Changes in Learning as Seen from a ‘Quarterback’ on the Front Lines

Where We’ve Come and Where We’re Going

“Traditionally, learning tools for schools were a hodgepodge trail mix of online solutions,” says Tyler Higgins, a Portfolio Manager at Pearson.


“Few of those solutions were integrated,” he says, “and they weren’t very user friendly.”

Tyler has a unique view of these solutions.

At Pearson, he manages teams and projects tasked with building tomorrow’s learning tools for higher education.

“We’re headed in a direction where these tools are far more integrated and far more useable, such as with Digital Direct Access to eTexts and courses,” Tyler says.

Large-Scale, Integrated Online Learning

Consider what Tyler and his many colleagues accomplished at Texas Southmost College.

“The school’s president, Dr. Lily Tercero, wanted to transform their curriculum to help their community in new ways,” Tyler says.

More than a third of the area’s residents live below the poverty line.

BROWNSVILLE, TX - May 16, 2015 - John Fallon, Chief Executive Officer of Pearson addresses Texas Southmost College Spring Commencement Exercises. (Brad Doherty/AP Images for Pearson)
LearnED covered the unique curriculum at Texas Southmost in a previous story: “Two Affordable Journeys to College and Career.”

“We worked with Texas Southmost to provide an integrated, digital, online learning experience that had not been available to most students prior to college,” Tyler says.

On the Pearson side, it was the first time the company worked to integrate such a large volume of courses. The project was driven by a quick timeframe. And, dozens collaborated on the project for the first time.

“The Pearson team found a new, collaborative way of working and integrating our products,” Tyler says, “and helped Texas Southmost step into the new world of online learning.”

One Student’s Story

Texas Southmost’s website tells the story of one student who has benefitted from this online learning experience.

Alain Barrera graduated high school in 1991 but lacked a lot of family structure to give him advice about college and beyond.

After getting laid off from a retail job—supporting a wife and two teenage children—he enrolled in Texas Southmost to pursue and associate degree in business administration.

“(Alain) takes at least four courses per semester and has embraced TSC’s fully digital learning environment. He enjoys having the additional flexibility of using the tools that the college’s learning management system offers students, as well as its cost savings.”

‘Clearing a Path to Success’

“This kind of learning experience can happen when we bring our best,” Tyler says.

For Tyler and many of the other Pearson Project Managers, this means they have their Project Management Professional Certification.

It means a high standard of quality is being passed on from the development of Pearson learning products all the way to their eventual use by students.

“The project manager is often the face of a project,” Tyler says, “but there are dozens and dozens of people behind the scenes—from subject matter experts to user experience designers—who deserve as much of the credit.”

As Tyler explains, “As a Project Manager, I’m like the quarterback on the front line of efforts to deliver innovations in learning.”

“And Project Managers love being a part of creative solutions to new problems in education that, in the end, bring better learning to the world.”

A recent photo of Pearson's North America Professional Services Project Management Office team.
A recent photo of Pearson’s North America Professional Services Project Management Office team.