The Forecast for Tech Usage and Growth in Nursing Education: Part 4 of the series The Future of Technology in Nursing Education

In part 4 of this 4-part series, the dialogue continues on the topic: The Future of Technology in Nursing Education.  We discuss findings from the NLN and Wolters Kluwer (WK) national survey on the tech growth in nursing education over the next 5 years.

By: Jone Tiffany and Sue Forneris

In the final part of this 4-part series, our dialogue continues around the forecast for tech usage and growth in nursing education programs. With the overall goal of reframing how nursing students are taught and how graduates engage with patients and their caregivers in the connected age of health care (National League for Nursing [NLN], 2015), many of the technologies currently being used will be used less, and new technologies, such as mobile apps and virtual reality, will be increasingly important.

The NLN/WK Infographic 4, based on findings from the NLN and Wolters Kluwer (WK) national survey on the use of technology in schools of nursing, identifies three different categories of technology use: 1) technologies currently used by schools of nursing, 2) technologies schools expect to adopt in the next two to three years; and 3) technologies expected to be in use in four to five years.


It is interesting to note that technologies with the highest usage today are expected to lag in the coming years. For example, videos, online learning, and virtual simulation are all projected to be used less within two to five years. In contrast, mobile apps, predictive analytics, virtual reality, and makerspaces are all projected to increase in usage during this time period. Of these, virtual reality technology will have the greatest rate of adoption, with an expected increase from 10 percent to 45 percent in the next five years.

Is nursing education moving faster than broader education programs in the adoption of technology to better meet students’ learning outcomes? reports suggest this just might be the case.

The annual NMC Horizon Report identifies key trends affecting higher education technology adoption (Adams Becker et al., 2017). (Skiba reports on the latest Horizon Report in the Nursing Education Perspectives Emerging Technologies Center.) A compelling comparison of technology adoption between higher education overall, as reported in the Horizon Report, and nursing education, from the NLN/WK survey, suggests that adaptive learning technologies targeted for adoption within the next four to five years are already used in nursing education. Approximately 64 percent of nursing programs have successfully adopted this technology with the use of adaptive quizzing and testing.

The recently published joint survey between Gallup and Inside Higher Ed (Lederman & McKenzie, 2017) reports that 71 percent of digital learning leaders and 35 percent of faculty members consider themselves “early adopters” of new education technologies. Moreover, more than 9 in 10 digital learning leaders and nearly two thirds of faculty members support the increased use of technology in education. Faculty in higher education report their primary source for learning about the effectiveness of digital courseware products is colleague recommendations.

An important finding from this survey is the correlation of technology usage and faculty self-. Faculty attitudes and abilities appear to be moving in the right direction. Ultimately, technology, when used properly with a solid pedagogical foundation, can enhance student learning. Technologies are being introduced at an increasingly rapid pace, and if nurse faculty can harness their potential, students, patients, and caregivers will reap the benefits.


Adams Becker, S., Cummins, M., Davis, A., Freeman, A., Hall Giesinger, C., & Anathanarayanan, V. (2017)NMC horizon report: 2017 higher education edition. Austin, TX: New Media Consortium.

Lederman, D., & McKenzie, L. (2017, October 20). Faculty buy-in builds, bit by bit: Survey of faculty attitudes on technology. Inside Higher Ed.

National League for Nursing. (2015)A vision for the changing faculty role: Preparing students     for the technological world of health care [NLN Vision Statement].

Skiba, D. J. (2017). Horizon Report: Knowledge obsolescence, artificial intelligence, and rethinking the educator role [Emerging Technologies Center]. Nursing Education Perspectives, 38(3), 165-167.

2 thoughts

  1. This is one of the best blogs by you two ever! I loved every link, every bit of it. And I agree with you, the role of educators, education and technology is changing faster than many of us realize.

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