Importantly, the National Institute for Digital Learning (NIDL) at Dublin City University (DCU), in partnership with the Irish Learning Technology Association (ILTA), jointly commissioned the Horizon Report to help identify, articulate and address many of the challenges and opportunities confronting institutions at a particularly difficult time in the funding of Higher Education. It was quite deliberate to produce an ‘all Ireland’ report in order to build stronger linkages and shed greater light on important similarities and differences between the Republic and Northern Ireland.
It needs to be noted that previous Horizon Reports have been criticised for fad hopping, focusing on technology rather than pedagogy, and failing to accurately predict the future (Downes, 2015). More specifically, the reports are challenged for the lack of narrative between reports, which connect previous predictions—both failed and accurate—with the latest ones. While aware of these limitations, and that the past has taught us you cannot predict the future, the main aim of the Irish Horizon Report was to generate greater sector wide debate around the impact of technology on the future of Higher Education and to help institutions identify their preferred futures.
With this outcome in mind, the paper reflects on the methodology and then offers insights into what the Horizon Report says (or not) in terms of major trends, challenges and developments for Ireland in terms of both a short and long-term horizon. The paper concludes with a discussion of how we can most effectively use, validate the where necessary reject or modify specific findings through further consultation.