The Higher Education industry is going through massive adoption of online education. This conversation highlights the trends, as well as areas where Pearson is looking for partners.
Sramana Mitra: Todd, let’s start with introducing our audience to yourself as well as to the Pearson Embanet unit so that we have some context set for the conversation.
Todd Hitchcock: Thank you very much for taking the time to meet with us today. I’m Todd Hitchcock and I currently manage our managed-program business at Pearson Embanet. I’ve been in education since 1990. I’ve been an educator myself and have run online programs. I came to Pearson just over six years ago to essentially build out our online learning strategy. Prior to managing our Pearson Embanet business, I was responsible for our US Higher Education online learning strategy and our content and courseware.
Pearson Embanet is a part of the North American Services business. We focus specifically on working with partners in different segments that are looking to take their programs online and to grow them rapidly. We consider ourselves as a comprehensive provider providing a range of services. I can talk about those services individually but maybe before I do, it would be probably good for me to share with you a bit about our partners.
Sramana Mitra: I’d like to understand a bit of the big picture before we double-click. Our understanding is that Pearson, historically, has a very large publishing business. It sounds like Pearson Embanet is a subset of that business. Can you talk a little about what’s happening at Pearson and how is the re-organization and strategic direction overall?
Todd Hitchcock: That’s a great place to start. Just over a year ago, we started to accelerate as a global company on this entire restructuring that you talked about. There’re a couple of key components to it. One is our overall global strategy and what we’re calling our pathway to efficacy. The other is essentially our regional or geographic strategy. The way that works is we’re focusing the company on a few key areas – anything that really cuts across education globally. Let’s say that we’re working on adaptive learning technologies or on ways that we can build technologies and solutions that provide a personalized learning experience. Those are types of things that really cut across the entire globe. They will be as valuable in India, South Africa, and China as they will be in North America. So we’ve teams of people focusing on our global strategy and those solutions that are really going to travel across the globe.
If you start to think about our geographies, we’re taking two things. Number one is we’re taking all of those products and services from digital content, adaptive learning, and tutoring services and localizing and making them really sharp, specific, and focused for that specific geography. In North America in general, if you look at online learning as an industry, it is relatively far ahead from many of the other geographies. Some of the things that we are doing here will be generally used as best practices. We start to help other parts of the region in the world as they start to move forward and move in to areas like online learning.