Gartner: 10 technologies to impact education in 2015

04 March 2015 5 min. read

As traditional educational business models are expected to be challenged by digitalisation, educational institutions need to consider technologies from outside their industry, research by Gartner shows. The global research and consulting firm lists the top 10 strategic technologies executives in the education ecosystem should consider in 2015.

In a recently released report, information technology research and consulting firm Gartner forecasts that traditional educational business models will fundamentally be challenged by digitalisation. As a result of this, education leaders are forced to rethink these models and consider a range of new technologies to cut the cost of administering education institutions and scale their business.

10 technologies to impact education in 2015

Jan-Martin Lowendahl, Vice President at Gartner, explains: “An increasing number of technical innovations and technology trends are emerging from within the industry, but most will emerge outside the industry, driven by major forces such as digital business and the consumerisation and industrialisation of IT. 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.”

In its report, the firm discusses the top 10 strategic technologies it expects to impact education in 2015, and provides education CIOs (Chief Information Officers) and IT executives with recommendations regarding the adoption and benefits of these technologies. provides a brief summary of the 10 strategic technologies:

Adaptive Learning - Adaptive e-Textbooks - CRM and Big Data

Adaptive Learning
The ability to capture learner data through online learning has provided a breakthrough in adaptive learning. True adaptive learning consists of crowdsourcing and big data collection, allowing for personalised learning. Gartner comments that adaptive learning is extremely valuable in designing the pedagogy of the future.

Adaptive e-Textbooks
The advantage of e-textbooks over traditional print materials is that they can be edited at any time to include up-to-date information, be assembled or disassembled, or include content from other sources and social interaction. According to Gartner, e-textbooks are the first key step of going from analogue to digital education.

The use of customer relationship management (CRM) is a widely recognised tool for tracking and managing relationships with constituents, however, educational institutions experience difficulties of standardising and integrating the institutional data to achieve success and to enable rapid and informed decision making.

Big Data
Big data in education is associated with the collecting of vast amounts of data and transforming that into information to produce or recommend actions aimed at improving institution outcomes. Gartner states that big data has the possibility to improve the whole education ecosystem.

Sourcing Strategies - Exostructure and Ipen Micro Credentials

Sourcing Strategies
Sourcing strategies are sets of scenarios, plans, directives and decisions that define and integrate internal and external resources and services required to meet an institution’s business objectives. Gartner explains that strategic sourcing will help IT to focus on activities that enable differentiation and innovation for the institution.

Adopting an exostructure strategy means acquiring the capability of interoperability to integrate partnerships, tools and services in the education ecosystem. The approach enables institution to leverage services from the cloud, allowing it to adapt faster. According to Gartner, with the increasing interdependencies in the education ecosystem, exostructure strategies are the future.

Open Micro Credentials
Gartner states that the issue of open micro credentials is a low-cost, high-value, technology-based capability for education institutions that will provide students with more value and motivation and the institution with a good ROI.

Digital Assessment - Mobile and Social Learning

Digital Assessment
By digitalising assessments, they can be taken anywhere, removing the need for physically bound and human-proctored tests, resulting in improved modes of testing, grading and data analysis. Although digital assessment is a practical technology with a clear high-level goal, there are many problems in the implementation. Gartner explains that as good digital assessment is a necessity for trustworthy and scalable education, it will remain a strategic technology until it is solved.

Using mobile in education means pervasive access to education via many types of devices. As still many inhibitors exist, including smartphone cost, device limitations, the development of m-learning course materials, and the lack of skills, Gartner recommends that education CIOs should treat mobile as a strategic technology for several years.

Social Learning
Through the use of social learning, learners will be able to, among others, establish a presence or social profile that reflects their expertise and interest; to create, discuss, share and capture learning content as learning objects; to organise and find learning objects from a variety of sources; and to interact with peers.