenges.

According to James Wiley, Principal Analyst at Eduventures, “Any large-scale, catastrophic event – like hurricanes or pandemics, pressure-test our environment, forcing us to question our readiness to respond and adapt to the challenge before us. COVID-19, in particular, has required nearly all institutions to deliver courses and academic support remotely instantaneously, and many institutions have struggled to meet this need. While our overall classification methodology for the Landscape has not changed, we did want to ensure that it captures some of the key challenges arising from institutional responses to COVID-19.”

Wiley added, “Even before the pandemic, we were already seeing an increased focus on building teaching and learning ecosystems that are flexible enough to address potential changes in educational delivery and support. COVID-19 has dramatically exacerbated this need.”

Eduventures forthcoming 2020 Higher Education Technology Landscape Report will dive more deeply into the new segments, standout vendors, and how other trends are impacting the Landscape. In the meantime, the 2020 Landscape will serve as a tool toward a better understanding of the current product marketplace.


The National Research Center for College and University Admissions™ (NRCCUA), a wholly-owned subsidiary of ACT, is an educational data science and research organization serving over 2,000 member institutions comprised of public and private colleges and universities across the nation. Since 1972, NRCCUA has been a leading provider of data, technology, and programs serving students, high school educators, colleges, and universities from its offices in Lee’s Summit, MO, Boston, MA, New York, NY, and Austin, TX. These solutions represent the link between students making important life decisions and those providing the resources and information they need to succeed in their post-secondary educations and career. With the launch of Encoura™ Data Lab, the company now combines data science, advanced analytics, Eduventures research, predictive modeling, and omnichannel enrollment services in one platform to enable institutions to make real-time strategic and operational decisions to meet their unique enrollment goals and create the highest probability of student success. For more information, visit

Members of the media who would like to speak to Principal Technology Analyst, James Wiley can contact Ellen Slaby at

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