Pearson’s strategy pays off as Covid-19 accelerates online learning

LONDON: The outgoing boss of Pearson hailed the success on Wednesday of his lengthy and often painful battle to rebuild the education group for a digital generation after Covid-19 accelerated the switch to online learning.

John Fallon, who issued a string of profit warnings as students moved from expensive textbooks to digital learning, said the company would not have been able to cope with the rapid shift online during the pandemic had it not previously prepared.

The group’s performance was boosted by a 32% jump in global online learning in its third quarter.

“The last few years have been hard for our shareholders and everybody involved but we have stayed true to our purpose,” he told reporters. “The future of learning is digital and as you can see from these trends, Pearson is going to play a very very big part in it.” Pearson’s shares rose 3% in early trading.

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt cuts 525 jobs as COVID-19 accelerates online learning

Boston-based textbook publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt said Thursday it is laying off 525 employees as the coronavirus pandemic accelerates the shift to digital learning tools.

The company disclosed in a public filing that the reduction comes as part of Houghton Mifflin’s “ongoing assessment of its cost structure amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” and it is in line with the digital strategy the company first proposed to investors last October. The company’s stock closed up over 16 percent on the news.

A company spokesperson declined to break down how many Boston employees have been affected.

The layoff — along with a recently introduced early retirement program, which 166 employees opted into means the company has trimmed its workforce by 22 percent. That figure accounts for an undisclosed number of newly added digital-first jobs.

“As districts embrace new remote learning formats and rely more heavily on digital solutions than ever before, HMH

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