Symposium⨂ EdTech "Keys to the Future" featured Macmillan Learning, DAISY Consortium, and edX

Symposium⨂ EdTech

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Hello everyone I m Rachel Yager Head  of WebInnovationX global think tank   and the W3C New York Metro Chapter Welcome  to EdTechX Innovation Week today is Wednesday   October 6th 2021 and we are having SymposiumX  which is basically a gathering of the industry   leaders in talking about how we are building  the next generation of emerging technologies and   standards for business innovation I invited three  industry leaders to share the innovation strategy   starting with Lee Rubenstein and Lee is from at  VP of business development and Paul Belfanti VP   product, content systems from Macmillan learning  and George Kerscher CIO of Daisy Consortium so   let me explain the format how we're going to do  this one and a half session it's a very exciting   session as you as you can see in front of you  we have truly leaders in what it takes to build   education technologies and what are the keys to  the future as we look towards 2022 and beyond   let me talk about how we're going to spend one and  a half hours first each speaker will be presenting   their thoughts about innovation strategy and about  15 minutes and the and about and the audience can   you can click on the Q&A in the attendee hub to  ask any questions that you may have and after that   at about 12 noon eastern time we will be coming  back together all the all the other featured   speakers will be coming back together and we will  be having some panel discussion so stay tuned stay   tight at your seat and let us let stay through  the one and half hour and it's going to be very   exciting thank you now I m going to turn to Lee  and I m going to stop sharing my screen yeah   Great okay hang on one second and here  we go thank you Rachel I assume you can   see my screen and the audience can as well  yes we can see yesterday terrific thank you   well it's a pleasure to be with everybody today  here I am a VP of business development at edX and   make sure I try to figure out how we can  make the slides move and me there we go   it's very important for everyone to understand  that at edX we started with a goal of making   access to the world's top courses from the world's  best universities available to anyone on the   planet that wanted to take them and we did this  back in 2012 we started with one course from MIT   by edX's founder Anant Agarwal and at that time  we figured if we could get 5 000 people to sign   online for one of these brand new mooc  courses massive open online courses it   would be successful enough for us to invest  behind and continue to do more as a nonprofit   and interestingly enough after the first 48  hours or so we had 125 000 people register   for the course and about 175 000 register  over two weeks before the course started   so we knew we were on to something this  was a brand new way for us to think about   reaching the masses with access to education that  they would not normally have an opportunity to get   and so we quickly expanded our vision and the  vision was to create a world where everybody   interested in learning would have an opportunity  to come online and go do that they could   learn for free or they could learn and get a  certificate from the university or institution   that they were interested in getting it from  on edX and ultimately while we started with   MIT and Harvard we soon had over 160 different  partners creating courses on edX and what was   very interesting is that we started off  with a mandate to only use universities   but over a couple of years we expanded the idea  to include courses that would come from people   that were like-minded institutions that were  corporations and NGOs maybe it was the world bank   or the IMF or in this case IBM and one of the very  first to join was the world wide web consortium   and the W3C was an amazing innovator at that time  in helping us create courses that they ran on the   edX platform for literally hundreds of thousands  of learners that wanted to take them because   those learners were interested in how do I get  the skills I need to be relevant in the job market   or in the job I have today it opened our eyes  because some of us have had a 40-year experience   developing online learning or learning through  or training for corporations that were delivered   across many different mediums some of them more  successful than others all of them expensive   time consuming and hard to distribute and here  we were in a whole new world order to do that   and so I tell you this by means of background  as we begin to have a conversation today about   what we ve learned over that time and what has  the impact of cove had been and how much has   the industry changed how much has the mindset of  employers changed and learners and employees and   those that aspire to create better lives for  themselves have changed in the access points   that they're using in order to get there and  what does that mean in terms of the technology   so in order to understand the situation I  think it helps to tell you a little bit about   edX for a second in terms of the numbers and what  the data is right now edX has over 30 million   registered learners on the platform they're  taking over 110 million courses actually since   we last put this slide together it's 140 million  course enrollments there are about 3 600 courses   there are 160 some partners and out of those  people that have come and take courses and just   looked and browsed for free or have decided that  they wanted to register for a nominal fee for the   certificate we ve issued 2.1 million certificates  to date for courses completed if you could imagine   what would happen in a university classroom it  would literally take you centuries to reach that   many people as an individual contributor so we ve  got top institutions and the learners have decided   that they wanted to get more than single courses  their feedback was very immediate and they said   I am looking to build a skill or competency why  we didn't care at that point but what we did know   is that the learners wanted to go beyond a single  course it was more than curiosity they wanted to   use technology in order to develop a competency  so we structured the competence the courses into   series or sequences that one could take in order  to build a competency the very first one was   called a micro masters the micro masters came from  MIT it was their idea supply chain is something   they were very famous for everybody was looking  to hire people with supply chain experience   people wanted to migrate up the food chain from I  m just an administrator too I would like to be in   supply chain it pays better there's openings at  my company and so they created something called   a micro masters the micro masters was 50 of the  master's degree at MIT but no application fee just   come and take it you take the micro masters it was  a series of four courses and you pass it you would   get something that was a certificate that was  backed by credit what did that mean it meant that   if you applied to MIT they would give you 50 off  the time and the cost of getting a supply chain   master's degree on campus and so it was a flag and  one of the first flags I think to the corporate   environment that if MIT stood behind this and  thought it was worth 50 of a master's degree I   can be pretty confident that the people that are  taking these courses are going to have the skills   that they would need to be successful there that  makes them an elite class first of all they showed   they had the grit and rigor to find something like  edX to find this type of learning to be