Tuesday 16 June 2015

What is involved in providing learning solutions?

Fiona Done, Pearson Education
The publisher panel at the Personalised Learning and Publishing Partnerships seminar included three companies with three different stories to tell on providing learning solutions for HE.

Fiona Done, Learning Solutions Manager at Pearson Education, reflected on students entering tertiary education with much higher expectations of value and institution who are focusing on effective learner engagement to improve National Student Survey scores, recruitment and retention.

Pearson as a publisher is focusing more on how to work with institutions, libraries and learners so they are more effective learners. They are delivering learning to over 43,000 students using content that has been commissioned to be more digital and flexible. Their focus is now on working with the institution and the learner to come up with a personalised model with course materials whose effectiveness can be measured.

The student in 2015 is a different type of person to previous years. They are a consumer with a level of expectation of what education should deliver for them. They expect digital content that is mobile and accessible any time. Personalised learning materials are matched exactly to course content and the efficacy is measured on the individual's learning. Challenges for HE institutions include getting engaging and valuable content into the hands of students, understand where and how to source content they need, move from print to blended learning, and support required.

Kiren Shoman, Executive Director for Editorial at SAGE, outlined how they have recently developed and launched a new track in their programme: SAGE Video. She explained how three subject collections were developed with original and licensed video content.

Kiren Shoman, SAGE
Why video? It's responding to developments in higher education. The market demands it with changing student expectations. There's a strategic fit with the area they call 'publishing as you don't know it' and adding value on their existing expertise.

Video can provide a different perspective. It can help reclaim lapsed attention, illustrate a point, change the dynamic in a lecture. It can be used to illustrate a point, instruct on practical skills and inspire curiosity. It can also encourage more reading and instruct on practical skills. They built up a series of student use cases which showed they needed to engage in a multitude of different levels.

Every year on Facebook, in just one day, there are 500 years worth of YouTube videos being watched. 

They found 79% of students voluntarily watch videos to enhance their understanding of a topic. Their preferred video length range from 5 to twenty minutes. Students are hesitant to use library video resources for fear they could be outdated.

They focused on quality, content and discoverability (they use DOIs on all their video content). Their product proposition is quality over quantity. Less is more. They support reference, research and pedagogical needs. Developed with author, editor and society networks. Resulted in launch of Counselling & Psychotherapy, Education and Media & Communication collections. Plan to launch 2016 Collections in six other core areas in 2016. Their content value is around expertise of SAGE, curricula matching, pedagogical focus, stability and a global view.

Their content strategy was two pronged. Part 1: work with authors and academic societies. Part 2: partner with the right content providers such as TV sector. They have branded original production including shorts, expert interviews, lectures, cases, tutor and in practice.

The platform has focused on user needs. They have social sharing tools, embedding and favourites that can all help you build up your own profile. They have speed tools to adapt to different viewer pace. So far, the feedback has been good. Any learning will be fed into the next few collections. You can view the short promotional video here.

Tom Spicer, Springer
Finally, Tom Spicer, Senior Editor at Springer, discussed how they have worked to support Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) instructors, book authors registered students, institutions and societies by offering a tailored approach.

MOOCs offer a mass and unlimited participation online learning and teaching environment. They can include traditional course material, videos, problem sets, readings, assessment and interactive user forums. the core principle is that it is freely available. Typically you pay at the end if you want to get a certificate.

Why do a MOOC? For a university, it is primarily about promotion as a home of exceptional teaching in order to increase the number of international on-campus students. It also helps develop new forms of teaching and learning. It can also generate data for research in education and assist with international networking.

The challenges are financial: costs are significant and there isn't really any business model. There's an accreditation problem, course completion rates are very low (typically less than 10%) as well as student authentication and logistics. MOOCs have a checkered history. They have a sometimes justifiable credibility issue. However, that is changing. There are now several hundred serious UG/PG MOOCs being offered.

Springer has been testing the water in several ways, one of which is by providing MOOC organisers with an access controlled URL that leads to the selected ebook. They have seen an increase in sales as a result spread across the period of the MOOC. They set up a reciprocal agreement with the institution and see MOOCs as potential new markets for existing products, but also as a source of new textbook content and new learning and teaching models.

Springer in Germany has piloted enhanced ebooks for MOOCs and Springer Spektrum has piloted distance learning courses. Springer Healthcare are delivering 'corporate' MOOCs which include smaller sets of content for communities in the field.

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