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That whole “content is dead thing” isn’t true. Globalization reigns

Some interesting developments with regard to content:

Blackboard partners with McGraw Hill: “Well, It represents the deepest integration of publisher content within a learning management system to date. Faculty can get single sign-on access to a comprehensive teaching and learning platform that will keep their students actively engaged with high quality, media-rich content. With video, labeling activities and eTexts, homework will be fun and students will be more successful.”

Pearson buys TutorVista: “TutorVista operates in four areas providing technology and content to private and government schools, online tutoring to more than 10,000 students per month, a network of 60 centres across India delivering tuition courses and a full schools development service.”

The acquisition is small, but Pearson is *the* company to watch in the education space currently (see their intent to offer degrees).

Education is in the process of being globalized, as is evident through integration of various service provided by big companies (content, LMS, synchronous classrooms, testing/evaluation). While we’re tinkering away with “web 2.0″ and social media, power within education is increasingly being consolidated and models for content roll out and delivery are being scaled up – streamlining production and scaling systems to gain economic advantage reflect the global aspirations of education companies. Fairly soon, the system will require small colleges and universities to partner with the big content providers because they (colleges) simply cannot provide the technological infrastructure and content needed to attract students. Blackboard is developing end-to-end learning systems. As is Pearson.

The integration of publishers, teaching content (i.e. video lectures, tests, not only textbooks), LMS, synchronous classrooms, and evaluation (see Knewton) is the most significant trend in education today. The financial crisis is assisting in a move in this direction. It’s a huge opportunity for some. A nightmare for others.


  1. Jacques C. wrote:

    And let’s not forget student information systems (SIS’s) in this equation. Pearson just recently bought out AAL…

    Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Permalink
  2. LeahGrrl wrote:

    I have given your post today to several people at the company I currently work for–a small educational publisher that is not yet asking itself where it will be in five years if it does not break out of the textbook mold. I see the tsunami in the distance; they don’t, for some reason. Well after they are underwater they may wonder what happened. The smaller publishers simply don’t have the resources/resourcefulness to figure out new ways of delivering content.

    Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Permalink
  3. Tony Searl wrote:

    So I wonder does this hasten individual empowerment to deinstitutionalise from traditional providers?

    Or will these emerging one stop scaled, global, content silos also become credential providers, using business principles, working co-operatively with independent national graduation standards ombudsmen?

    Economies of this scale will certainly attract interest from both developed nations with diminishing government education budgets and emerging nations seeking virtual/online/affordable tertiary providers.

    Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Permalink
  4. Alex P. Real wrote:

    This is a fairly logical move by giantic Pearson, coherent with their acquisition of Edexcel, part of their US operation as well as the agreement with GMAC to develop the Academic Pearson Test of English. If I recall correctly (?) they had already acquired a small online degree biz circa 2007. The attempt at global solutions & economies of scale seems to make sense, a different issue may lie with quality and market reactions.

    I don’t think it’s just about resources but rather creativity and fear of innovation; now a buzzword but little tangible in practical terms. The main (obvious) drawback with OER is that decentralization might lead to slow agreement/movement & difficulty to achieve & abide by quality standards as a whole, but difficult does not equate to impossible.

    Monday, January 31, 2011 at 5:57 am | Permalink