persistent   and to complete it and to pass it because it's  an MIT hard master's degree a sea change started   to happen at that point and one of the sea changes  was employers began to think about the traditional   ways they would typically interview and hire  for positions and begin to assume that maybe   there were alternatives coming to the forefront  that would change the way they looked at hiring   and promotion forever but it's a slow journey  the next series was what do you do if there's   a series of courses and they're not from schools  that don't have master's degrees those were called   professional certificate programs IBM Linux World  Wide Web Consortium others have all put together   professional certificate programs and then finally  micro bachelors which is our newest which is I   would like to create courses that one could get  for credit with no application fees at a low cost   that would issue a transcript immediately from  the edX universities who were making courses for   adults that had no college or some college no  degree that needed the skills to get entry level   or middle skilled jobs in the most high demand  areas today so you could be a barista but if you   wanted to get into cloud computing or IT services  or data science you could take these series of   three and four courses in order to move forwards  and do that so sorry went wrong pretty cool   now things were progressing and I think everything  that we were doing every day was building towards   what could potentially be a really different way  for people to imagine their careers and education   we also thought about the idea of a four-year  university and we're talking about technology   now so with a audience that is now entering  college that was born with a mobile device   in their hand the idea of a four-year university  is really a 250 year old construct that doesn't   necessarily match the world we live in today  think of all the people that could get the   education they need without having to leave home  or to go to campus or to pay that tremendous cost   and there's lots of reasons for them to  not do that they could now participate   in this great new economy as we entered the  21st century so what happened with coven kind   of interesting a super double whammy the first  thing was all of the schools had to go to remote   so did the workplace and they had very little  in terms of tools that they could use in order   to continue education or to continue training and  they found edX so in one month in April of 2020 we   had five million new registrations on the platform  that was more registrations in one month than we   did in an entire year so the audience found us  and we have very little money to advertise so   it's not about the advertising it's about  the technology and then when they came and   had the experience they found that they were in  a multi-dimensional adaptive learning world where   they would have an interleaved learning sequence  that included video but it would also include   readings to include included discussion forums  40 different assessment types not your granddad's   old timey online education their open  response assessments and labs and tools and   coding sandboxes really fascinating how many  people especially when we started looking and   they were unemployed were coming and looking for  a new normal for themselves so we saw an uptick in   learners that way it was time to begin to survey  the learners and have a discussion with them   about why they were doing what they were doing  it's very interesting when you have a platform   and you're capturing every keystroke and you're  analyzing it to spend some time thinking about why   people are doing what they're doing versus exactly  what they're doing than trying to interpret that   yourselves so we surveyed literally millions of  learners in order to figure out what was going on   and this is what we saw initially from that and  I wanted to share with you because I think it s   understanding the marketplace itself that drives  the ability to create technical change that's   going to serve an audience that's already there  too many times we invest in tools and research   and solutions that don't necessarily match with  what your audience is looking for in the first   place so who took what and why 25 of the people  were taking it because they wanted to up skill in   their current job why did they want to do that  well we ve all heard a lot of the conversation   about how many of jobs are going to be eliminated  due to AI and robotics over the next five to six   years and I think that there was some interest in  inoculating themselves against being swept away in   jobs that were going to no longer be required in  modern work but there was another side to it too   and that was that if I don't maintain my relevancy  with the speed of technological change and the   information that's available then somebody's going  to leapfrog over me and they're going to get those   skills and they're going to not have to go to a  university and do it they'll be able to get them   online and then they're going to be able to apply  them to this job and I won't be relevant anymore   and so for those of us that thought school  started and ended with our four-year degree   because that's the way it was for decades  and decades especially for my generation   then I think all of us have started  to realize we need to become lifelong   learners in order to maintain a relevancy  but where can we go to get that so this   the mooc platforms and the online learning not  just from edX but from many different providers   are a solution to that some of them just had  more time okay and then the 16 of them were   replacing schools so that was interesting but as  we dug deeper into this over the last 12 months   one of the things we found from them was  that we had a massive number of employees   coming to the platform and 50 of them  were indicating they needed new skills   and they were remote and there was no one to tell  them what to do where to go what they should take   and I think that we ve had a we ve uncovered a  great hole in our employment and management system   and our hr systems of not necessarily knowing  where the skills gaps were and being able to point   our employees at the skills gaps in saying here's  the solutions that you could undertake on your own   in order to fill that gap and then you would  be really super important to our organization   70 of the CEOs were telling us they were concerned  about the availability of key skills at all   this this ended up being part of a conversation  about why we should think about reinventing higher   education in other words you're paying a lot of  money to take a four-year education and carrying   a lot of debt and coming to my company but you  don't have the skills you need to frankly be   very relevant or hit the ground running and so  you're not worth the money that we would need   to pay you in order to help you sublimate the  debt that you took on where to get that degree   so that's kind of a big deal certainly it's a big  deal in the student population a very big deal for   those that decided college wasn't for them but now  that they've been in the workforce for a couple of   years for whatever life circumstances were have  decided that I wish I had made other choices but   there's no possible way I can leave my house my  home my family and my current job to go live on   campus somewhere with a bunch of rising freshmen  interestingly 77 of employees were willing to   retrain but one of the things that became  clear to us and that they indicated was that   if an employer was going to offer the opportunity  and subsidize the cost of that retraining then it   was going to act as an