The ELTjam Publishing Collection

These posts include articles and opinion on how publishers might adapt and thrive as online and mobile become the new normal. We’ve also got interviews with current and former staff from most of the major publishers.

What is Learner Experience Design?

We introduced the concept of Learner Experience Design (LXD) within ELT back in 2016. Since then, we’ve continued to develop it, and it now forms the bedrock of most of the work we do with our clients in the design and development of learning products. At our recent InnovateEdTech conference in London, we took the opportunity to ask some of the delegates and speakers what Learner Experience Design means to them. Here, we share some of their fascinating responses – both from within ELT and beyond.

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Addressing access to English for refugees and asylum seekers: An interview with Anna Lloyd from Cambridge English Language Assessment

Towards the end of 2016, Cambridge English Language Assessment held the ‘Access to English for Refugees and Asylum Seekers’ conference with Techfugees –  a social enterprise mobilising the international tech community to respond to the refugee crisis. We spoke to Anna Lloyd, Head of Education Technology at Cambridge English Language Assessment and member of the Techfugees Cambridge chapter, about how the partnership came about and what solutions have come out if it so far …

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The new wave of learning styles

It’s pretty widely accepted that the concept of learning styles is unsubstantiated. There is a distinct lack of evidence to suggest that catering specifically for audio-linguistic learners, or kinaesthetic learners, or whatever the others are, has any actual benefit. As far as cold hard evidence goes, it just doesn’t stack up, which is a worry to the small nation of educational consultants and publishing companies that have forged a lucrative career advocating learning-style oriented teaching strategies.

All’s not lost, however, as a brand spanking new set of learning styles has been identified by educational researchers at the London Institute of Education Studies, and there is more than enough debate surrounding them to power the next decade of educational keynote speeches.

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What could ELT publishers learn from startups about product-market fit?

How many of your customers would be very disappointed if one of your products ceased to exist tomorrow? How many would register it only momentarily before replacing it with something that, as far as they’re concerned, is more or less interchangeable? My guess would be that (in the majority of cases) they would be only marginally inconvenienced, and this is something of an inconvenient truth in ELT publishing. Right now, we’re witnessing Product/Market Fill, when what we should be aiming for is Product/Market Fit. What does that mean, and what can publishers do about it?

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Notes from the oil tanker

Few words have been so prevalent in ELT as ‘EdTech’ and it has not been unusual to attend conferences where perhaps more than half of the talks on the schedule made at least some reference to the impending digital disruption sweeping into our sector and how best to prepare for it, avoid it or pretend it didn’t exist. Pearson’s Brian Engquist gives us his take on how to proceed.

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Applying the Pareto Principle to ELT Publishing

The acronym MVP, or Minimum Viable Product, seems to be popping up in conversations with ELT publishers all over the place right now; and that’s odd, because up until about 2013, I’d never heard a publisher mention it. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, an MVP is a tactic used in product development to gauge customer interest in a new product or product feature. The idea is that you don’t build the whole thing; you just build enough to see whether people might be interested in what you’re proposing. What many people seem to actually be doing with their MVP is applying the Pareto Principle. Otherwise known as the 80–20 rule

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Ten tips for getting into digital materials writing

Getting into digital materials writing is still a goal for many. Good luck if you’re one of them and here are some tips to help. While not comprehensive, the list is the real deal and reflects the big changes happening right now in ELT publishing as a result of the rush to digital. It’s aimed more at those trying to get in as new writers, rather than established authors.

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What publishers and writers can do about piracy right now … and in the future

If you haven’t already read Nick Robinson’s excellent post on ELTjam about book piracy and the lively conversation it’s started, go check it out. To sum it up, just about every ELT textbook that’s ever been published (including mine) have been ripped off by pirates and put on innumerable free PDF download sites all over the Internet. The conversation has branched off in many directions: Is piracy really that bad? Is copyright law generally a moral thing? Are authors totally screwed? And so on. One thing I think hasn’t been addressed fully is what we can do to limit piracy or make it work for us. Expanding on suggestions I’ve made in comments on the original post, why can’t some of these things be done?

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Interview with a publisher Pt. 3/3

And so my interview with John Tuttle draws to a close with this final instalment. So far we’ve covered the evolution of the ELT industry and the how the role of publisher will continue to develop, and what the future may hold for ‘guru’ authors and the new generation of content writers. Now our conversation turns to adaptive learning and what lies ahead in the world of EdTech …

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Interview with a publisher Pt. 1/3

In all of the recent debate on this site about the future of ELT, the voice of the ELT publisher has often been noticeably absent . With this in mind, we thought it would be interesting to get the views of a board-level ELT publisher to get their reaction to the conversations taking place about and around them. In this first instalment John Tuttle, until recently the Deputy Managing Director of ELT at Cambridge University Press, tells us about the evolution of the ELT publishing industry and some of the common misconceptions surrounding its key players.

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In defense of meerkats

Guest post by ELT publisher Janet Aitchison, in response to Steve Elsworth’s post, The monetary value of ELT authors.

Not all publishers think there is no place for writers in the digital future. The writers’ role and the means of remuneration will be different from what it was in the heyday of ELT publishing, no doubt, but any publisher worth their salt knows that however clever the software, however many bells and whistles it has, without well-written, motivating, fun content, students will not engage and will therefore not succeed.

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Iterative publishing in ELT – 10 reasons why it will and won’t work

One of the big buzzwords in ELT publishing at the moment is iterative publishing – the idea, borrowed from the software and startup world, that products should be in a constant state of evolution and improvement in response to changing market conditions, requirements from big customers or new technologies. The whole concept of ‘editions’ is apparently past its sell-by date in the internet age – too redolent of the dusty old print era.

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An ELT publisher’s survival plan

It’s crunch time for ELT publishers. There are a few more years left for the traditional ELT publishing business to stagger on, possibly even quite profitably for some. But we all know it’s on the way out, as evidenced by the attempts – with varying degrees of conviction – of the existing players to turn their businesses into ones capable of surviving and thriving in a world populated by rapidly changing student expectations and super-ambitious and rapacious EdTech start-ups who will very happily destroy the cosy world of ELT.

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For ELT publishing people, which path to choose?

Last week, Karen White from ELTTeacher2Writer shared a great article from Digiday, in which they asked digital and print media editors to share the best career advice they'd ever received. One item that jumped out at me was this, from Scott Stossel, editor of The...

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Disruptor or disrupted? How to be among the 9% that survive

A recent scary-sounding post on FutureBook (Will you be in the nine percent of publishers that survive?) about recent research into disruptive innovation got me thinking about what it might mean for ELT publishing. A few weeks ago I posted a primer on disruptive innovation in which I made the case for EdTech as a disruptive force in ELT. I thought it might be interesting now to delve into this a bit more and explore what it is that a disruptive ELT publisher might do, and how to avoid being among the ranks of the disrupted.

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Developing ebooks for ELT – 10 questions to ask before you begin

ebooks are fast becoming something that ELT publishers simply have to be able to deliver in a world that’s lurching towards the paperless classroom. However, moving from print to ebooks is much easier said than done, especially if you’re adapting an existing (and possibly old) print book, and there a number of hurdles which might not be immediately obvious. Here’s my starter for 10. Each of these is a whole topic in itself, and I’ve raised more questions than answers, so let’s consider this just a starting point!

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Got a suggestion for a post to add to this collection? Or maybe you’d like to write a guest post? We’d love to hear from you.

If you’re a publisher and you’d like help developing digital products, working on your digital strategy or training you and team in digital, we can help.

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