Top 10 Strategic Technologies Impacting Education in 2015

It is a known fact that Education is being impacted by new technologies, however what might be a surprise is how fast it is happening.

The pressure to bring down the costs of maintaining a public or private educational system are key drivers to make the shift.

Worldwide education sector spending is forecast to grow 2.3 percent to reach $67.8 billion in 2015, according to Gartner. This forecast includes higher education as well as primary and secondary schools.

According to Gartner vice president and notable analyst Jan-Martin Lowendahl, traditional educational business models are being fundamentally challenged by digitalization.

Within the number of technical innovations, MR. Lowendahl points out that “Education sector CIOs need to take a broad approach and consider technologies from outside the education community, as well as looking for lessons from their peers. Focus on those that are most appropriate to your institution’s strategy.”

Gartner recommends education CIO should have a plan for in 2015: 

  1. Adaptive Learning

Adaptive learning is a concept that goes back to at least the 1950s. Adaptive Learning is an educational method which uses computers as interactive teaching devices. Computers adapt the presentation of educational material according to students’ learning needs, as indicated by their responses to questions and tasks. It is extremely valuable in designing the pedagogy of the future.  

  1. Adaptive E-Textbooks

E-textbooks will be altered to incorporate up-to-date data, be assembled or disassembled, or embody content from alternative sources and social interaction. Adaptive e-textbooks add the part of student interaction with the text, and adapting to the educational mode. E-textbooks are the primary key step of going from analog to digital education. 

  1. CRM

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a widely known tool for tracking and managing relationships, including prospective and current students, parents, alumni, corporations, benefactors and other friends of the institution. However, institutions are grappling with the difficulties of standardizing and integrating the institutional data to achieve success with these solutions, and to enable rapid and informed decision making on their campus.  

  1. Big Data

Big data in education is connected to grouping vast amounts of knowledge from the (put into a computer) activities of scholars, parents, teachers/professors and employees, ever-changing that into data, and producing or recommending actions geared toward improving institution results. Big data in school has been around for a minimum of twenty years, principally targeted on analysis. Now, it’s a promising technology-based (related to an inspiration to succeed in a goal) ability that has the chance to boost the total education community.

  1. Sourcing Strategies

Not a technology in itself, sourcing strategies represent a collection of technologies and vendor services, from hosting to cloud, to open source, to subscription models for acquiring software/hardware capabilities.

A sourcing strategy is a set of directives and decisions that define and integrate internal and external resources and services required to fulfil an enterprise’s business objectives. Strategic sourcing helps IT to focus from administrative transactions and operational support toward activities that enable differentiation and innovation for the institution. 

  1. Exostructure

Exostructure strategy means acquiring the critical capability of interoperability as a deliberate strategy to integrate the increasing numbers of partnerships, tools and services in the education ecosystem. According to Gartner when done right, an exostructure approach enables institutions to leverage services from the cloud, rather than having to bring them inside the campus walls.

Enabled by standards, it can allow the institution to adapt faster. With the increasing interdependencies in the education ecosystem, Gartner sees it rising in importance for at least the next decade. The future belongs to exostructure rather than to infrastructure. 

  1. Open Microcredentials

Microcredentials in the form of different badges or points have existed for some time in digital social environments in general, and in learning environments in particular. According to Gartner a key problem is that these environments are proprietary, which makes it difficult to display achievements outside of them. The aim of open microcredentials is to remedy that problem.

For education institutions, issuing open microcredentials is a low-cost, high-value, technology-based capability that will provide more value and motivation to students. Open microcredentials is still relatively immature as a technology, but it is gaining traction in the education community. Gartner sees it as a clear strategic technology with a relatively small investment involved, thereby making it a low-hanging fruit with good ROI.

  1. Digital Assessment

According to Gartner, assessment within education is in itself a vast and complicated area. Digital assessment is a very practical technology with a clear high-level goal, but with many problems in the implementation. However, good digital assessment is a necessity for trustworthy and scalable online or hybrid (digitalized) education, and will remain a strategic technology until it is solved. 

  1. Mobile

Mobile is a popular term for universal access via many types of devices. Mobile is not simply a synonym for mobile smartphones or tablets. Mobile in education includes use in all aspects of the academy — administration, education and research. However, the domain is maturing surprisingly slowly. Inhibitors in 2014 still include smartphone cost, device limitations (such as battery life), the development of m-learning course materials, lack of skills and the wide diversity of mobile devices. Education CIOs will need to treat mobile as a strategic technology for several years.

  1. Social Learning

Social learning gives students the ability to establish a presence or social profile that reflects their expertise and interest; to create, discuss, share and capture learning content as learning objects; to organize and find learning objects from a variety of sources, such as search or peer ratings; to interact with peers in their social networks and be able to reach beyond their networks to other trusted sources of information; to engage in experience-based learning exercises; and to receive real-time online coaching and support.

Gartner research, shows that the experience from massive open online courses (MOOCs) is revealing the importance of “social” in learning platforms and is influencing the acceptance of social learning platforms. However, a significant number of schools and students prefer to use open social platforms such as Google Sites or Facebook to complement traditional learning-management systems (LMSs) rather than the now-built-in social features in the learning platforms.

Vendors and institutions are still trying to figure out the perfect mix in the learning stack.

More information on these trends is available in the Gartner report “Top 10 Strategic Technologies Impacting Education in 2015” available to Gartner clients at


4 thoughts on “Top 10 Strategic Technologies Impacting Education in 2015

  1. Alex says:

    all these technologies just complicating things more and more every day… they definitely help achieving short-time goals.
    But when it comes to long-term educational goals, all people need is a curious mind-set and ability to absorb and filter new information well…


  2. martia12 says:

    I agree with you Alex in the sense that a curious mind-set is needed but on the other hand how many times have we felt that what we were studying in some of our college/university classes was not going to be relevant to our future jobs?

    In past Diane’s classes we found that every day there is a bigger gap between Academics and Practitioners in Information systems. At the same time, new IS related jobs are appearing every year as new technologies appear and current education model does not seem to re-adapt at the same pace to produce well educated people in such areas. I believe it is there where technologies such as adaptative learning, e-textbooks, social learning together with the curious mind-set will help us reach the education level desired by any individual.


  3. Edgar says:

    Educational institutions are “heavy”, highly resistant and constantly running on low budget. Although there are a good number of technology enablers and good ideas, Educational Institutions won’t adhere as soon as one might expect.

    Although this innovation may seem to impact jobs in the future, little knowledge is very risky and not all the content available online or free to the public is good or valid. In addition the issue I see is that, unless the educational content is prepared and delivered by recognized professionals, people won’t feel that the time spent e-learning is as good as in class.

    If you could choose between two MBAs with same name, same modules but one is in class with renown lecturers, from a recognized institution and the other is an MBA Online which one would you pick?


  4. chewardy says:

    I think that in a perfect world a curious mind would suffice but a curious mind will not fund a university or attract the new curious minds that will sustain it if they don’t have the right platform


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