online education

“On-line studying continues to be in its infancy”

A high school student during an online exam at her home in Chisseaux (Indre-et-Loire), March 27, 2020.

Sidney Taurel, of Spanish and American nationality and French culture, is President of the British group Pearson, the world leader in textbook learning and online education.

Do you think the health crisis and restrictions will permanently change the world of education?

Yes. The pandemic has changed the way we work, live and learn, forcing us to find new and more efficient methods. Learning is the key to this development and all the possibilities that it brings. Witness the speed and extent to which this learning has moved online and the increasing demand for new forms of digital learning.

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In this knowledge market that we now live in, the world of work is changing faster than most workers. This phenomenon creates an enormous need for retraining and upgrading. It is estimated that 30% of current jobs are in all sectors will be obsolete by 2030 and the vast majority of the rest will be transformed by automation. Governments, employers and the broader education community must work in partnership to address these pressing productivity and skills challenges. This is a big bet.

What is the size and growth potential of the global e-learning market?

The digital learning market is still in its infancy; it is estimated at just 3% of a global learning market of around €6 trillion. As a global leader, Pearson is well positioned to capitalize on the tremendous opportunities that open up as learning becomes increasingly digital. Today, almost three quarters of sales (4 billion euros in 2020) are made directly or indirectly online. A shift to online learning was already underway before the pandemic and has greatly accelerated the demand for quality products and services remotely and at scale. We believe that this strong trend will continue in the future.

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What lessons should e-learning learn from past limitations?

We experience a pursuit of quality. It is increasingly recognized that delivering rich online learning materials and services requires experience, investment and the application of educational science. Successful virtual learning empowers the learner to use the material at times that suit them, in a flexible mix of synchronous (real-time) and asynchronous experiences, individual work, and teacher interactions.

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