Teaching and Learning blog

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  • A group of higher education students sitting at desks and writing on papers

    Increasing student preparedness and success with Revel

    By Liz Lebold

    “It’s the best textbook I’ve ever read because there is no fluff and it’s easy to read,” says an economics student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG). “You actually want to read it.”  

    A textbook college students want to read?   

    Unusual though it may seem, many economics students at UNCG express comments like these, ever since their professor began using Revel: Microeconomics Interactive, 1st Edition by Parkin, Bade, and Sarbaum.  

  • Image from above a desk, viewing a laptop, mobile device, coffee cup, pencils

    Voices of Innovation: A Q&A Series on Generative AI - Part 3

    By Pearson Voices of Innovation Series

    Using technology to improve teaching and learning is in Pearson’s DNA. As the first major higher education publisher to integrate generative AI study tools into its proprietary academic content, Pearson is excited to be harnessing the power of AI to drive transformative outcomes for learners. We are focused on creating tools that combine the power of AI with trusted Pearson content to provide students with a simplified study experience that delivers on-demand and personalized support whenever and wherever they need it.

    In this multi-part blog series, you’ll have a chance to hear about AI innovations from Pearson team members, faculty, and students who have been involved with the development and rollout of Pearson’s AI-powered study tools.

  • A row of computers in a computer lab with studentsw and instructor looking at content

    Voices of Innovation: A Q&A Series on Generative AI - Part 2

    By Pearson Voices of Innovation Series

    Using technology to improve teaching and learning is in Pearson’s DNA. As the first major higher education publisher to integrate generative AI study tools into its proprietary academic content, Pearson is excited to be harnessing the power of AI to drive transformative outcomes for learners. We are focused on creating tools that combine the power of AI with trusted Pearson content to provide students with a simplified study experience that delivers on-demand and personalized support whenever and wherever they need it.

    In this multi-part blog series, you’ll have a chance to hear about AI innovations from Pearson team members, faculty, and students who have been involved in the development and rollout of Pearson’s AI-powered study tools.

  • A diverse group of students sitting in front of shelves of books, focused on a laptop.

    Tackle teaching challenges with Revel

    By Pearson Voices of Innovation Series

    Think about your first teaching experience in higher education.

    What was it like? Did you feel prepared to address your students’ learning needs?

    “In higher education, we aren’t necessarily taught how to be teachers,” says Anakira Gabriela, a tenured instructor and Pearson representative. “Most of us were thrown out there with, ‘Okay, you know your discipline. Now go teach that.’”

    But managing learning objectives, assessment design, lesson planning, and individual student intervention is difficult for experienced instructors, let alone new ones.

    That’s where the right courseware can help. In a recent webinar, Anakira explains how Revel gives instructors the content and information they need to help their students thrive. She describes how she uses Revel to help students understand who they are as learners and to provide them with more targeted feedback and assistance.

    Content that facilitates learning

    No two brains learn alike.

    A student’s genetics, environment, and current emotional state all play a role in how they process information, meaning that instructors must consider the impact of neurodiversity when designing and delivering their courses.

    As Anakira points out, “If a student doesn't feel safe in their environment, if they don't feel like their needs are being listened to or accommodated, then they tend to start to shut down to the learning process itself.”

    That’s why she begins her courses by helping students understand how they learn best, and showing them how the content in Revel can support their learning style.

    She uses the example of reading a book on how to work out versus actually going for a workout to demonstrate the difference between passive learning (e.g. just reading a textbook) and active learning (e.g. interacting with multimedia content within courseware).

    “Stagnant reading from print is one of the least effective ways to learn,” says Anakira. “Many students need the auditory stimulation of embedded videos or the audio version. And they need that kinesthetic experience of interacting with the content.”

    Throughout the webinar, Anakira also discusses how instructors can use Revel to facilitate spaced practice, combat the fluency illusion, and more.

    Actionable information and feedback

    Giving regular formative assessments and providing meaningful feedback is one of the most effective methods for helping students understand whether they are on track. But building and grading these types of assessments takes a tremendous amount of time that many instructors don’t have.

    Anakira has been able to save a lot of time by using Revel to create, assign, and grade formative assessments.

    “One of the things Revel does is it allows you to be the guide on the side instead of the sage on the stage,” says Anakira. “You are there to construct a well-designed course where you are coaching your students through the learning process.”

    That coaching is made even more effective because instructors who use Revel have access to in-depth analytics about their students’ progress and performance, allowing them to intervene in a timely and personalized manner.

    In the webinar, Anakira offers specific tips for using the feedback and analytics in Revel to enhance students’ learning experiences.