anchor to keep them in the  jobs they were in or at the company they were in   and there was a notoriety that had developed  around especially millennials staying about two   two and a half years at a job before they wanted  to move on and find something more challenging   we were unlocking what one of the challenges  was and we were doing it kind of during covid   by finding out how fast and how quickly they were  migrating to take these courses and at that point   70 percent of the students that are on FedEx  that we saw either had a college degree or a   postgrad degree so clearly they were thinking  hard about what it is they should do and how   they should do it but more importantly we were  thinking about the other 70 of people that didn't   have college degrees what they should do and how  they should go about and do it so as we look at   where learners are today we see there's a demand  for future proof programs this is what they're   signing up for data science computer science  sustainability business and leadership courses   and I could tell you with I think some authority  that we saw a great difference between what they   enrolled in prior to covet and what they enrolled  in postcode health and safety became number one   obviously there were reasons around the world  that people would want to take courses on how   to use a ventilator 250 000 people signed up in  one day for a ventilator course that Harvard put   on edX that they offered for free so a little bit  of an anomaly in terms of what people want to take   but interestingly while the seven years before  had seen a focus on technical skills all of a   sudden the leaders in the companies that were  doing the hiring started talking about the fact   that they would like to have people that also had  leadership social skills soft skills which is what   they call them we ve called them human skills and  power skills and the conversations that we ve had   I love power skills as a term because it really is  about how you can take the ideas that you've got   and work to develop and move the company and the  business forward it's not just about what you know   technically so pre-2020 this was the world as we  saw it a hundred percent on campus zero percent   online and then as you look at the new normal  this is what we're going to see now we went to 100   online zero percent on campus and so our  prediction going forward is that the new   normal will be 60 on campus 40 online that's that  extends into the corporate training world as well   so in the corporate training world while many  trainings may have taken place in person less   and less will and there's more and more outreach  to be able to get the skills that you need   by going to outside resources that match the  learning pathways and the skills taxonomies that   have been developed in the industry LinkedIn  has just done edX and as has adopted mz and   burning glasses 36 000 skills tagged to every  single course in the platform and there's a   great new way to find out what it is you need to  know and how you want to get there to go do it   so people generally are upskilling for career  mobility that's where the technical opportunity is   and when you do that you have to see what's  trending what we can do with 110 million courses   being taken is tell you what's trending it's  critical thinking and problem solving people are   trying to cope with remote work we shouldn't  think about this as something that people   naturally do it takes a different skill set to  be self-sustaining and persistent in taking and   completing a course even if there's a community  around you and they want in-demand skills that are   going to be transportable as they move from place  to place so interestingly what did those people do   over the last year 91 of them reported they took  the courses and they had a positive career outcome   79 of them complete courses why is that important  at a state university level the completion rate   runs between 61 and 63 on average and if you  were to look at a mooc platform and see how many   people were taking courses they didn't take them  necessarily in order to complete them but business   learners did and 79 is a shockingly high number  and it really speaks to I think the motivation   of the people that are involved there so they're  taking multiple courses they're taking courses   that will take them to where they want to go  and I think the fact that they now seem to be   taking about two and a third courses over a  year indicates that there's a pattern there   so what do we have to do in terms of innovation  the first one is education has to be modular think   about a course as a number of modules that  are stackable that get you to an end result   that you want versus something that may have been  prescribed previously if you sat in the classroom   it also needs to be omni-channel so it's great  that we have online but hybrid is probably the   best answer and I m speaking more to corporates  than I at I am to schools that there are some in   person learning and there is some online learning  and it's going to be lifelong there's no reason   that people are going to stop or need to stop  or should stop especially when we ve got a pace   of change that's so fast when learners take and  complete a course on edX they get a certificate   and if it's a Harvard course they get it from  Harvard it's built into the system they're now   using this as the coin of the realm it's very  important for people to understand it every   learner that takes a course and gets a certificate  is posting it to their profile they're posting it   to their social media site they're sending it  to their employer and there's a new trend which   I think is critically important for us to also  be aware of is something that I ve noticed over   the last few months and this is where employers  have started to call companies like edX at scale   and say I need to hire thousands of people I would  like to mine the learners that have certificates   in certain areas maybe it's java maybe it's cloud  maybe it's something in business and finance data   analytics is a popular one imagine just imagine  a world where all of a sudden employers are not   running ads online looking for people who have  four-year degrees but say I would like to find   people that have just this credential it's fine  and one of the things that we're looking to do   I think as we move to the future is to think  about how we can get employers to run the test   that would say I hired this person it cost me far  less I had far more candidates they carried less   debt when I compared their performance to those  that we hired through more traditional means   which includes recruiters and paying commissions  etc. we found that these people performed   equally well if not better than people that we  traditionally brought in and by the way a lot   of these people that are reorganizing their lives  or their careers for their working moms or their   returning to the workforce they're willing  to work generally for a lot less money than   a smaller portfolio of candidates that may have  four-year degrees that show up whose resumes end   up in the stack for evaluation so there's benefits  on both sides it's a huge uplift from a low-paying   hourly job great career great future build your  community provide economic security to your family   provide variance and diversity in the workforce  and I can't tell you a single company that isn't   being held accountable by their shareholders  for what they're doing in diversity equity and   inclusion in these days going forward and this is  a way that companies can bring more people into   the fold which only betters the world situation  the other interesting thing about