Understanding Gartner’s 2019 Hype Cycle for Education

Deidra Peterson Specialist, Vertical Solutions Marketing Published 2 Dec 2019

Digital transformation is impacting the way organizations conduct business, including the education industry. From K-12 through higher education, new technologies such as augmented learning and AI are being integrated into daily classroom activities and the curriculum overall to enhance the learning experience and business operations.

According to Gartner, the following themes are manifesting in different stages throughout the education Hype Cycle:

Requiring effective ways to scale learning

  • Personalized, people-augmented learning

Optimizing business processes through automation and intelligence

  • AI-driven operations

Constantly seeking more effective engagement

  • Customer-facing, consumable self-service options

Leveraging data-informed decision making

  • Data-centric culture”  

The Hype Cycle illustrates effective ways to scale learning, optimize business processes through AI, and make data-informed decisions. The full report, “Hype Cycle for Education, 2019” is quite extensive, encompassing the following phases:

  1. Innovation trigger
  2. Peak of inflated expectations
  3. Trough of disillusionment
  4. Slope of enlightenment
  5. Plateau of productivity

Each phase defines technology trends, advice for users, business impacts, benefit ratings, market penetration and more in extensive detail. To provide a high-level overview, we’ll be highlighting a few key trends from three out of the five phases below.

On the Rise

Smart campus

What it is:

“A smart campus is a physical or digital environment in which humans and technology-enabled systems interact in increasingly open, connected, coordinated and intelligent ecosystems.”

-Gartner, Hype Cycle for Education, 2019

The ultimate result is an interactive, engaging experience for students and staff, comprised of a combination of connected people, processes, services, and things.

A few ways it impacts business:

  • Greater energy and water consumption efficiency
  • Reduced inconveniences such as parking and traffic
  • More optimally utilized space

According to Gartner, “Business impacts of the smart campus are vast, with emphasis on efficiency. There are anticipated substantive improvements to learning and student retention as a more “sticky” and content-rich immersive environment emerges.” . Note: smart technologies in cities in hospitals are likely to impact research, bringing transformation to the process of gathering research data.

Self-integrating applications

What it is:

According to Gartner, “Self-integrating applications use a combination of automated service discovery, metadata extraction and mapping, and machine learning to enable applications to integrate themselves into an existing application portfolio.”

How it impacts business:

According to Gartner, “Integration is perceived as one of the largest obstacles in organizations that have hybrid application portfolios. With an applications’ ability to discover and connect to relevant APIs within the application portfolio — with reduced or no intervention — this challenge will effectively be removed. This faster deployment of new application functionality will improve business agility, creating a more dynamic environment with improved collaboration across the partner ecosystem.”

At the Peak

5G services

What it is:

“5G service comprises local or wide-area cellular data connectivity based on the next generation of mobile and fixed wireless communications networking to follow 4G LTE.”

-Gartner, Hype Cycle for Education, 2019

As 5G becomes mainstream, networking and wireless providers will base services upon 5G performance requirements:

  • “Multigigabit mobile data throughput
  • Low-latency data transmission
  • Support for massive deployment of machine-to-machine communications” *

How it impacts business: 

According to Gartner, “Gartner expects 5G services to be a key enabler of fixed and mobile enterprise IoT strategies (such as autonomous vehicles) that will require very low latency connections for large numbers of endpoints.”. “Further, 5G standards will include Narrowband IoT and LTE Cat-M capabilities to serve ultra-low-powered devices. It’s possible that new service provides will enter the marketplace for 5G features like “network as a service” for edge computing or network slicing.”

Artificial intelligence education applications

What it is:

As defined by Gartner, artificial intelligence education applications are “…systems that analyze large amount of data beyond simple algorithms.” These applications are trained to identify and classify patterns, make predictions based on probability and operate without supervision.

How it impacts business:

AI is already positively impacting speed, as well as personalization of the learning experience for students. This gives staff more time for better interactions. Over time, it’s expected that AI will begin influencing the mission of education itself. It’s not just transforming the future professions of students, but the delivery of education today. It will continue to further solve the challenges of delivering good education in a scalable, cost effective fashion.

Climbing the slope

Adaptive learning platforms

What it is:

Adapting learning platforms change the presentation of educational content based on the preferences of students. Increasingly, the mass collecting of data is influencing adaptive learning.

How it impacts business:

As is evolves, adaptive learning is expected to solve the challenges of scaling cost effectively while improving quality. Ultimately, the goal is to improve the learning experience for students, giving way to:

  • Better learning outcomes
  • Increased retention rates
  • Higher graduation rates

iPaaS for learning integration

What it is:

According to Gartner, “Data integration technology in the form of an iPaaS increasingly offers capabilities such as ETL and data replication as cloud services. The use of iPaaS technology for data integration applies to diverse scenarios, including the integration of cloud-based, on-premises, interenterprise and Internet of Things (IoT) data.”.

iPaaS tooling allows system integrators to design integration solutions which can be delivered as a service.

How it impacts business:

At present, many organizations are overcoming data integration challenges across flexibility, scalability and entry costs using iPaaS. Businesses pressed for resources can use data integration through iPaaS to solve for synchronization of data between on-premises and off-premises applications, for example.

According to Gartner, “Organizations experienced in dealing with SaaS and other cloud services are expanding their techniques to create a more dynamic computing environment for data integration workloads. An example is simplifying deployment and expanding access to data sources in the cloud.”. 

In the future, iPaaS for data integration will likely become a common element of organizational data management and application infrastructure.

Looking forward at the potential of today’s education initiatives

The leading education innovations in 2019 can improve business capabilities, whether administrative or academic. More importantly, the adoption rate and progress call for education CIOs to consider their priorities, culture and wherewithal to evolve within the organization.

Gain access to the full report to view:

  • An overview of the Hype Cycle
  • Priority matrix for education
  • What is on the rise for education applications
  • Which applications are at their peak
  • Gartner recommended


*Gartner, Hype Cycle for Education, 2019, 29 July 2019, Kelly Calhoun Williams, Robert Yanckello

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

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