Top 2020 Trends for Digital Transformation in Education

Digital transformation has been disrupting — and improving — the productivity of organizations across all sectors of industry for years now.

Until recently, progress toward this kind of transformation has been slow in the education sector, with inconsistent practices, tight budgets, and lack of a unified plan among the most glaring reasons for the delay.

Digital Transformation in Education Championed by U.S. Department of Education

Recently the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) has taken measures to mitigate those hindering factors by creating a National Education Technology Plan. This comprehensive roadmap is designed to provide high-quality learning experiences to students across the country using technology.

The plan focuses on:

  • Teaching using technology
  • Learning through technology
  • Leadership to create a transformative culture
  • Assessment of transformative tools and processes
  • An infrastructure that enables access and use of technology

Adhering to and monitoring these factors will help educators and administrators tap into the potential for significant value offered by the kind of adaptive learning fostered by a technology-based approach to education.

With the DOE leading the way, trends in digital transformation in education for 2020 include a variety of tools and touchpoints, from mechanical and software technologies to the application of data for improved learning experiences.

1. The Internet of Things (IoT)

One impactful way digital trends in education are reformulating the way students learn is through adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT). Mobile technology, including smartphones, tablets, and other connected devices provide many benefits, including improving learning outcomes and increased campus safety.

Cloud-connected devices help professors tap into which students need more personal attention and make the teaching process more productive. Connectivity allows students to make schedules and conduct research on-the-fly, which can improve task completion times as well as reduce the need for on-site equipment.

Textbooks in a digital format reduce cost, storage implications, and inconvenience associated with hard copies.

Finally, student safety is enhanced as campuses can broadcast important information instantly to students in the case of an emergency.

2.  Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented reality (AR) is paramount in helping students process and recall complex subjects for a deep learning experience. Using AR, students can “dissect” a frog without the mess, sanitation concerns, or squeamishness.

Studies have shown that using AR in the classroom contributes to deeper content understanding, information retention, improved collaboration, and increased student motivation

When used for STEM subjects, AR not only provides an accessible, engaging learning experience, but it helps reduce the need for physical equipment and lab supplies, saving both students and educational organizations money.

3. Cybersecurity

Among 17 industries studied, the education sector ranked as the least secure, with the highest vulnerabilities being present in application security, endpoint security, and keeping software up to date on a regular basis

This area of digital transformation in education is most likely the one where educators face the largest hurdles.

Not only do schools process and store sensitive private information that must be kept secure, they also struggle with educating users on security, determining access management strategies, securing multiple personal devices, and finding and training staff responsible for an overall security plan.

4. Personalized Learning

Personalized or blended or adaptive learning lets students control elements of their learning experience for a richer—and more productive—education. Students can set the pace of their learning and control learning aesthetics.

With adaptive learning, students can choose to learn material in a way that is most effective for their learning style—flashcards, gamification, videos, adaptive spaced repetition, and more.

5. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data

Our final trend shows education organizations focusing closely on individual students through the collection of data and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to target at-risk students.

With the advent of voice-to-text recognition, machines can be used to tutor students to relieve the burden on teaching staff and provide the student assistance at their convenience.

Additionally, an AI grading program removes the possibility of partiality from performance assessments, and a combination of data and AI can successful match students with teachers that fit their learning styles.

Implementation of AI and use of big data, however, should be coupled with a strong ethical framework.


  • Until recently, progress toward digital transformation has been slow in the education sector
  • The new Department of Education plan will assist educational organizations in establishing a map for transformation.
  • The top trends in 2020 include Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, augmented reality (AR), cybersecurity, personalized learning, and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and big data

Thinking it’s time to talk to someone about your company’s IT? Reach out to Impact’s Managed IT team and speak to one of our experts today!