Pearson Educ. Merges Two Instructional Technology Groups Under the Pearson Digital Learning Name

Pearson Educ. Merges Two Instructional Technology Groups Under the Pearson Digital Learning Name

Call it part of the evolutionary process that continues to unfold from Pearson Education’s (Upper Saddle River, N.J.) $2.5 billion acquisition of National Computer Systems in September 2000 (EM, Oct. 2, 2000). Pearson has combined its two instructional technology units – Pearson Education Technologies and Pearson Digital Learning.

The combined group, effective this month, will be called Pearson Digital Learning. Both companies are based in the metro-Phoenix area. The new entity will be headed by president and CEO Jack Lynch, who previously held those posts at Pearson Education Technologies. Bob Roliardi, who headed the business unit responsible for Waterford Early Reading, is the new company’s senior vice president of sales and marketing.

Combining the two units makes sense on a number of levels. Together they create a more than $200 million powerhouse in K-12 electronic and digital publishing that tops the industry.

One Super Electronic Line The new Pearson business unites a product line focused on K-12 content, assessment and enterprise data management, including SuccessMaker and NovaNet courseware, SASIxp student information software, Concert instruction and assessment management courseware and the Knowledge Box broadband business. Pearson also distributes Waterford Early Reading and the Waterford Early Math & Science programs.

Riverdeep (Dublin, Ireland, and Boston) most closely approaches Pearson’s clout in the K-12 market with estimated school sales of $123 million in 2002, according to EM.

The merger also streamlines the sales and marketing approach for Pearson. The sales teams of both companies essentially call on the same customer, and the merger allows Pearson to present a more unified approach under a single brand name to school districts.

Evolution Since the NCS acquisition in 2000, Pearson had tried to fit these brands into a variety of business niches, as it tried various combinations of its own products and those from NCS. At one time or another, the products have been variously grouped under NCS Learn, Pearson Learning Group, Pearson Broadband Schools Group and Pearson Early Learning Group.

By November 2002, all but KnowledgeBox and Waterford were part of Pearson Education Technologies, which was the reorganized and re-named NCS Learn as part of a company-wide reorganization and re-branding effort. PET was Pearson’s primary vehicle for marketing instructional software. That group was itself the result of reorganizing nine companies into one.

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