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May 30, 2013


Pearson betting the house on digital

pearson-logo-fallon.jpg"ELT Jam reports on the ongoing shakeup at the major publishing house Pearson under CEO John Fallon.

Details continue to emerge about Pearson’s massive restructure and what it might mean for ELT. The consistent theme is a relentless focus on digital at the expense of all else. Basically, Pearson believe they know where the education market is going and are willing to bet everything on it, even though their current customers aren’t really there yet. But then, according to what follows, maybe that’s not a concern.

If you’ve missed the hype so far, the world’s biggest education publisher is spending £150m on a total restructure which involves an immediate move to digital learning, a focus on emerging markets, and a transformation from publisher to education services provider. If the English language learning market is worth $4billion a year, then Pearson still only have a very small chunk of it. And if you’re a company as successful and ambitious as Pearson, that just isn’t good enough – so a change of direction is needed. In order to deliver this change, the company have recently announced their new senior management team.

Read the full story from ELT Jam.

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A very interesting story but the words "baby" and "bathwater"come immediately to mind. Yes things probably needed to change at Pearson just like in other publishers. And yes Digital publishing is here to stay. But then in all things digital agility and flexibility are as important as tech savviness and competence in publishing and I can't quite see Tanker Pearson manging to pull this off. The other thing that would be concerning me is the emphasis on "emerging markets" Not sure if Brazil qualifies in this regard (which is where I live) but a major group of language schools here has just ditched all their interactive whiteboards as neither teachers nor students like them, internet access is iffy outside major cities and students say if they can get it on line they don't need to pay for an English course.
Of course Pearson has a lot more to it than ELT but it does seem like a rather abrupt end to a very prestigious ELT publishing division. I hope I am wrong.

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