technology for   global companies in this type of learning is that  it doesn't matter if I don't know anything about   the schools that you have available to you in  argentina or in india or in canada or in the us   if you've all taken and passed the same rigorous  courses from the same top 200 world-ranked   universities I know that you have a sense of the  skills that we are probably going to need to have   in our company that you've acquired on your own  for a very low cost and I think that that helps   us think about people in a different way than we  did before depending on where they came from what   school they went to this is the school for the  future for all of us and these were these skills   pathways are ones that we see as the most popular  so some of you may be more interested in that   tomorrow's workforce they're looking for  these courses I m not going to spend a lot   of time on that now because I m running a little  short but I wanted you to be aware that these   exist and this is the future of work and learning  we think this is here to stay it's blended   there will be continuous upskilling in alternative  pathways I think the new normal is a good thing I   hope that you think it's a good thing technology  and the open source code that we ve put out as   well as what others will be doing will greatly  enhance the future and I thank you so much for   letting me have some time with you and  with that I ll stop sharing my screen   Thank you Lee first I just want to recognize and  what an honor we have today to have you your true   veteran of the mooc this business model and for  so many years that we are seeing it evolving until   like today you know like boom you know with  that pandemic you know and this explosion and   so one of the question is that how do you see  mooc evolve what's your what's your take on   it you know what's your what's your sentiments or  even your thinking your own personal feeling like   you see this right from you know in the beginning  in Harvard and MIT I can only imagine maybe you   start with a small little room or lab to think  about all this planning and then now this is it   right and there's a lot of skeptics and also a lot  of people naysayer right you know and also caution   from the education institution but now today how  do you see this evolve during all these years   Lee can you mute or unmute yourself yes sorry  I think there was a lot of hesitation in the   beginning about this in mooc v1 where it was  here to replace professors and they were going   to lose their jobs and then we got to v2 and now  we're in I d say v3 of this here's what's to come   first all schools are going to adapt some type of  online learning that is going to involve something   similar to moocs and it's going to start in grade  school there is no way that we can train enough   teachers and educators on the most high demand  emerging topics like coding that could even work   at an elementary school level so this is something  students are going to start to experience now   and through life they're going to continue to  use that and when they get to college they will   no longer be subjected into this is your major you  cannot take courses in the school of engineering   if you're in the school of business if you're in  the school of ex you will form your own curriculum   the second thing that I think is going to happen  is we're tied up in this concept of courses right   now today but down the road think about it as  being very adaptive where I go this is what I   need to learn I need a module from this course  and a module from that course the module from   this course I m creating my own pathway based  on the skills tagging that I m trying to get   and I don't have to sit through 10 hours of  course where if I have 10 hours of things I   want from different courses to make the perfect  opportunity for me to learn I think you'll see a   lot more in adaptive that way and I think that  you'll see the ability for people to create   cohorts on the go so right now putting  together a cohort in a course is possible   we do it all the time there's an expense involved  with that but if I wanted to form a cohort as a   company I could do that if I wanted to take four  or five people and say this is our particular   area of interest and we want to have a discussion  forum that's all our own because we're developing   new transformational code in other products  I think that that's going to be something   that's very realistic to expect and to  see that over the next five years or so   another question from audience is how did  you cope with this rapid growth during this   pandemic you know like was there any surprises  you know challenges that you can share   the cool thing about this platform is that it was  built to scale so it was only a matter of cost   of adding more servers in order to go do that we  already had 40 million people using the platform   at any given time so I think that we did not  suffer through a challenge like that if anything   the challenge has been in trying to employ  enough people to deal with the expansion   so we need to I like to say eat our own dog food  other people find that repulsive but there we   need to create our own curriculum of what it would  take to be a great engineer in our business make   it available and then hire the people with that  certificate I got to find the time to go do it   you tie in this notion about the mindset of the  employers in this whole equation right how do you   see that was it a surprise to you or that was  part of the business plan that you have all along   it was a surprise it was always part of  the dream that employers would recognize   that we were reinventing higher education as  educators and that the idea of a four-year   degree was an outmoded concept maybe you should  take one year on campus then a year an internship   and then do something whatever there's a lot  of different ways to look at it the fact that   they came to this realization so quickly as it  became harder and harder to find people to employ   was amazingly interesting and now they were using  it as a way to retain employees in jobs that the   employees didn't want in the first place which is  this is the most interesting there's two really   interesting things if I have a second I ll tell  you if you'll allow me to tell you about them the   first one was we know you don't want to be an  amazon truck driver but we need truck drivers   and if you'll join us we will subsidize the  courses online that you need in order to get   the job you want here or somewhere else if we  can get two years out of you instead of one and   a quarter that's a massive savings and major  retailers whether it's Walmart or Starbucks   or amazon have gone down this route and found  it to be successful and that it really works   the other thing that's really interesting as part  of the way to attract employees is that they say   if you're going to exit here then we are going to  provide you access to education that will allow   you to get the job you really want somewhere  else and it's not because they're letting them   go though in some cases it has been related to  that we have many corporations that have bought   millions of dollars worth of access for  learners who are departing employees   and it I think builds good will it provides them  with an opportunity never thought I d see that not   in a million years but it's happening so quickly  it's really I think one of the major goals we ve   got and that's to include people that don't have  college degrees or couldn't afford to go get them   so that they can enter the workforce if they've  got the grit desire time and opportunity to take   the courses and the topics that are interesting  to