Pearson, the world’s largest education company, just announced that they’re adopting a “digital first” approach to updating its higher ed course materials, according to EdScoop. The adoption of this new business strategy, which goes into effect next year, means any revisions to Pearson’s library of textbooks will happen first in the digital version. For Pearson, this marks another major milestone in its transition to a fully digital education business.

Traditionally, physical textbooks are updated and reprinted every few years to include new findings or recent events. Critics of this model argue that many of these updates are unnecessary and driven by profits. This is not in the best interest of a student. A study by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group showed that each new edition of a written textbook costs 12% more than the previous edition.

Advantages of Digital First Approach, According to Pearson

  • they can update the content more frequently;
  • the digital content will be less expensive; and
  • students will have access to the digital content in real time.

The digital content doubters claim students have yet to fully embrace digital content. A report by investment bank Macquarie claims an estimated 45% of U.S. higher education courseware sales in 2015 were in print format. David Wiley, a longtime textbook researcher and advocate for open educational resources, says “It’s awesome not to have to worry about battery, internet connectivity or losing your account.”

As an online school, IVLA has fully embraced digital education content since the day we opened in 2007. It is our belief that digital content is superior to printed content due to its accessibility anytime, anywhere in the world.

Now, we would love to hear your opinion regarding digital education content versus printed content! Tell us in the comments!