Higher-Ed-Tech Research Center

HigherEd Tech ResearchA combination of practice and research is needed to ensure the ongoing improvement of the learning environment in higher education. Fortunately, there are multiple organizations conducting the research needed to move the field forward and better serve educators, designers, administrators, and students.

This curated collection of resources features projects at the intersection of higher education, online and blended learning, technology, and social media.

What to look for:

Each entry includes the following information:

  • A brief introduction to the sponsoring organization
  • Tips on the types of materials available, from data sets and reports to infographics and interactive tools
  • Details about how to access downloadable reports
  • Introductory information about each study, such as goals and data collection

Some of the studies included have annual updates, while others are independent projects or parts of ongoing series. These reports represent the work taking place on a large-scale by a variety of institutions, associations, and companies.

How can you use these resources?

Use the reports to:

  • Stay up to date on the roles online, blended, or edtech models play in higher education
  • Inform your own research projects
  • Inspire your practice as an educator, designer, administrator, or other learning professional
  • Plan a new online or blended learning initiative at your institution

What’s missing?

Do you know of other research projects that should be included on this page? What are your recommended resources for research in online education? Use the comments section below this article (or email us) with suggestions on how we can make this a more comprehensive and helpful guide.



This print and web-based publication addresses aspects of academic work and careers in traditional and nontraditional settings. The Chronicle offers different categories of content, including the Facts & Figures collection of reports and databases.

What you’ll find: Interactive tools, charts and graphs, analysis reports and overviews
How to access: Some content and report summaries are free to access from the site, but many full reports are available only with a paid subscription

Almanac of Higher Education, 2014
This “annual compendium of data on colleges” is organized with the following categories: Profession, Students, Diversity, Finance, Technology, International, and The States.


This non-profit association serves “those who lead, manage, and use technology to shape strategic IT decisions at every level within higher education.” This organization conducts multiple research initiatives.

What you’ll find: Infographics, data tables, PDF reports, survey instruments, recorded webinars and slides
How to access: Free to download from website

ECAR Undergraduate Students and Information Technology
Responses gathered from more than 100,000 students annually provide details about learners’ experiences with technology, as well as their expectations and preferences.

The State of e-Learning in Higher Education: An Eye Toward Growth and Increased Access, 2013
This report evaluates the challenges of integrating higher education into the eLearning space. Reports come from surveys, focus groups, and interviews with faculty members, administrators, and accreditors.


This group provides “community and resources for eLearning professionals,” in a range of work settings from K-12 and higher education to corporate and government training. The organization’s activities include opportunities for professional development and networking. In addition to conferences and webinars, online periodicals are available. They also have a research library with reports in four categories: Perspectives, Hot Topics, Big Answers, and Surveys.

What You’ll Find: PDF reports, graphs and charts, related resources and recommendations
How to Access: Abstracts are free to access, but paid membership is required to download most full reports.

Making mLearning Usable: How We Use Mobile Devices
Results of a telephone survey and tablet study provide information about users’ preferences. Recommendations for designing mobile learning environments are explored.

Global eLearning Salary and Compensation Report, 2014
Find out what you can expect to earn while working in the industry. This annual report includes responses from more than 5,000 members and a salary calculator.

Using Stories for Learning: Answers to Five Key Questions
Four “learning story types” are identified along with ideas for aligning with learning objectives. A worksheet and related research are included.


Inside Higher Ed is an online publication focused on “news, opinion, and jobs for all of higher education.” In addition to providing a current collection of news features, blogs, and webinars, IHE conducts original research.

What you’ll find: PDF reports, graphs and charts, related articles and reactions
How to access: Free to download from website with registration

Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology, 2013
Conducted in collaboration with Gallup, this study includes responses from more than 2,500 faculty members. Perceptions of online learning quality and effectiveness are explored.

Digital Faculty: Professors and Technology, 2012
More than 4,500 faculty members and 500 administrators responded to a survey focused on technology trends, such as eTextbooks, learning analytics, and flipped classrooms. This study was conducted with the Babson Survey Research Group.


A private corporation, The Learning House, Inc. partners with colleges and universities to provide a range of online education services, such as admissions management, curriculum and faculty development. This organization also provides multiple research reports to inform higher education administrators.

What you’ll find: PDF reports, demographics, infographics, webinar recordings
How to access: Submit email address to receive access to full reports

Benchmarks of Online Higher Education
Separate reports dedicated to public and private institutions address how online education initiatives are being integrated. The information provided covers common challenges, delivery options, and industry predictions.