them that employers want to hire from   zip recruiters elsewhere in the world are also  running programs to figure out what you need on   your resume and refer them to online courses that  would allow you to make twenty thousand dollars   more if you had this certificate or credential  based on what they're being asked by employers   thank you lee this is really I don't think we can  get all this insights from anyone else from you   right right from you know you have  been there right from the beginning   so thank you so much can you can I now ask  Lee to stay and for the panel discussion   later Paul can you mute yourself and  share your camera and thank you Lee   for the presentation and now I m welcome  Paul Belfanti from Macmillan learning   Hi everyone can you see my screen okay yes okay  so I m Paul Belfanti I m VP products of content   systems for Macmillan learning and I m going  to be talking about the future trends in EdTech   from the perspective of an educational publisher  so a lot of these trends were already in   motion before covid but obviously covet really  accelerated them from a customer focus I mean of   course we're always looking to meet the customer  where they are but because of covid we really amp   that up there were a lot of instructors who may  not have actually adopted our digital products   maybe they were just using a print product  we offered our digital products to them got   with a you know significant human investment  from our specialists and our customer service   folks you know got them helped us to set up  their courses and do all that and as a result   not only did we generate some good will but coming  out of you know the intensity of the first wave   of the pandemic and that transition there are  a lot more instructors that are now comfortable   with technology or see the value of where it can  play in a in a blended course so we are focusing   on courseware of course and that means ease of  use in a large degree we want to be able to have   an intuitive way of creating a course  sometimes we'll provide a standard template   with a pre-built course that then the instructor  can modify or they can start from scratch but   in order to do that we got to make sure that  all the resources and content that we provide   are easy to find organized in an intuitive  way and that you know creating activities   assigning them creating your calendar syncing to  gradebook all that stuff is as straightforward   and as user-friendly as possible and of course we  got to enable customization we feel very strongly   about the quality of the content and the resources  that we provide in our courses but of course   instructors have their own good content  that they're going to want to incorporate   and there's third-party content that  they may want to integrate as well   and so to make that very possible very easy  to do is key to making the whole system work   and of course we want to prioritize student  engagement as well where we're having more   contact you know traditionally publishers went  through the gatekeeper of the instructor the   or the department to adopt products and the  student was just you know kind of a pass through   on the other side but we're engaging with students  directly more and more and we want to make sure   that we're creating an immersive experience that's  really engaging for them on a number of ways and   we ve got data that shows that when we do reach  the right level of engagement when students   are completing assignments and doing you know  the kind of activities that we ve designed   to optimize their learning experience their  grades improve and it also can be a real leveler   of you know for students that are coming into the  education system the higher education system for   the first time as opposed to you know traditional  students that have a a history in their families   and are well prepared for college the resources  in these courses can level that up it can close   those gaps in a meaningful way and because of  the data that we're able to collect from these   platforms we can create reports and insights  we can we can show the effectiveness of using   the courses and the materials we can show  performance data to instructors both on   an individual student level and a more  macro level and not just on the basis of   how students are doing around a particular  assignment or group of assignments but even   in a more macro level to around let's say all  assignments that are associated with a particular   learning objective and by doing so we can also  create recommendations when we see certain trends   coming back from that data we can point  instructors to resources within the course   they can help them close the gaps that are being  exposed by some of the data that we're seeing   and another you know key part is that commitment  to diversity equity and inclusion and I don't mean   in a gratuitous way I mean in a meaningful way  there's a real commitment that has to be made   to make sure that the content that students  are engaging with are reflective of the kind of   diversity that that exists in the in the student  population and that includes accessibility it's   an important aspect of it makes actually the  performance of online courses better for everyone   and of course you want to make sure that everyone  who wants to learn has the ability to learn   from a more internal facing focus it means that  we need to go about creating and delivering our   content and our products in a and our services  in a different way in a more holistic way   you know the tradition in a higher ed publishing  has been a pretty linear one you think in terms of   ink on paper you make a book you might digitize  that book into an eBook and then enhance it and   distribute it within the courseware etc. etc. but  that's not the way to really go about creating a   holistic experience so you want to create a  collaborative environment where the different   people contributors authors who are creating  instructional material assessment interactives   rich media all the different components can work  together can see what each other is doing can   communicate with each other so that it's being  built up in as a as a whole strategy not in this   kind of sequential handoff and I I ll do my part  you'll do your part and we ll stitch it together   down the line we want to be more agile and  innovative in our product development take a take   on a test and learn culture which means we want  to be able to put together a new idea package it   within our courseware environment and present  it to our customers get their feedback   rinse and repeat until we feel like we ve  got something that s going to be meaningful   and have traction in the market as opposed to  saying mocking something up in a PowerPoint or   a word document say this is what it's going to  look like when we get to the courseware that s not   a meaningful way to get feedback all this means  digital first approach right you want to center   around an online structured authoring environment  where there's that immediacy of content creation   where people can review comment make corrections  directly you can take a single source multi-output   approach meaning you have one source of truth that  can carry information for multiple outputs whether   it's print whether it's digital eBook etc. profile  different things you know have a have a static   image that's going to go into a print product  but maybe substitute that for a video if it's   going into digital and then you can filter those  things out to say if it's going to this target I   want this stuff and I don't want that stuff but  that common information that exists across all   the different permutations is in one place so  if