Discovery Education Grows VR and AR Content with Inspyro Acquisition

edsurge | August 19, 2019

Discovery Education, a K-12 digital curriculum and learning services provider based in Silver Spring, Md., has acquired Inspyro, a provider of virtual reality and augmented reality content. Terms were not disclosed. Discovery bought Inspyro to boost its in-house capabilities to design, build and integrate of VR and AR content across its digital services, according to a statement. Discovery will add this content to its math, science and social studies digital textbooks and to its Discovery Education Experience learning platform. Over five million educators and 51 million students worldwide use Discovery services. Founded in 2017, Inspyro has created curriculum-aligned modules for science, history and geography instruction across the U.K. The company is now part of Discovery Education’s U.K. division. In 2018, private equity firm Francisco Partners bought a majority stake in Discovery Education for $120 million. VR educational content has also drawn investor attention lately, with companies like Interplay Learning, MEL Science and Labster reporting new fundraising rounds this year.

Spotlight

The idea behind Open Educational Resources (OER) is simple but powerful—educational materials made freely and legally available on the Internet for anyone to reuse, revise, remix and redistribute. 1 These digital materials have the potential to give people everywhere equal access to our collective knowledge and provide many more people around the world with access to quality education by making lectures, books and curricula widely available on the Internet for little or no cost.

Spotlight

The idea behind Open Educational Resources (OER) is simple but powerful—educational materials made freely and legally available on the Internet for anyone to reuse, revise, remix and redistribute. 1 These digital materials have the potential to give people everywhere equal access to our collective knowledge and provide many more people around the world with access to quality education by making lectures, books and curricula widely available on the Internet for little or no cost.

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CORPORATE EDUCATION AND TRAINING

Skillsoft to Acquire Codecademy, a Leading Platform for Learning High-Demand Technical Skills

Skillsoft | December 23, 2021

Skillsoft, a global leader in corporate digital learning, today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Codecademy, a leading online learning platform for technical skills, for approximately $525 million in cash and stock. Codecademy is an innovative and popular learning platform providing high-demand technical skills to approximately 40 million registered learners in nearly every country worldwide. The platform offers interactive, self-paced courses and hands-on learning in 14 programming languages across multiple domains such as application development, data science, cloud and cybersecurity. In addition, the Codecademy platform can rapidly expand to deliver new skills at scale, making it highly adaptable to the evolving technical needs of learners and their employers. Codecademy, which was founded in 2011 and is headquartered in New York, is led by a proven entrepreneurial team that has built one of the most admired technical skills learning platforms in the industry. “Codecademy will significantly expand Skillsoft’s capabilities in the high-growth Tech & Dev segment. Strategic acquisitions are an important part of our growth strategy. We acquired virtual instructor-led training capabilities with Global Knowledge and coaching with Pluma earlier this year. With the addition of Codecademy’s innovative capabilities, we will create an even more immersive online learning experience. When we combine Skillsoft’s enterprise customer base of more than 12,000 corporate customers and over 46 million learners with Codecademy’s 40 million learners, sophisticated digital marketing capability and influential brand, we expect to unlock significant revenue synergies.” Jeffrey R. Tarr, Chief Executive Officer of Skillsoft Following the close of the transaction, the Codecademy team will join Skillsoft to help further build out the leading technical skills training solution for learners globally. “Since our founding, Codecademy has been focused on empowering our learners to build inspiring careers in technology,” said Zach Sims, founder and CEO of Codecademy. “We have helped tens of millions of people around the world learn new technology skills. Together with Skillsoft, we will have the opportunity to rapidly increase the size of our content library and scale Codecademy across the millions of learners and thousands of companies – including approximately 75% of the Fortune 1000 – that work with Skillsoft worldwide. With additional resources and opportunities to drive growth, we are excited to embark on this important next chapter.” Strategic Rationale and Benefits Creates a Leading Technology & Developer Offering. Adding Codecademy’s expertise in 14 programming languages across multiple domains to Skillsoft’s existing technical skills offering will create a leader in the high-demand, high-growth Tech & Dev segment. In addition, the capability of the Codecademy platform to rapidly add new programming languages and technical skills at scale will further enhance Skillsoft’s ability to meet the evolving demands of learners worldwide as it helps organizations address the critical technical skills gap. Expands Immersive Platform with New Ways of Learning. Skillsoft has already assembled an expansive set of learning options, including virtual instructor-led training, coaching, micro videos, audio, books, bootcamps, live events, assessments and badges. Together with Codecademy’s interactive, self-paced courses and hands-on learning, Skillsoft will be able to deliver even more immersive experiences through its AI-driven platform, Percipio. Creates Substantial Cross-Selling and Upselling Opportunities by Adding a Strong Brand and Powerful Digital Sales and Marketing Engine to Global Enterprise Sales Force. The acquisition will bring together Codecademy’s sophisticated direct-to-learner digital sales and marketing engine and Skillsoft’s enterprise sales organization, creating new opportunities to upsell and cross-sell across each company’s customer base, which is expected to drive customer growth and revenue synergies. Expected to Be Significantly Accretive to Bookings and Revenue Growth Immediately Upon Closing. Codecademy is expected to deliver approximately $47 million in bookings and approximately $42 million in revenue for the calendar year ended December 31, 2021, up 23% and 31%, respectively, over the prior year. Codecademy is entirely a SaaS business and is expected to deliver gross margins of more than 85% in 2021 and be accretive to Skillsoft’s gross margin immediately upon closing. Codecademy is investing to fuel growth and, accordingly, is expected to generate negative EBITDA of approximately $20 million in 2021. Skillsoft expects it will accelerate Codecademy’s growth in its first year of ownership and that the acquisition will be accretive to EBITDA over the long term. About Codecademy Codecademy is a leading online learning platform for technical skills, empowering approximately 40 million people worldwide to lead inspiring careers in technology. Codecademy’s innovative, scalable approach to online coding education makes it possible for anyone to master the skills needed to succeed in our tech-enabled workforce. Since 2011, learners from more than 150 countries have accessed Codecademy’s extensive course offerings on web development, data science, cybersecurity, and more, as well as in-demand programming languages like Python, CSS, and JavaScript. In addition to helping individuals unlock the full power of technology, Codecademy for Business supports companies like General Motors and Kayak as they train and upskill their teams for the future. Codecademy is headquartered in New York City. About Skillsoft Skillsoft is a global leader in corporate digital learning, focused on transforming today’s workforce for tomorrow’s economy. The Company provides enterprise learning solutions designed to prepare organizations for the future of work, overcome critical skill gaps, drive demonstrable behavior-change, and unlock the potential in their people. Skillsoft offers a comprehensive suite of premium, original, and authorized partner content, including one of the broadest and deepest libraries of leadership & business skills, technology & developer, and compliance curricula. With access to a broad spectrum of learning options (including video, audio, books, bootcamps, live events, and practice labs), organizations can meaningfully increase learner engagement and retention. Skillsoft’s offerings are delivered through Percipio, its award-winning, AI-driven, immersive learning platform purpose built to make learning easier, more accessible, and more effective.

