Publishing has undergone constant changes in the digital age. Education no longer takes place in a classroom nor are there one-on-one sessions between students and teachers anymore. Digital textbooks have replaced print textbooks and some schools and universities are moving on to other modes of learning. For some institutions, there has been more of a demand for a student centered learning experience. It’s a well-known fact that digital has already impacted the education industry but what are the other trends that are shaping the industry as a whole? Let’s take a look at some of them.
- Competency-Based Education (CBE) – This educational model allows students to progress by proving their competence. Students must demonstrate their mastery over the skills and knowledge, regardless of how long it takes. Once the student has demonstrated thisq knowledge in the particular course, they move to the next level. In essence, it focuses on the principal needs of the student. In the United States, more than 40 states are considering using this learning model as a new way for their students to progress. Part of the reason for this move is that CBE is self-paced, skills-based and affordable. For the educational publishing industry, it’s an important move towards more innovative concepts. Publishers and publishing service professionals can now offer an array of options to schools, and by extension, to students.
- Protecting Their Rights – As there have been strides in making content readily available, there has been an underlying issue of counterfeit materials. According to a recent press release, Cengage Learning noted that counterfeit materials are “estimated to cost the company between $70 million to $100 million annually.” A study, conducted with the Education Publisher Enforcement Group, reviewed inventories of a number of online sellers in order to determine the percentage of counterfeit course materials sold, and found that some portions of online inventories held more than 75% counterfeit books, and others were composed of 100% counterfeit materials. Cengage learning has developed a solution that will require all their products to be fitted with a seal of certification, replete with a QR code and other indicators. Other publishers and content providers will follow suit in the same vein.
- Amazon and Open Educational Resources (OER) – Like in every other industry, a lot of the power is concentrated within a few companies. Amazon, one of BIG 4 tech companies, wants to take control of the entire publishing sector. They started as online distributors of books and are now creating print and video content themselves. They now want to take prominence as K-12 School publishers. With ‘Amazon Inspire,’ they now provide a free open educational resource for teachers and students alike. OER’s popularity has been on the rise, given that it can save school districts significant amounts of money on textbooks and other materials. The jury is still out on how profitable it will be for Amazon but they only seek to gain subscribers and subsequently, control of the entire market share.
- Adaptive Testing – In the Digital Education Publishing Market, publishers and publishing service providers have seen great strides in companies dealing with adaptive assessments. Some companies are creating platforms using artificial intelligence to search, select, administer and score test questions based upon multiple skills and abilities of a student. The testing process is shorter, scores are more accurate, and decisions are more efficient than ever before. In the near future, there is likely to be similar platforms that use a combination of analytics and data to create valid test questions that are psychometrically valid.
In the years to come, there is likely to be more disruptions to the industry as digital technology is constantly evolving. But where there is disruption, there is opportunity for others. It’s the opportunity for publishers to be innovative, creative and eventually, ascertain a higher return on investment.
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