you need to make a correction if you want to   update make a change you do it in one place and  you push it out to all the different permutations   continuous improvement is a key way to think of  the future where we might change our approach   to let's say the instructional content so we make  it so that it has a longer shelf life so to speak   where the information is more is less likely  to change over a period of time but then other   information that is more variable that we'll be  wanting to refresh is on the online component   so you can update it you can refresh it economic  data for example or health data covert is a great   example right if you had a print book that it  was published right before covid and you couldn't   revise it for another two or three years that  wasn't going to be a very relevant product pretty   quickly and we want to have that data driven  approach both internally as well as providing   those capabilities to our customers so as we're  thinking about how we want to improve our products   over time we want to know you know of the stuff  that we ve delivered how has it been received   what's been assigned by professors have students  completed the assignments how did they perform   on those assignments what do we need to look at  you know was it at the right level that we tagged   it for if people are interested in something  let's make more of that let's improve that if   nobody is paying any attention to something we  have to understand why and maybe do less of that   content management strategies and knowledge  management strategies I ll talk about a little   bit more later but again a different approach from  some of the traditions of the print legacy where   things were organized in files structures based  on individual titles or product families you need   to take a more generic approach so that things  can be discovered and related to each other so   that you can pull together new configurations  of things in in new structures and leveraging   new technologies like artificial intelligence  and natural language processing to automate some   content classification you know crawl your content  so you can map it to learning objectives or   subject taxonomy terms and so forth again to make  it more powerful to connect things and find and   use them so from a technology perspective we're  talking about digital transformation obviously and   this is an industry that that has been has a long  legacy of not being that digitally oriented even   though we ve been working in a digital format for  years but you need to think about much more of an   ecosystem approach systems as opposed to tools  there's a lot of components that that go into   what makes up the content creation systems  that were individual built for purpose tools   that had to operate on their own but then they  were part of something that you would then   hand off to somebody else to do their thing  etc. etc. now these things need to be much  

more connected if you want to have that holistic  collaborative experience that I was talking about   these things need to be integrated and as  a result you can find yourself with franken   systems where you have all these individual  components some built-in house some acquired   some partnered that are are kind of  bolted together now but because they   of the different architectures and structures and  so forth and the different ages of the software   there can be friction as content passes from  one part to another that can introduce errors   or delays and so forth so you need to take a  real look at what you've got and say you know   can we can we remediate some of these things  do we have to replace some of these things   how close can we get to you know kind of a common  architecture and code base where things can flow   as fluidly as possible and you really really need  to rethink your workflows everything I ve talked   about so far right you can't say that we're going  to produce new products and deliver them to our   customers and test and learn and be agile by using  the same workflows that we ve had traditionally   so and if you do introduce new technology  without redesigning those workflows you're   going to spend a lot of money on that technology  and you're not going to get anything from it   and you're going to wonder why you know you're  just not as productive or you're not as agile or   innovative as you intended to be well it's because  you didn't redesign the workflow to take advantage   of that technology and I ll talk about that a  little bit more in terms of how that workflow   design actually should drive a lot of the  decisions on how that technology is brought online   and recognize that as publishers you're in the  software business now income paper is not the   mindset that you should go in on it can still  be the output print is not going away anytime   soon but it it s one it's one component of that  larger ecosystem and experience and it's becoming   increasingly more of a secondary or complementary  component to you know a more holistic a more   rich experience that can be delivered in an  online course and you want to be able to have   that continuous improvement that I talked about  before you want to be able to be more efficient   and faster to market and just realize that the  same kind of practices in terms of standards in   terms of the ability to make changes so you don't  have to review everything a million times you know   can allow you to do things that that we didn't do  before the standards and best practices this is   all built on starts with I think the semantic  structures whether it's an xml or an xhtml   structure you want to define your content in terms  of what are its key elements how they fit together   what are the reading orders the sequences and  do all that independent of presentation right   they're style sheets they re cascading style  sheets for digital there's style sheets in in   design or whatever for prints that will take  care of that presentation layer but you want   to have a detailed breakdown and knowledge of  how your content is put together so that you can   manipulate it you can grab certain things you  can transform it in in innovative ways without   doing a lot of manual intervention I talked about  the holistic approach I won't cover that ground   again but the metadata factor is I think a really  key thing you need a knowledge management strategy   and you need a governance structure around that  and what I mean by that is you really need to take   the time to understand what is it that you want to  do with your content what does your customers want   to do either content how do they want to acquire  it how do they want to search for it how do they   want to organize it and therefore how do you want  to organize it how do you want to be able to find   it and connect it to other content that you've got  as you're planning and building and developing new   new products and as a result of that you define  content models that basically identify what are   the key essential elements of metadata that you  need to add to all your content and your assets   that help to discover it to help to connect it to  something else a lot of the systems that exist now   in in the publishing world is for people to more  easily find something that they already know is   there and what we need is to be able to find  things that we don't know are there and then   and then finding that one connect to something  else that s like it and the other thing that's   like that or a little bit different but hey I  didn't even know that existed I could be really   interested in that I could really use that for  something and I didn't even know it existed before   tying things to learning objectives to topic  