Pearson, Panopto, and the Future of EDU Publishing

Here's how I think I understand the Pearson and Panopto deal works:

May 17, 2011

Here's how I think I understand the Pearson and Panopto deal works:

  • Pearson is dipping it's big toe into the lecture capture market by partnering with, rather than buying or significantly investing, in Panopto.
  • Pearson will be able to make Panopto licensing deals at the point of discussions around Pearson's range of educational services and products, including Pearson LearningStudio (the re-branded eCollege LMS), EQUELLA (a digital repository), Academic Enterprise Reporting (analytics), Learning Outcomes Manager (student performance), and ClassLive Pro (synchronous Web learning).
  • Pearson will realize some portion of the revenues for Panopto deals that are initiated or closed as part of a Pearson e-learning engagement. Lower customer acquisition costs for Panopto will allow the lecture capture provider to keep costs down, while allowing for investments in R&D in this very competitive market.

Here's what I think the Panopto deal means to Pearson, publishing and ed tech:

  • This Panopto deal is another part of the puzzle in understanding how Pearson is remaking itself from a provider of textbooks to a provider of educational services.
  • Pearson is developing a turn-key, cloud-based, educational ecosystem - one that combines content with platforms. Lecture capture will be part of this ecosystem, along other platforms that will eventually range from the LMS to analytics, student information systems, media management, course development, and faculty training.
  • Partnerships between Pearson and schools such as ASU and Ocean County College (a large community college system) represent early examples of Pearson's long-range plans. Education institutions can do what they do best, that is focus on teaching and learning, and can outsource to Pearson the infrastructure and expertise necessary to build and support large online programs. Eventually, Pearson could increase service offerings to include recruitment and retention, allowing colleges and universities to lower the risks of investing in new online programs and degrees.
  • Pearson can earn revenues from this cloud-based, turn-key educational ecosystem in a number of ways. Courses still require textbooks, test-banks, and associated materials - all of which can be bundled as integrated and correlated content to the educational platforms. A focus on community colleges and large public providers allows Pearson to go to scale more quickly, leveraging the investments in the cloud based infrastructure to drive down the marginal cost of each additional student.

Some Questions:

  • Will Pearson be able to pull off this transformation before the profits from textbooks sales that are paying to develop this e-learning, turn-key, cloud-based ecosystem dry-up?
  • Can we (can I) get beyond our biases and misconceptions about the big publishers, and realize that some very smart people in EDU publishing are working very hard to invent what comes next after the era of the large textbook adoption ends?


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