    Designed for success

    Higher education instructors have an unparalleled depth of knowledge about their fields. The correct courseware can give them the time and energy to design courses that effectively instill that knowledge and a passion for lifelong learning in their students.

    “How do teachers want to teach? How do students want to learn?” says Anakira, “That’s how Revel was designed from the get-go.”

    Check out Anakira’s on-demand webinar for more in-depth information about transforming teaching and learning with Revel.

  • instructor teaching in front of a group of students in a auditorium setting

    Inclusive Access in Higher Education: Unlocking Student Success

    By Hilary Duplantis

    Inclusive Access (IA) provides students with a more cost-efficient, success-driven option for obtaining their digital courseware. This program incorporates the cost of their materials directly into their tuition, eliminating the rush to find the funds and correct material for the course at the start of a semester. In addition, it ensures students have their materials from the first day of class, setting them up for success right from the start. Pearson spoke with several people from a variety of roles to get their perspective on IA and how it benefits them, their institutions, faculty, and students.

    Michael Shiftlet is the Digital Publishing Coordinator on the Affordability and Access team at The Ohio State University (OSU). In his role he coordinates and facilitates communication between the publishers, faculty, and their registrar for a smooth IA implementation. Beginning in 2017, OSU started a small-scale pilot, delivering 50 Pearson titles to students in one course. They initially worked with instructors whom they knew were enthusiastic about supporting their students, would be open to the program, and had worked on other affordability initiatives prior. After the first semester's success, enrollment in the program slowly grew each semester, until they rolled out the program in Fall 2020.

    Sarah Cameron, Textbook Manager at West Chester University (WCU) campus bookstore, oversees the entire textbook department, from print to digital to IA. In 2018, WCU began their pilot of the program, hoping to see benefits for their students, both in cost savings and success with first-day access. Since then, they have slowly been adding more classes, with approximately 75% of the courses now participating in IA.

    Pearson also spoke with two instructors in the math department and a bookstore manager from a community college in the Western United States. One of the faculty recognized the value of IA many years ago and has been trying to adopt it at their institution. “Students didn’t have to work so hard to get access codes or to transfer temporary access to permanent access, there was cost savings, and all of that combined with how easily it integrated into Canvas were why I decided to move forward trying to get the permissions we needed.” With eventual approval, and in partnership with the bookstore manager, they decided to start small, piloting IA with two teachers in Fall 2023. They hoped that IA would curb the issue of students entering a course without their course materials, thus unprepared, resulting in falling way behind and potentially not being able to catch up with one instructor saying, “For me it was mostly about pedagogy and actual effectiveness of the classroom with students.” The other primary driver was the hope that it would save their students a significant amount of money.

    The program ran as expected, with a few initial hiccups smoothed out along the way, with the intended benefits noted this first semester. Therefore, they are expanding, adding a few more instructors in Spring 2024. “Luckily, the two teachers who were doing the pilot were not only fantastic but one of them, she has been fighting for Inclusive access for a long time. She’s the reason why we have a pilot because I have always said, you need to find a champion in the faculty.”

    Cost Savings for Students

    Since adopting IA in 2017, OSU is averaging around $7 million dollars per year in savings, with a cumulative total of around $26 million dollars in savings for their students, and an opt-out rate of approximately 0.5%. This cost effectiveness and convenience of course materials being part of the tuition has been appreciated by students, and those without access immediately noticed they were missing out, according to Michael. “Students were actually upset that their class wasn’t using IA. I think that was really the turning point for us and seeing that students were realizing the value of the program and what we were doing as well.”

    According to Sarah, WCU has saved their students approximately $4.1 million dollars since adopting IA in 2018. Sarah has noticed how the cost savings of IA is mutually beneficial as it saves students money, but it also brings business into the bookstore, creating profits for the bookstore, and less headache for the students. “This is really helping them come through us and still get that better price. I think it is good for both of us at the same time. I think it simplifies the process for all of us as well.”

    During the small initial pilot at the community college, students saved an average of $35 per textbook, and with 95 enrollments, that’s an overall savings of approximately $3,325. On top of these savings, students have also appreciated how simple the process was, “The fee they pay is definitely cheaper than the bookstore price and my students really, really, really like how simple it was with not having to go to purchase an access code separately.”

    Day One Access

    According to Sarah, faculty at WCU have appreciated the ease of day one access with IA for students, which has led to the vast majority opting to adopt the program for their courses. “With 75% of courses using it, you can tell they love it. They think it’s great that students are getting what they need on the first day of classes. There’s no stress with course materials when it comes to Inclusive Access.”

