Top Post-COVID Educational Publishing Trends: The New Normal
February 17 2023
Post Covid Educational publishing trends

COVID-19 forced so many changes in every industry. Things that were evolving slowly before the pandemic suddenly changed fast because people couldn’t interact in person. Educational publishing was no exception.

A significant part of the academic publishing industry is still struggling to move from print to digital distribution. Some content creators have more successfully leaped Into the brave new post-COVID educational environment. No matter where you are on that continuum, it’s essential to know and understand the latest academic publishing trends so you can get up to speed or stay ahead of the curve.

Digital learning IS the future

From K-12 through college and beyond, digital learning has been completely transformed. Even with students back in school, digital technology is here to stay.

Of course, the pandemic made it clear that digital learning isn’t the ultimate solution. Learners everywhere are still recovering from the lack of in-person class time.

However, teachers, schools, and school districts everywhere are coming up with blended learning solutions that incorporate the best of their pre-pandemic classroom instruction with all they learned about digital education in recent years.

To navigate this accelerated digital trajectory,  educational publishers, and EdTech companies need to quickly move away from focusing on textbook titles toward all-inclusive cloud-based services and subscription bundles of all types of content.

Increased content repurposing and reuse

With the rapid digitization of educational publishing, and the increased demand for content in novel format types, including videos, games, and animations, publishers are being forced to repurpose and reformat their material quickly. This is creating a publishing crunch. Spending time updating old materials keeps publishers from developing their next generation of content.

The good news is that companies like EdGate can help with this issue. We’re experts at cost-effectively and accurately repurposing educational content. The people on our team can take responsibility for extending the life of your content catalog while you focus on what you do best — creating new materials.

Learning is becoming more personalized

Publishers have known for a long time that with standardized learning, it’s easy for students to fall behind or be held back from achieving their full potential.

The increase in digitized education during COVID-19 made learning more flexible, allowing students to choose their journeys and explore at their own pace. Publishers can expect that the use of technology to offer personalized and self-paced learning will increase significantly in the years ahead. This will allow students to review a lesson as many times as they need to, on a device of their preference, without necessarily feeling judged or pressured to keep pace with their peers. Students who are capable of speeding ahead will be able to, without the stigma of being labeled an overachiever.

This will turn academic publishing on its head: no more beginning-to-end, cover-to-cover journeys. Instead, you’ll have to provide students with choices, not just in the narrative but in the media and delivery method.

The rapid increase in smartphone use in education

The increase in smartphones for learning is forcing publishers to rethink how they present content. Instead of long streams of words in textbooks, educational publishers will have to learn what other content developers have known for a long time. Even the most complex content must be formatted as videos, lists, charts, graphs, tables, infographics, and other things that are digestible on small screens. This will take an entirely new way of thinking about content development.

Publishers will likely need to take material written by academic writers and spend additional time reworking it into formats today’s digital learners can consume.

The good news is that companies like EdGate are experts in formatting educational content in ways today’s students respond to. Publishers can focus on what they do best: Creating new content. EdGate can repurpose it correctly and cost-effectively.

The popularity of rental eBooks

People rent everything online these days, including clothes, bags, homes, and transportation. The next frontier is rental eBooks for education. A report by Technavio predicts a rapid annual increase of 23 percent in the rental digital textbook market through the year 2025.

This change is forcing educational publishers to completely rethink their sales and overall economic models. Instead of being book sellers, they’re forced to turn into digital rental companies. The textbook sales process is no longer once and done. It’s an ongoing series of rental experiences of digital books with content that must be constantly updated to meet the changing needs of students.

To facilitate this change, academic publishers must outsource what they can, such as compliance with educational standards, extending content use to more media types, and handling reviews, to a company like EdGate. It gives them more time to focus on what’s important, including restructuring their businesses during these challenging times.

Content goes interactive

Reading educational content is no longer enough for most students today. Like all other aspects of life, they expect learning to be interactive — and fun. It isn’t enough for a textbook to communicate at students. It must get into a dialogue with them, giving them a chance to ask questions, explore options, check out new things, and more.

This trend toward interactivity will continue on into the future, forcing publishers to continue to rethink not just how to produce educational content, but also to reconsider what it is.

This will make the transition from print to digital seem really small. Bigger changes are yet to come, and publishers will need to stay ahead of the curve just to survive. To thrive, they’ll have to imagine a learning future that may not yet exist.

Post-pandemic educational publishing: Final thoughts

Since the global pandemic struck, academic publishers have found themselves at the center of a storm. The industry was quick to adapt. However, adapting will no longer be enough. What learners were willing to tolerate in a crisis, they won’t be willing to accept in the brave new world of interactive digital education.

To effectively navigate these changing times, educational publishers must be aware of and respond to the trends discussed in this article. Not only that, they must look ahead to further change that will come at a more rapid pace. The only way they can do this is to outsource some of the things that are not central to academic publishing to experts like those at EdGate.