The Future of Education Publishing

Source: IPUBL Author:  2018-05-28 10:40 

A: Jeremy Dieguez Global Managing Director, Macmillan Education 

Q: Bai Mei International Publishing Journal Correspondent

Bai Mei:What kind of business umbrella has Macmillan fostered around the world? What are the guidelines for such a strategic setup?

Jeremy:Macmillan Education is proud to have been active in educational publishing, amongst many other publishing activities, for more than one hundred years. This has generated strong brand recognition and built innumerable customer relationship all over the world which is our pride. A good example of this is our successful collaboration with FLTRP in China in New Standard English.

Today we are directly presented in more than 50 countries all over the globe, including China,of course. We have already entered into the K12 curriculum market. In the meantime, our stratigic goals focus on foreign languages and higher education area.

Our main aim is to bring all the elements of our educational portfolio much closer as to build a common strategic framework for the group, which includes educational services about content delivery and strategic partnership. A good example for this is the one that we have just signed with the prestigious institute NILE.

Bai Mei:What strategies have you adopted in regards to Macmillan’s digital publishing? Do you have some experience to share with us? What are the major challenges in your transition to digital publishing?

Jeremy:Almost all Educational Publishers are investing heavily in digital publishing, and of course Macmillan is not an exception. 15 years ago, we were digital pioneers when we developed the Macmillan English Campus, a learning management system for institutions, at that time, the digital landscape in education was still undeveloped.

The experience that MEC or One Stop English (with a community of 600.000 registered English teachers) has given us is that in addition to other digital initiatives around the world makes us feel confident that we have great confidence in the new challenges arising in the digital market. We have ambitious plans ahead but we are also aware that the digital landscape is never going to be a globally standardized one. There will be different realities not only in different countries, but also in two different institutions that may be right around the corner from each other.

In Macmillan, we believe in digital as an enhancer for better education in the classroom, but we also believe that we need to help our customers on their own digital journey by having flexible and scalable approaches as well as offering teaching development programs that will allow teachers to strive but not to survive in the digital classroom. This is what we are working on today, and we will see the results very soon.

Bai Mei:Big data is reshaping the business modes of many industries today. How will big data impact publishing in the future? How can we make the most of them?

Jeremy:There is no doubt that big data will have significant impact on education. However, I must insist again that this may vary significantly from different elements of educational landscape. We consider the integration of big data in education as the most advanced and ultimate step of our customers’ digital journey, but we, as publishers, must be aware that many customers will never reach that level of digital evolution for a number of reasons.

Having said that, the use of big data will indeed transform education in institutions that have ability to reach that advanced stage of journey. Institutions and publishers will have to create strong partnerships to fully exploit its potential. It will not only allow us to provide personalized learning pathways to students; but also allow us to build educational services such as assessment, teacher training or testing, which can also be fully personalized.

Last but not least, it will allow institutions to increase their performance and to compete in a completely different way and to extend their business models as the classroom will no longer be the limits of their reach.

Bai Mei:What are the differences between Chinese and Western publishing markets? What are your perspectives on the current Chinese publishing market?

Jeremy:Substantially, there are no key differences in the way that we publish or create content. Of course education is closely connected with culture. The cultural elements are different; but this is the case in all regions around the world. In Macmillan, our strategy is to carry out a combination of global frameworks, and then contextualized in regions or countries through our local editorial teams. And this is the way which has been carried out in China as well.

Our experience in China for many years also tells us that strong partnerships are needed. There is no doubt that we would not be what we are today in China if Mr. Li Pengyi and Mr. Chris Paterson hadn’t created the joint venture between Macmillan and FLTRP, which remains so successful and important for us. 

Partnerships and the ability to personalize content and services for institutions in China would allow us to continue growing in the country, but competition is also becoming stronger and China is a key country for local and international players.

Bai Mei:What are your long-term plans and strategic goals for your operations in China?

Jeremy:We want to develop on the basis of a deeper understanding of the country. In the past,we did not have direct operation in China and we were operating from outside of the country. We knew this would never work. Today we have strong operations in China that are managed by Chinese people and we have several offices to work from. The strong presence of Nature and Springer in China also help us to develop a better understanding of the market.

We will become a much more personalized and efficient educational solutions provider in the future if we have in-depth knowledge of the country, its characteristics and cultural heritage.

We are learners for life as much as students are and right now we are on a steep learning journey in China as to be closer to teachers’ and institution’s needs.