terms etc. you know enhances all that ability to   expand the view and make connections between  things that they create much richer relationships   and experiences and using those analytics as a  result that you can pull that data together you   can you can parse it in ways that give you much  more power and the ability to make decisions   based on empirical data and not just anecdote  and again accessibility is a key component you   want to build in that alt text do it as part of  your front-end workflow not as a post process   define that reading order through your  semantic markup have mathml embedded   sometimes with complicated equations you have to  present it more as a graphic but you want that   mathml in the background so that  screen readers can still describe it   to somebody with a vision impairment etc and a lot of it really of course comes down   to people the technology challenges are  there but usually digital transformation   lives and dies on the basis of the people and  the ability to execute a change management   strategy so starting with leadership you need to  really present that vision for the future make it   a compelling vision one that's inspiring you lay  out a strategy for how you're going to get there   communicate that strategy early and repeat it  often and make it a shared journey make don't make   it feel like there's a top down this is leadership  telling everybody what they're going to do   bring them into it make them part of the decision  making how are we going to go on that journey   create that resilience within your company  because you know parts of that journey are going   to be difficult and setting the context is really  important right it's been a very disruptive time   in the educational publishing markets over the  last couple of years several years we need to be   able to adapt and produce new ways of delivering  our content and deliver new content and services   and if people don't realize that they need to  really understand that it's a matter of survival   and that the ability to be much more agile and  do that continuous improvement is key to that   you want to be able to respond quickly to your  customer needs and it's not all just you know if   we don't do this we will die there's opportunities  for growth if you can execute this kind of a   strategy you can reach markets that you didn't  reach before there are customers that you may be   able to tap into that just weren't there before  so it's a way of increasing your revenue not just   being able to sustain your business that exists  today and the way to I think go about that most   effectively internally you can't bring everybody  along there's going to be skeptics there's going   to be doubters people with anxiety they're not  all going to get on board at the same time and   spending time trying to get everybody going in  the right direction at the same time is not very   efficient so find your thought leaders find those  early adopter types you know when you when you   deliver that vision find the people who said great  why didn't we do this five years ago and put them   front and center put them in charge of initiatives  or pilots or whatever give them a high profile and   then put the resources behind them to make sure  that they're successful the skeptics will fall   in line afterwards nothing succeeds like success  and lay the groundwork with the standards that I   talked about before model those workflows walk the  walk before the technology is in place how are we   going to work differently when that new technology  comes on board and that that accomplishes   two things it gets you prepared so when that  technology is there people can step into it more   elegantly but at the same time going through that  process you develop the requirements that that   technology needs to meet and in the process of  that you're involving the staff and the solution   you're getting them invested so that the success  of that implementation is increased there are   risks from a change management perspective if  you don't have that clear vision you're gonna   have a really hard time succeeding if there isn't  a lack if there's a lack of urgency if you're not   telling people look we're going to do this  and we ve got to do it quickly this is not   nibbling around the edges incremental improvement  we ve got to move fast to get where we need to   go if the commitment from leadership if there's  like a big announcement and then you don't hear   from leadership again for a while people will lose  interest they'll say they're not really into this   so I m not going to get myself in invested and the  next layer below the senior leadership is actually   really important to make sure that they're bought  into that vision they understand the strategy and   how they interpret how they're going to implement  that strategy within their functional area   is consistent because otherwise if  there's different ways that people have   interpreted how to implement that strategy  you could have a lot of people going about   solving those problems in good faith but  actually going in different directions   that are going to cause real problems in  terms of how you bring it all together   and from an hr perspective you need to make  sure you don't allow the fud factor to fester   fudd stands for fear uncertainty and doubt and you  need to be able to you know monitor the zeitgeist   of the organization and make sure that there's  positive reinforcement there are tangible examples   of the progress that you're making so that  people's anxieties and insecurities don't   start taking over and you lose you lose buy-in  and it's really important to take a look at your   overall organizational structure you can't do  all these things that I ve been talking about   with people who are in the same roles within the  same structure in the organization as exists today   you need new skills obviously and that  could be up training existing staff   to gain new skills or enhance their skills and  to hire skills that you don't have and then   think about cross-functional teams in terms of the  traditional kind of silos of editorial production   technology etc. and think more in terms of  cross-functional teams where you have those   different skill sets and perspectives that are  coming together on a regular basis from beginning   of the project to the end of the project and  working together to solve those problems and   bring their different skills and experiences  to bear throughout and get rid of that old I ve   done my part I m handing it off to you my work  here is done let me know how it comes out   and I think that this quote that I  came across a few years ago really just   sums it all up perfectly successful digital  transformation relies on more than the right   technology it requires the right culture the right  people and the right processes to support them   it must be a company journey that involves  upskilling and changing employee mindsets adapting   structures and ways of working and creating  teams that can take advantage of new technologies   and if we have time I ll be happy to take any  questions very interesting presentation Paul I   just want to share with the audience that  Paul is truly a perfectionist we practice   now this the delivery of this presentation and  he give no chance to any failure in terms of the   system approach of delivering it and the reason  why I say it's a compliment to you because I   truly think that that is very important aspect to  need through others digital transformation right   to be really hand tight on all the different  steps so the first question to you is that   during this digital transformation model that  you outline which is terrific you know it's a   very strategic