Pearson

Improving literacy rates two grades at a time

Pearson was established in 1844 in Yorkshire, England, to add life to a lifetime of learning. Pearson uses its experience, knowledge, and technology to provide high-quality digital learning experiences and products to people worldwide. Pearson raised the education bar over the years by incorporating blended learning and artificial intelligence, which helps drive employability with a future-focused outlook.

Project introduction

Pearson regularly introduces various learning programs to help students learn better. One such program was the Inspire Literacy program, better known as iLit. This blended learning program would help engage students while enhancing their literacy skills and language development.

Since iLit was envisioned as an independent learning ecosystem across iPads and the web, Pearson was on the lookout for an exciting team that could help them design apps for the same. Thus, in 2012, Pearson approached us to develop the iLit apps for iOS and the web.

Challenge

Lacking in digital expertise

Since iLit was a blended learning and literacy program, Pearson already possessed the expertise in classroom learning. However, when it came to the digital aspect of the program, they did not possess the requisite capabilities in-house for app and web development.

Additionally, with the program having numerous important stakeholders, Pearson needed to rope in an experienced digital team that could develop engaging apps.

Approach

Building a mobile classroom

Mutual Mobile started work on this project in 2012 and incorporated numerous features for both iOS and the web. An important aspect to note was that we had to develop two separate applications for iLit—iLit Student and iLit Teacher. Each of the applications came equipped with exciting features to engage both students and teachers. 

The processes for this project were divided into sprints to make things easier for all teams involved. We incorporated numerous solutions and software to help enhance the applications and to make the entire process seamless. One of them was Apache’s CouchDB, which was integrated to support offline mode for the iOS apps. 

The Flask API was incorporated to assist with the web version of the applications. At the same time, Zenoss and Graphite were included to assist with the performance reporting facet of the applications. Furthermore, AWS instances were upgraded for the cloud services layer to assist with scalability and huge volumes. 

"Through our work with Mutual Mobile, we were able to unlock the real benefits of mobile devices in the classroom—granular insight into the students’ activities—and package that to not only help students, but provide an invaluable resource to educators, administrations and entire districts." - Doug McCollum, Senior Vice President, Pearson Education.

Outcome

Inspired students. Happy teachers.

Our team was excited to get started working on this interesting project since it signaled our foray into the sphere of education. 

Despite the challenges that we faced along the way, Pearson’s iLit turned out to be a fruitful project for both Pearson and us. 

The in-app content, and the design and user flow of the apps helped energize and motivate students to read, which ultimately helped improve student literacy grades by almost two grade levels. 

Together, we build better

Every great idea needs a great team that gets it. Combine our experience of building award-winning apps with an idea that disrupts. Contact us to get started.