Cengage Learning Acquires Learning Objects

September 23, 2015

Cengage Learning is expanding its presence in the online program management market with the acquisition of ed-tech company Learning Objects and its learning platform, Difference Engine.

Cengage CEO Michael Hansen called the acquisition a “logical extension” of what the company, primarily known as a publisher, does today. Cengage already has an online learning platform of its own, MindTap, but it is primarily used by students as an alternative to a physical textbook in individual courses. With the acquisition of Learning Objects, Cengage will soon be able to help colleges put entire degree programs online, he said.

“Learning Objects had the right middleware for that work and what the institutions want in terms of integrating different courses with each other, making sure that the learning gets transferred to the other courses,” Hansen said in an interview.

The acquisition gives Cengage a new argument for why colleges should partner with the company instead of any of the other players in what is rapidly becoming a crowded market for online program management providers: it can offers its own content and a platform to host it. While other companies offer a full suite of services, from marketing to retention support, Hansen said Cengage doesn’t want to “overreach,” and that it will leave those responsibilities to institutions.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Learning Objects' engineers will be integrated into Cengage's technology group, Hansen said, and the company's long-term plans involve combining the features of the two different platforms to offer MindTap on an institutional level.

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