Today’s classrooms are packed with technology, from tablet computers and widescreen televisions to interactive whiteboards.
The last few years have also seen the development of massive open online courses, or MOOCS. Providers such as edX — which was founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2012 — offer free online courses from renowned institutions such as Columbia University and Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. The platform provides more than 1,900 courses and its users come from all over the world.
As technology drives change in education, one of the sector’s big players is looking to keep pace with developments and encourage innovation.
“The digital medium gives us the opportunity to really take the education and learning experience to the next level,” Albert Hitchcock, chief technology and operations officer for Pearson Education, told CNBC in an interview broadcast earlier this week.
“The technology, ultimately, will allow us to truly personalize the education experience in a way that both improves learning outcomes (and) shortens the learning time.” Hitchcock added that technology would give Pearson the ability to deliver learning at any time and in any place around the world.
At Pearson, Hitchcock set out the vision behind the company’s efforts to develop a global learning platform, explaining that the idea was to “basically create a model that a lot of the other digital native companies have already employed.”
“We’re all familiar… with the use of Amazon for retail… Netflix for TV and movies, Spotify for music,” he said.
“Those companies have sort of transformed their sector. The opportunity for us is to create that global platform that will deliver all of our courseware and experiences around the world, and to take that learning experience to the next level.”
Machine-learning and artificial intelligence (AI) are at the core of the platform. “It’s a complete multi-device agnostic platform so we can deliver content to any device anywhere in the world,” Hitchcock said.
“And it’s also going to allow us to personalize the experience to the student, but also give the institution, and the teaching faculty, access to how the student is responding to that experience.”