Online College Students
A joint project with Aslanian Market Research, this annual study seeks to describe today’s online learner. Responses from more than 1500 students provide insight about motivation for online learning, as well as preferences and perceived value.


As part of the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, the NCES “fills a Congressional mandate to collect, collate, analyze, and report complete statistics on the condition of American education.” Reports and other publications are available online, as well as data sets and search tools.

What you’ll find: PDF reports, data sets, tables and figures
How to access: Free to access and download from the website

Enrollment in Distance Education Courses, by State, 2012
This report presents data collected through the IPEDS program from higher education institutions in the United States. Numbers of students enrolled at Title IV schools with a distance education status are reported on and organized across categories like school type (e.g., Public, Private non-profit, Private for-profit), location, student level, institution size, and more.


The New Media Consortium is a member organization and online community with “a key interest in technologies and applications that make learning more relevant and more engaging.” This organization facilitates activity around a range of initiatives, including those related to emerging technologies, which feature research and professional development opportunities.

What you’ll find: PDF reports, mobile app, wiki, trends, predictions, examples
How to access: Free to download from website

Horizon Report: Higher Ed Edition
Developed by an Advisory Board of technology experts, this annual report is the result of a modified Delphi process through which current trends and challenges, and predictions for the future impact of technology on teaching and learning are identified and described. The research project is a partnership with EDUCAUSE.


Higher education consultants from Noel-Levitz provide a range of services, including enrollment planning and student retention. The organization’s many research initiatives inform institutions about a variety of student populations and include data gathered from prospective and current college students, as well as administrators.

What you’ll find: PDF reports, trends, demographics, graphs and charts, webinar recordings and slides
How to access: Free to download with account registration

National Satisfaction and Priorities Reports
This collection of reports includes data gathered from “tens of thousands of students” (undergraduate and graduate, adult and online), staff members, and parents.

Online Learning Consortium (OLC)

As a non-profit professional organization, the OLC (formerly known as The Sloan Consortium) is “devoted to advancing quality e-Education learning into the mainstream of education through its community.” Related efforts include publications and research, conferences and a variety of professional development activities. A series of survey reports is provided in collaboration with The College Board and Babson Survey Research Group.

What you’ll find: PDF reports, charts, infographics
How to access: Free to download from website with registration

Online Education in the United States
This annual report captures current trends and issues in online education through surveys sent to academic leaders at more than 2,000 colleges and universities. The title of the annual report and topics covered, in addition to online enrollment, varies somewhat from year to year.


This is one part of the larger Pew Research Center, described as, “A nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes, and trends shaping America and the world.” Multiple research groups within the organization provide survey studies about technology use in a variety of contexts, including social media, generational preferences, libraries, Internet and mobile access.

What you’ll find: PDF reports, survey instruments, demographics, graphs and charts, infographics, trends.
How to access: free to download from website

U.S. Views of Technology and the Future, 2014
Survey respondents were asked to share their predictions for scientific advancement, as well as their feelings about how technology use might change their lives.

Social Media Update, 2013
This report describes social media use by adults 18 and older; detailed demographics are provided for Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Photo and Video Sharing Grow Online, 2013
Pew examines the differences between creating and curating and addresses use of mobile devices in photo- and video-sharing.

Who’s Not Online and Why, 2013
Internet use is explored among American adults ages 18 and older. Perceived relevance, ease of use, costs, and access are addressed.


Pearson is a private company that provides products and services to education institutions worldwide. Well known for publishing and assessments, this organization also conducts research projects related to student engagement and the use of technology for teaching and learning.

What you’ll find: PDF reports, eBook options, survey instruments, charts, infographics
How to access: Free to download from website

Social Media for Teaching and Learning, 2013
Conducted in partnership with the Babson Survey Research Group, this report shares input from faculty members about how they use social media personally and professionally.

WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technolgies (WCET)

A division of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, WCET is a non-profit organization focused on distance learning and educational technology. Institutional members are involved in a variety of collaborative projects “seeking practical solutions to real problems,” which include research and publications.

What you’ll find: PDF reports and summaries, presentation slides, blog posts, podcasts
How to access: Free to download from website

Managing Online Education
This report series is based on surveys that explore “the instructional, operational, and technology infrastructure of online programs in higher education.” The project is a partnership with eCampusAlberta, BCampus, and the Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium.

Source: Inside Online Learning Blog