Education Giant Pearson Adapts To Digital Learning
Pearson, the world's largest educational publisher, recognized older students as online learning harbinger.
8 MOOCs Transforming Education
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Schools aren't the only ones grappling with big questions about online learning, flipped classrooms, assessment analytics and open-source alternatives to commercial products. Traditional publishers are making changes, too.
Pearson, the world's largest education publisher, was early to embrace the digital future, according to observers. The company says more than half of its revenues last year came from digital products and service.
Pearson is composed of its global education group of Pearson International, Pearson North America, and Professional; the Financial Times Group, publisher of the Financial Times newspaper and other specialty editorial and research products; and the Penguin Group, an international consumer publisher. Penguin is being merged with Bertelsmann's Random House to create the world's biggest trade book publisher, Penguin Random House, under a joint venture.
"We've organized internally around three A's -- achievement, access and affordability," Todd Hitchcock, senior VP of online solutions and business development at Pearson, told InformationWeek in a phone interview.
The three A's reflect Pearson's predictions about the market, based on its own research over the last three or four years, he said. Among other things, Pearson saw a changing student profile, especially in higher education, where the average age is now 38.
"The demographic changing," Hitchcock said. "[They] need flexibility … so access becomes more online and blended." Similarly, although Hitchcock isn't sure that massive open online courses (MOOCs) will transform education, they have had the effect of "shining a light on online learning, access and affordability models," he said.
Then again, a technology itself can sometimes spark change.
Take Pearson's eText platform, a database of grade-specific educational content. eText was honored as InformationWeek's "Best Emerging Technology: Enterprise Mobility" last September. eText is now being developed as an overall solution for students, Hitchcock said, adding, "It's an opportunity to rethink the whole ecosystem for the learning."
Pearson isn't alone in noting shifts in the education market. A 2012 Babson Survey of online learning revealed that over 6.7 million students were taking at least one online course during the 2011 fall term, an increase of 570,000 students over the previous year. Based on responses from over 2,800 academic leaders, the survey, "Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States," also found that online learning was critical to the long-term strategies of 69% of chief academic leaders.
Google in the Enterprise SurveyThere's no doubt Google has made headway into businesses: Just 28 percent discourage or ban use of its productivity ≠products, and 69 percent cite Google Apps' good or excellent ≠mobility. But progress could still stall: 59 percent of nonusers ≠distrust the security of Google's cloud. Its data privacy is an open question, and 37 percent worry about integration.
CIOs Get Smart About BIITís tried for years to simplify business intelligence efforts. Have visual analysis tools and Hadoop and NoSQL databases helped? Respondents to our 2014 InformationWeek Analytics, Business Intelligence, and Information Management Survey have a mixed outlook.
InformationWeek Must Reads Oct. 21, 2014InformationWeek's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of digital strategy. Learn why you should learn to embrace DevOps, how to avoid roadblocks for digital projects, what the five steps to API management are, and more.