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Gartner Highlights The Top 10 Strategic Technologies Impacting Education In 2015

Monday, 27 July 2015, 10:42 Hrs

Social and economic pressures are forcing senior education leaders to rethink business models and consider a range of new technologies, to bring down the cost of administering education institutions and scale the business, according to research from Gartner, Inc.

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

Gartner has identified the top 10 strategic technologies for the education industry in 2015. It is not a list of what education CIOs spend the most time or money on; rather it is a list of strategic technologies that Gartner recommends education CIO should have a plan for in 2015:

1.    Adaptive Learning

Adaptive learning is the ability to capture learner data through online learning has provided a breakthrough. The real value of adaptive learning lies in the metadata attached to each learning "morsel," which must then be combined with enough empirical data of students trying to master the topic to allow personalized learning.

2.    Adaptive E-Textbooks

Unlike traditional print materials, e-textbooks can be edited to include up-to-date information, be assembled or disassembled, or include content from other sources. Adaptive e-textbooks add the element of tracking student interaction with the text, and adapting to the learning style. E-textbooks are the first key step of going from analog to digital education. 

3.    CRM

Customer relationship management (CRM) is now a widely recognized tool for tracking and managing relationships with 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. 

4.    Big Data

Big data in education is collecting vast amounts of data from the digitized activities of students, parents, faculty and staff, transforming that into information, and producing actions aimed at improving institution outcomes. Now, it is a very promising technology-based strategic capability that has the possibility to improve the whole education ecosystem.

 5.    Sourcing Strategies

Sourcing strategies represent a collection of technologies and vendor services, from hosting to cloud, homegrown to open source, to subscription models for acquiring software/hardware capabilities. Strategic sourcing helps IT to focus from administrative transactions and operational support toward activities that enable differentiation and innovation for the institution.

6.    Exostructure

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

7.    Open Micro-credentials

Microcredentials have existed for some time in digital social environments in general, and in learning environments in particular. A key problem is that these environments are proprietary, which makes it difficult to display achievements outside of them. The aim of open micro-credentials is to remedy that problem.

8.    Digital Assessment

Digital assessment is about being able to do any assessment digitally, to remove the need for physically tethered as well as human-proctored tests. It 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 education, and will remain a strategic technology until it is solved.

9.    Mobile

Mobile is a popular term for pervasive access via many types of devices. Mobile in education includes use in all aspects of the academy — administration, education and research. However, the domain is maturing surprisingly slowly. Education CIOs will need to treat mobile as a strategic technology for several years

 10.  Social Learning

Social learning gives learners the ability to establish a 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; to engage in experience-based learning exercises; and to receive real-time online coaching and support.

The experience from massive open online courses (MOOCs) shows the importance of "social" in learning platforms and is influencing the acceptance of social learning platforms. However, a significant number of faculty 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.