Macmillan Learning: Shaping the Future of Learning

Ken Michaels, CEO We will help define and refine the ways that people use to learn and share information, a bold promise from Ken Michaels, CEO of Macmillan Learning, the newly launched brand that unites the premier education companies of Macmillan Higher Education and Macmillan New Ventures. With a history of publishing ground-breaking educational content that spans over 70 years, Macmillan Learning is dedicated to combining world-class content and evolving technology y in ways that ignite curiosity and wonder through the knowledge-sharing experience.

Headquartered in New York City, Macmillan collaborates with some of the world’s most accomplished researchers, teachers, and administrators to solve specific pedagogical challenges and provide full course solutions. A key competitive advantage is our deep history and relationships with educators. Our teams are renowned for our editorial integrity, says Michaels. Our process for product development and the resulting class-tested, curated content is the foundation for all that we do. That history, and our present path, provides us an incredible opportunity to impact the future of higher education.

Solutions Tailored to Fit

Macmillan Learning works with educators at the institution, department, and course level, developing bespoke plans that respond to evolving educational challenges, including cost, retention, student engagement, and course success. The ever-innovating team looks to support educators and drive student engagement with content and assessment tools that are used effectively in sing le courses, or across the institution, to drive student engagement. The company’s solutions are customizable to allow flexibility for various course needs.

An example of Macmillan combining superior course content with flexibl e course technology is LaunchPad, a resource that helps educators align content and assessment tools directly to their syllabus, while providing students with the interactive tools they need to succeed at class time and exams. LaunchPad incorporates a number of features into the learning experience, including: an interactive e- Book, which allows students to prepare for class anytime, anywhere; Learning Curve a daptive quizzing offering individualized question sets and feedback for each student based on correct and incorrect responses; and Video Tools that make it easy to assign, create, submit, and assess video coursework. LaunchPad’s Gradebook lets instructors see how the class is doing, student by student or as a whole, helping them to identify learning gaps that may require more attention. And each title-specific version of LaunchPad comes with content already organized into pre-built units, curated by the book’s authors or other experienced educators. Instructors can use the units as is, add their own content, or develop their own courses entirely from scratch.

It is important to remember that each instructor s needs are very different. Each course presents a new challenge. Our solutions need to be flexible, tailored to content and context. As a learning services industry, it is incumbent on us to understand those differences and develop solutions to address them. At Macmillan Learning, we will offer an integrated constellation of solutions and services to educators.”

Innovation at Its Best

Michaels observes that the dynamic education landscape makes it necessary to innovate continuously. “We have to offer personalized and adaptive resources that help students learn 24/7. For example, we are excited about ‘flipped classroom’ learning tools that allow instructors to spend more time helping students reach ‘Aha’!moments. We also want to provide more data-driven dashboards that help instructors gauge student progress and tailor instruction accordingly.”

We will help define and refine the ways that people will learn and share information

Macmillan Learning fosters innovation in a variety of ways including in-house development of course- level resources, working with educators to identify and alleviate course pain points, and partnering with startups who bring fresh thinking to interactive education. Over the past decade, Macmillan has acquired a number of educational technology companies — i>clicker, Sapling Learning, Late Nite Labs, and EBI-MAP-Works (now Skyfactor) — to enhance and expand its ability to support today s teachers and students.

Sapling Learning provides interactive learning experiences and assessment for science, engineering, and economics disciplines, in ways that have been proven to significantly elevate student comprehension, retention, and problem-solving skills. Professor Laurie Parker of University of Minnesota noted that she was looking for a solution that would get her organic chemistry students to do more work outside the classroom — such as reviewing the lessons of each classroom session and, even more important, trying to solve relevant problems on their own. Since Sapling offers the ability to track student homework efforts, giving unprecedented insight into student progress, it became easy for Laurie to customize homework for her class. To encourage her students to work outside of class, Laurie made a portion of their grade contingent on completing Sapling problems, with extra credit for correct solutions. The result was significant student improvement by as much as a full grade over previous work.

Students have also been shown to be more fully engaged and more collaborative in class when using another Macmillan product, the i>clicker personal response system.
By using i>clicker to test class response, instructors were able to immediately gauge student understanding and drive participation. At the University of Colorado Boulder, Engineering instructor John Falconer wanted to enhance student engagement and attendance. Once embraced, i>clicker solved those classroom challenges immediately. “Classroom attendance has increased and feedback from the students is very positive. A large proportion of the students in end- of -the-semester surveys list i>clicker as the best part of the course,” confirms Falconer. At Michigan State University, Economics Professor Carl Liedholm indicates that, “In the past, when I posed questions directly to individual students, many would freeze and panic. With i>clicker, students are now engaged with a ‘relaxed alertness’ because they can answer questions anonymously.” Today, i>clicker has been adopted by more than 1,000 higher education al institutions in the U.S. and is used by over 2 million students.

The Defining Pillars

Just as all great architectural feats call for a strong core structure, Mac millan Learning’s strategy stands on five pillars. Immersive: Macmillan is a company of deeply knowledgeable and committed specialists who live and breathe each course and discipline, determined to clear any l earning obstacles. Tailored: Everything Macmillan Learning produces is done with the understanding that there are all kinds of students, who learn in all kinds of ways, and that each course in each discipline has its own challenges. Conviction: Rigorous in its work and its service to customers, Macmillan takes pride in the elbow grease. Pioneering: Macmillan must always be moving forward, looking for better ways to help faculty and students alike. And finally, Community — Macmillan Learning nurtures communities of teachers, publishers and developers to work toward one common objective: improving the educational experience.

And the process of developing and delivering educational tools doesn't stop on the publication or release date. Macmillan Learning continually seeks input and feedback to test and retest products, ensuring that they meet the needs and objectives of customers. The testing happens in the classroom, in workshops, through peer review, and weekly in its offices. “Our higher education R&D group brings a constant flow of students to our innovations lab to test and work with all of our technologies as we constantly look for ways to recalibrate the user experience based on observations and conversations with students,” says Michaels.

The Mission

The higher education industry is facing unprecedented challenges, but with t hat comes fresh opportunities for innovative learning companies. An enthusiastic Michaels concludes by saying, “We are living through one of the most exciting periods in publishing history. The ways in which people learn and are connected continues to change every day. New tools and technologies allow us to do things we could barely have imagined a decade ago. We have a deep and moral obligation to improve pedagogical outcomes for generations to come, and can do this by defining and refining the ways that people will learn and share information in the future.”

Macmillan Learning

New York, NY

Ken Michaels, CEO

Offering a combination of world-class content and evolving technology to ignite curiosity in the knowledge-sharing experience, Macmillan Learning seeks to improve lives through learning.