    One of the math instructors found the day one access to course materials curbed students’ excuse of not having the materials to do their homework. It has also led to students getting started off and running, fully prepared right from the start, ensuring no one falls behind as they wait for their finances or materials to show up. “Well, I thought it was great that on day one I could expect them to do their homework rather than waiting a couple days while they got their money together and went to the bookstore and bought their access code, and so on and so forth. From day one, I expect them to do their homework and there’s no reason they can’t.”

    Convenience

    The comfort of knowing what their tuition fee will be, including the cost of their materials, is a huge relief for students, according to Sarah. It gives them time to plan ahead and prepare instead of scrambling at the start of the semester, which could potentially cause them to fall behind. “They know what they need to pay ahead of time. If they need to save up for it, they can see it a couple months ahead of it. It gives them time to prepare rather than trying to run around and find the best price at a bunch of places. They don’t have to worry about finding their materials. They know they are going to have what they need that first day of class.”

    The bookstore manager sees the all-around convenience and benefits for all involved saying, “Honestly, I think for students it’s just convenient, cheaper, and easier. For us, it’s nice to have those guaranteed sales. It’s also nice for the school.”

    Building Partnerships

    Being part of IA has also increased communication between the bookstore, faculty and students, making it more of a partnership for Sarah. “This has created a lot of relationships with us, the faculty, and the students. We even have a good group of students that will tell us their true opinion of what they think. If they have taken the class, if they need that book. If they think Inclusive Access is best, which most often it is.”

    The bookstore manager noted that in addition to the guaranteed sales through the bookstore, a couple benefits are even more fulfilling; the idea that they are helping students and building relationships with faculty. “The overall sense of being able to deliver products to the students for the faculty, which really helps relationship-wise. We make sure the students have what they need from us, when they need it, and make sure they are fully prepared. We are the school’s partner in doing that. We take that pretty seriously. So, when we can provide them with something that makes that whole process easier for them as they are trying to navigate college, which can be very daunting at times, is really nice.”

    For Michael, working with Pearson to implement IA has been invaluable. The partnership they have developed right from the beginning has ensured smooth implementation and prompt resolutions. “The team has been good about getting the faculty what they need before the semester, that gap between ordering and the semester starting. I’ve had great experiences with everyone there. The primary reps and those in supporting roles have all been awesome. I’ve really enjoyed working with everyone at Pearson. From day one, the staffing has always been excellent. When I have been in touch with Pearson, resolution is always quick and smooth. I have a great working relationship with the team there.”

  • Two students discussing content on the laptop in front of them

    Active learning and engagement in the classroom

    By Rachel Droste

    Students don’t know how to study. 

    As a former instructor of undergraduate students, I would hear students say they are too busy to study, and when they do study, they aren’t sure what to focus on. Research shows students spend their study time rereading their notes or textbook, highlighting too much, and don’t know what they need to prioritize1. These poor study habits create frustration as students cram for exams but still get low grades. I was left wondering; how can I help make learning more engaging and robust for my students? 

    Active learning is an effective and efficient method to remember more. 

    Learning science shows that students need more effective strategies to optimize their limited time and keep them engaged during learning2. Active learning practices can make learning dynamic for the student and can promote efficiency in the study session. The term “active learning” comes from the ICAP framework3. In this framework, the level of engagement is categorized based on the level of interaction the student has with the learning material.  

    When students are rereading text or listening to lectures without taking notes, they are engaging in passive learning behaviors. Passive learning has the worst outcomes for learning4. Active learning habits – such as outlining key concepts, comparing ideas, generating hypotheses, or reflecting on questions – allow learners to deepen their understanding in a shorter amount of time. Active learning does not mean learners are physically active; rather, learners are actively creating new ideas and connecting to the material in a way that benefits their learning. 

    Frequent, shorter study sessions work best. 

    Students that regularly engage in active learning while studying outperform those who cram right before the exam5. While last-minute cramming is common, research shows that information is quickly lost soon after a long study session. To avoid the decay in memory, spacing 20–30-minute study sessions across multiple days or weeks can lead to greater memory retention. Essentially, frequent brief exposures to the material can lead to better memory performance on the test, even when the exposures are for shorter durations of time.  

    Instructors can help students set up a schedule to study and break up homework into smaller chunks. 

    Students need support in active learning. 

    Students need guidance to stop passively learning and use more active practices. Instructors can teach students the benefits of active learning and integrate opportunities for it in the classroom. Here are a few ways you as an instructor can encourage your students to be active learners. 

    Walk students through features that enable active learning. 
    Take some class time to show students how to use all the available digital learning tools, such as highlighting, flashcards, and quizzing. These eText features are easy to use and have been built to promote active learning. 

