Benefits of digital publishing for educational publishers: Evaluating an edtech opportunity

We work with many specialist educational publishers and grappling with digital and multichannel publishing is our bread and butter. 

Working with our clients, we tend to see recurring benefits when it comes to digital publishing adoption. Apart from the obvious one (data), there are others such as efficiency, marketing, and even, creativity.  

Looking back, here are the types of digital publishing workflows, processes, and opportunities that publishers benefit from. 

Pedagogical benefits: more ownership and accountability 

For students and teachers, moving your educational material online has obvious benefits. The ability to independently track learning, spot trends, and proactively intervene in learning are profound.  

Even though the digital classroom is not perfect, there are clear pedagogical benefits that come with digital publishing: 

  • Ability to scale much faster  
  • Remote learner management  
  • Personalisation and tracking  
  • Trend analysis, learning insights, and progress reports.  

Going digital benefits teachers and learners because you can offer them personalised in-content features; for example, readers can annotate and leave notes in a text, attaching hyperlinks and contextual information to important passages. Interactive features give people the option to co-create rather than just having a top-down experience with your books. Think about how auxiliary content such as video or audio can help make your learning material feel more 3D. 

Data rules: being able to track learning more efficiently 

Online learning material cannot be beaten on data. Digital publishing is a huge data opportunity that can help you monetise data and improve your product.  

  • Data analytics in the form of learner tracking can help add value to the digital materials you are selling. You can supply learner data to educators, schools, and educational institutions, and they can then use this data to track learning and reading more efficiently. 
  • When moving online, the abilities to collect data and even automate tracking, e.g. automatically identify students that may be falling behind, is one of the key benefits when compared with offline material. Not to get too technical, but the xAPI or Experience API is a great way to track learners.  
  • It really pays as a publisher to think about the way that you harness your data and ensure that you are making the most of the data opportunity that is presented to you. This could take the form of building custom dashboards or platforms. 

Systems matter: reaping efficiency benefits 

A lot of our clients benefit from digital publishing systems because they help their business become more efficient. Integrations and smart systems mean there is a lot less manual editorial work.  

  • Digital publishing enables automation and scaling, so embrace the digital efficiency and think about how you could automate and where? New tech such as generative AI may be your ally here. (AI in publishing tips here). 
  • Invest in good digital publishing tools that would allow you to manage your editorial processes efficiently. You will want to test out your tools and ensure they work in harmony with your in-house processes and existing software. (Our Time 3.0 publishing software tends to work in tandem with existing systems such as Microsoft Office, Adobe FrameMaker etc).  
  • The best systems allow you to make the most of the material that you already own: you want to make sure that the actual publishing and managing the publishing process is a smooth as possible. 
  • Digital publishing also gives you the opportunity to go global and reach the international market much faster. 

Flexibility: improved marketing opportunities  

Digital publishing is not always agile, but it does give you the option to react to situations quickly. With digital publishing, you can create an immersive universe whilst also doing a lot of recycling and reusing of existing material. 

  • Think about the opportunities offered by digital content – this is your chance to create more personalised and dynamic learning experiences. Expand your content to the digital world through web design, blogs etc.  
  • Recycling and duplicating content is a smarter way to publish.  For example, digital material that is already online is very easily transformed into social media content.  
  • Having things already online can help you create material to communicate the value of your books and your educational material a lot faster. Working digitally encourages a non-siloed approach. 

Creative freedom: tech becomes an ally  

The better you get at digital publishing, and the more you embrace digital tools, the easier it will be for you to coexist with new technologies. 

  • There is a tendency to demonise and fear monger when it comes to new tech, but our experience is that small businesses, even ones who are not that digitally agile at first, are able to benefit from tech. In fact, when done right, tech helps creativity thrive and should free up people for more meaningful work. 
  • Things like augmented reality and VR are no longer just fads and are really being used across the board in education to create really engaging experiences. The growing edutainment industry has been a big factor in that.  
  • If you don’t even properly adopt digital, it’ll be harder for you to then go towards more experimental or disruptive technologies. Digital publishing, like anything, has the benefit of broadening your business, deepening your understanding of the digital world, and the ability for you to branch out and potentially try new things as well. 

By co-creating edtech and publishing software for educational publishers, we have been able to help lots of publishers reap the benefits of digital. What other digital publishing benefits are there? 

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