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Global trends in disruptive technological change: social and policy implications for education

John W. Moravec (Education Futures LLC, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA)
María Cristina Martínez-Bravo (Department of Communication, University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 5 September 2023

Issue publication date: 2 November 2023




The purpose of this study is to identify global trends in disruptive technological change and map the social and policy implications, particularly as they relate to the educational ecosystem and main stakeholders across all levels of education.


The authors conducted a two-stage meta-analysis of 1,155 scholarly, peer-reviewed articles. The investigation involves a systematized literature review for data identification and collation adhering to defined selection criteria, and a network analysis to scrutinize data, consolidate information and unveil correlations and patterns from the literature review to produce a set of recommendations.


The study unveiled educational trends related to disruptive technologies and delineated four principal clusters representing how these technologies are transforming the education ecosystem. Additionally, a series of transversal aspects that reveal a societal vulnerability toward future prospects in the realms of ethics, sustainability, resilience, security, and policy were identified.

Practical implications

The findings spotlight an enlarging chasm between industry (and society at large) and conventional education, where many transformations triggered by disruptive technologies remain absent from teaching and learning systems. The study further offers recommendations and envisions potential scenarios, urging stakeholders to respond based on their positions concerning disruptive technologies.


Expanding from the meta-analysis of pertinent literature, this paper offers four collections of curated resources, four mini case studies and four scenarios for policymakers and local communities to consider, enabling them to plot courses for their optimal futures.



Recognizing the rising importance of artificial intelligence as a disruptive technology in education, the authors invited ChatGPT to contribute to this paper’s Coda.


Moravec, J.W. and Martínez-Bravo, M.C. (2023), "Global trends in disruptive technological change: social and policy implications for education", On the Horizon, Vol. 31 No. 3/4, pp. 147-173.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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