    Create opportunities for reflective thinking. 
    Active learning practices can be embedded into the course's structure by assigning opportunities to reflect. Activities that prompt active thinking can happen both in and out of the classroom. Discussion boards asking students to challenge a topic, assigning students to instruct others on a topic, or creating a visualization that structures a topic are all examples of ways to prompt active learning. 

    Demonstrate how to take notes and study. 
    Leading by example can be the best way to change behavior. By providing an outline or talking about what to focus on while studying, instructors can curb students from wasting time rereading. Students should have a clear understanding of what is most relevant to prepare them for an exam. 

    Encourage frequent testing. 
    Practice makes perfect. Therefore, regular low-stakes test sessions can help students gain exposure to the material and testing experience before taking a high-stakes exam. Regular testing can also guide students to know exactly what they are struggling with. Offer students frequent opportunities to quiz themselves on the material and provide clear feedback to help them know what to study next. 

    Promote collaboration. 
    Research shows that students learn best in a community, and learning from peers can save time for the instructor. AI tutors can also answer questions and prompt students to engage in active learning practices. 

    Signs that your students are studying effectively 

    Ensuring students are using the best study habits can be tricky. You can ensure your students are being productive outside of the classroom by looking for a few signs. According to the ICAP framework, students that are actively learning can: 

    • ask insightful questions 
    • discuss, challenge, and debate 
    • instruct others 
    • draw connections between concepts 

    Integrating active learning in your course 

    When I was looking for ways to get my students engaged and promote better study habits, I found that educational tools like digital flashcards and collaborative notetaking prompted more active thinking. Pearson offers a dynamic learning experience built to help students engage in active learning. Together, we can help students leverage the benefits of digital tools for learning. 

  • A diverse group of students sitting in a classroom, focused and engaged.

    What Students Love about Pearson

    By Rachel Droste

    It’s the season of love, and at Pearson, there’s nothing we love more than helping students succeed. This Valentine’s Day, we asked students how Pearson helps them in their courses, and we’re excited to share the love!

    Features and tools

    From the convenience and accessibility, to the interactive and engaging features and tools, MyLab and Mastering have become the study buddies that students adore. Over 90% of students agree that Pearson helps them come to class better prepared and ready to learn. With personalization features that help students pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses, what’s not to love? One of the most popular features is the ‘Help Me Solve This’ tool in MyLab, which walks students through problems step by step. One student says, “I love the feature, it allows me to get my questions answered without having to be in person!” It’s important that students can work their way through problems they don’t understand without having to wait for extra help.

    Whether it’s built-in homework help or premade practice quizzes and flash cards, Pearson is always ready to help students save time studying. MyLab and Mastering cater to each individual student, helping them understand where they’re struggling or excelling in real time, “MyLab and Mastering are especially useful for topics that I may not be so strong in, as they give little reminders and tips to study specific problems.” says one student. When students are able to break down exactly what sections and problem types they struggle with the most, they don’t have to struggle looking for ways to fill the gap. Pearson is already there to guide them in the right direction. It’s a match made in academic heaven!

    Studying, reading, and homework, wherever you are

    Pearson makes it easy for students to stay on top of their assignments with the flexibility and accessibility that allows students to take their courses with them. On commutes students listen to the audio of their textbook or catch up on studying with their P+ app. “Pearson gives me the flexibility to have easy access wherever I am” says one student, “I can use it across multiple devices.” And with features like embedded videos, study tools, and interactive problems, 80% of students agree that Pearson products are more engaging than a traditional textbook. The convenience and ease of use MyLab and Mastering provide help students stay on top of their assignments. Students find they’re more organized when they use Pearson in their courses with one student saying “it’s so easy to navigate and it helps me stay on schedule and makes me more efficient when studying.” With the right tools, everyone has the opportunity to thrive in their courses, and at Pearson we love that we’re able to provide those tools.

    MyLab and Mastering are designed to meet students where they are, whether that’s physically on the go, or academically in class. Our tools and features help move students along in their courses without feeling like they’re being left behind. Over 77% of students recognize that MyLab and Mastering play a huge role in helping them sustain engagement within course materials, and many students use Pearson to help understand in class lectures better.

    Thanks for the LOVE!

    We love to hear from students, and we’re so proud to be able to spread that love this Valentine’s Day! And we LOVE to be able to partner with students to provide purpose-built learning platforms that help them achieve their academic goals. Happy Valentine’s Day!

