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. 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.
7. Open Microcredentials
Microcredentials in the form of various badges or points 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 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.
8. Digital Assessment
Assessment within education is in itself a vast and complicated area. Digital assessment is ultimately about being able to do any assessment digitally, to remove the need for physically tethered as well as human-proctored tests and improve modes of testing, grading and data analysis. The first-level application of digital assessments is to increase trust in online education by applying identification mechanisms, such as keystroke identification or cloud-based face recognition. 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.
Mobile is a popular term for pervasive 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
10. Social Learning
Social learning gives learners 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.
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