approach what your personal you  know take on the barrier and challenges that you   need to address right in your own organization and  in your or in your customer organization I missed   the word you use the what kind of challenges  like bearers or challenge you need to address   any barriers well there are many I mean I think  you know especially in the in the publishing   industry you've got people who tend to be to  stay in that industry for a long time you've got   people who are there for 10 15 25 years and who  have built their reputations and their expertise   around older ways of working and mindsets that  think you know ink on paper two-page spread   and it's very hard to change that into you know  the ways that we have to be thinking about that   sort of thing today so like I said breaking down  those silos thinking in terms of what the team is   in that more sort of cross-functional way I think  the ideal way to come up with a new product is you   know have an editorial person a development  person a designer a ux or an instructional   designer involved a you know a coder a developer  who's all working together from the beginning   and throughout the project to say what do we need  because otherwise you come up with these ideas   and if you haven't had somebody from the  technical side involved and contributing ideas and   you know then then you present here's what  you want you to do and they're like well   you know that's going to be really difficult  to do whereas if they were involved from the   beginning they're like okay I understand what  you want to do here there's a different way of   going about it I think they can achieve the  same outcome but is a lot more efficient and   can get us there quicker that sort of thing  I think being able to just get through the   kind of foot dragging that is inevitable and you  know that's where the leadership aspect really   comes in to break through that because you  know people who are resistant to change have   played the game before so to speak they've heard  about big initiatives and they've nodded their   head and said I m on board chief and then done  everything they can to either ignore undermine   it and they've waited it out and they've seen  these things come and go and they'll say I ll   just do it again this time so there really just  has to be a firm commitment that sense of urgency   and you know if people aren't willing  to come along then you just have to be   willing to make those changes too because not  everybody is going to make that transition   I have a question about the system approach and  it's rather linked to this movement would you   say that the movement of education of publisher is  moving into like into the education model itself   like you are trying to create some part of the  learning management system you are trying to   create some sort of that active learning model  where the learner and the content interaction   is kind of like produced by you created by  you right do you would you say that there is a   blur line between the education operation  and the where the learning activities are and   the publisher activities you know the  operation is that a beginning to see a   blur line or how do you see this month into  in the last two years is that any change   in your opinion well I think that you know  again with Macmillan that we our commitment to   releasing recently a a new courseware  platform that takes a different approach   it very much reflects that I think we feel like  that's the richest learning experience that can   produce the greatest outcomes but at the same time  you're always partnering with your instructor with   your customer and with the institutions and in  some cases you're also having to think about   a different more modular approach to how you  are delivering the content in the first place   because a lot of our content and our courses  get delivered into about it's about half and   half people adopt our flagship proprietary  lms and the other half are delivered into   a universities already established lms so you've  got to be able to you know work both sides of that   and in some cases you know we re seeing signs  where our customers may not even be interested   in a pre-packaged course they've they've got their  own lms they've designed their curriculums and   they have courses set up what they may really  want is just access to our content you know I   m kind of a subscription model or whatever I mean  there's a lot of investigation that still has to   be done to see if that's a viable business model  but there are signs that those kind of trends are   emerging as well and to be able to adapt and take  advantage of those kind of emerging opportunities   you know but at the same time you know the  activities that we provide in pre-class   in class post-class types of activities really tie  in and we're you know we want to be as close to   how our customers want to create their learning  experience give them the flexibility to do so   but give them the platform that enables them to  realize their vision as they put their curriculum   together would you want to give some examples  of some of the interactive learning experiences   that that you have seen that well successfully for  the for your customer sure I mean we have in kind   of a pre-class they re I won't call them really  assessment items they re kind of metacognitive   exercises that help students understand where they  are going into a course or going into a set of   lessons in that course so it orients them gives  them some information gives them a way to sort   of test themselves and say what's my level of  understanding as I as I go into this therefore   I know where I m strong you know I can take  some questions and do some lessons and based on   what I m showing competency in you know I ll I  won't get those kind of questions and what further   and where I m struggling I ll get more of that  sort of you know an adaptive kind of approach   and help the student themselves understand  where they're strong where they're weak   it'll help where they need to concentrate you  know or where they need to go to their instructor   an advisor for additional help is one example and  the other one is you know there are interactive   experiences whether it's something that's created  in something like articulate storyline for example   where you have the ability to have you know  animated or progressive you know choose your   own adventure kind of experiences that aren't you  know the straight instructional material but they   enhance that experience right they reinforce  and they're not giving you a formal assessment   but they're giving you tests to say you know for  your own benefit essentially you know how well you   extend understanding this and giving that kind  of information in various ways so that you know   different types of learners with who respond to  different kinds of experiences have that variety   so that the thing that they can make the most  progress in is available to them thank you Paul   please stay back for the for the panel  discussion where we talk about the innovation   keys to the future now I m thank you Paul and I  m now going to invite George Kerscher to join us   josh can you unmute and also show  your camera thank you can hear me   yes I can hear you but I can't see you yet  there we go okay hi everybody my name is   George Kerscher I m chief innovations  officer with the daisy consortium   and also senior officer of global literacy with  benetech so I ve got a few slides to share   so there we go you can see it now right yes I can  see your screen but it's not your PowerPoint   there you go you can see your P

2021-11-19 16:05

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