  • College student looking at a laptop while studying in a group

    A Partnership for Success: How Carlos de la Lama uses MyLab to empower instructors and students

    By Rachel Droste

    Carlos de la Lama has integrated Pearson’s MyLab platform into approximately 80% of the courses he teaches.

    How did Pearson earn pride of place in the curricula of an esteemed higher ed math instructor with decades of experience?

    Carlos attributes his long partnership with Pearson to the strong relationships he has cultivated with Pearson representatives. These connections keep him at the forefront of technological advancements and enable him to utilize MyLab’s many resources to help his students succeed.

    Emphasizing accessible learning materials

    Pearson’s commitment to supporting every learner with accessible content and platforms is a primary reason why MyLab is Carlos’s go-to resource.

    When Carlos was teaching at Southwestern College in 2017, the school updated their accessibility standards and requested that any publisher they work with comply with the new changes.

    Many publishers refused, but Pearson saw SC’s change as an opportunity for growth and collaboration. By partnering with SC, Pearson ensured its platforms were accessible and became one of the few publishers that could provide services to the institution.

    Recently, the commitment to accessibility begun at SC earned Pearson the prestigious Global Certified Accessibly Certification (GCA) from Benetech.

    Balancing structure and customization in math instruction

    As an instructor, Carlos finds MyLab’s wealth of diverse and difficulty-tiered questions unparalleled. This flexibility allows him to tailor assessments and homework to meet the unique needs of his students.

    For example, Carlos strategically deploys MyLab in courses with historically low student success rates, such as Intermediate Algebra. By incorporating MyLab content into assessments and finals, spacing them strategically over weeks, and introducing pre-assessments as non-credit prerequisites, Carlos has been able to significantly improve math test scores, indicating heightened student engagement and mastery.

    For face-to-face courses, Carlos recommends starting small and carefully structuring individualized homework. Emphasizing the development of prerequisites, he believes, has been instrumental in his success.

    In hybrid or online courses, he says the same principles apply, with added considerations for assessment administration and leveraging MyLab resources to foster engagement.

    Helping students find success

    For Carlos, Pearson’s MyLab is an indispensable ally, shaping not only his teaching methodologies but also contributing significantly to increased student success. In the ever-evolving landscape of education, Carlos’s story stands as a beacon for instructors seeking to elevate the learning experience.

    Want to know more? Discover how to transform your teaching with MyLab Math.

  • Young woman with glasses looking at laptop screen.

    Revel was purposely built

    By Liz Lebold

    Some may think they know Revel; some people call it a digital textbook but they would be wrong. It’s so much more than that. Luckily, Pearson is here to reintroduce you to the real Revel. Revel is a comprehensive, dynamic education platform grounded in the subject matter expertise of world-class authors. Purposefully built to revolutionize the way educators teach and transform the way learners learn. Get ready to discover the incredible world of possibilities Revel offers.

    Immerse Students in Learning: Active participation is the key to learning, and Revel achieves this by integrating videos and interactives throughout the narrative, enabling students to analyze and apply key concepts actively while reading.

    “The video quizzes are a really good way to see how they apply the information, how they take it to the next level, and not just regurgitate or repeat what they’ve learned.” – Shawn Davis, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

    Improve Student Performance: Revel's quizzes and educator dashboard help measure progress and adjust teaching strategies to support student success. The Revel Mobile app lets instructors monitor their students’ progress away from the classroom.

    “I like the ability to see how much of my class is submitting their assignments and where there’s low activity.” Those are very helpful. I like being able to identify what is challenging them.” – Daniella Cope, Pennsylvania Highlands Community College

    Enable Anywhere, Anytime Learning: With the Revel app, students can learn on the go, because students today need flexibility and accessibility.

    “Being able to open their textbook on their smartphone or tablet, having earbuds and listening to the text, highlighting something to export later, those things help. Having the textbook at their fingers and being able to listen to something really reinforces what they have already read. It is a great benefit to students, and it provides reinforcement to what they are learning, so that’s the most successful part, I would say.” – Dr. Erica Wattley, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

    Deliver World-Class Content: Revel enlivens expert subject matter with interactive elements, promoting an immersive experience that helps students better understand and apply what they're learning.

    “I always look for the Cadillac version of something because that will give me all the bells and whistles that I need to be able to use and be very proficient in the course. If I don’t have the instructor resources, then I am spending all my time just reading the book and tailoring the course to this particular text. I don’t have enough time, then, to actually do the engagement aspect that makes the course more beneficial to the students. Having those resources as a baseline and then elevating from there is why I keep coming back to Revel, over and over again.” – Dr Antoinette Maldonado-Devincci, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

    Learn more about Revel >

    Take a look at our new Revel video below.