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

Crystal Delta Enables Educators to Deliver Web-Like Online Learning Experiences in Blackboard

Crystal Delta | May 31, 2021

Crystal Delta recently released Loree for Blackboard to assist educators in improving the learning experience through more straightforward course design and editing. Loree (the course design tool) is now compatible with Blackboard. It is the only tool of its sort available for Blackboard learning management systems (LMS) and is widely used by Canvas and Brightspace customers worldwide."Our mission at Crystal Delta is to improve learning. The introduction of Loree for Blackboard improves the learner experience by enabling educators to create engaging content. We are delighted to support Blackboard's customers and learners." Crystal Delta CEO Balaji Baradhazhvar Loree is designed to benefit the K-12, Higher Education, Vocational Education, and Corporate Education sectors. "We highly recommend Loree if you're seeking a design solution that will grow with you over time," said Loree's client Gretta O. Rogne, Director of Digital Learning, New Caney ISD. Loree has several features that make course design and editing using Blackboard LMS easier, such as: • Web-like Experiences: the creation of engaging and responsive course pages with text, imagery, videos, and interactives (image sliders, flip cards, accordions, tabs, and more) inside of Blackboard • Accessibility Checker: Utilize Blackboard to ensure that your courses meet the particular needs of your learners. • Design and Share: Design, build, save, and share templates across your organization. • Integrations: Use Loree's seamless integration with H5P to easily embed interactive content in your Blackboard courses. "The involvement of a learner with course materials directly influences their success and satisfaction. Taking this into account, we aim to provide educators, learning designers, and anyone else who wants to create engaging, interactive, and transformative learning experiences with the tools they need to do so." Loree Product Owner Edina Cejvan Loree is now available for Blackboard Learn and will be available soon for Blackboard Ultra. Blackboard users may also expect a growing set of interactive modules, out-of-the-box templates based on learning best practices, analytics, and much more. "Our mission at Crystal Delta is to improve learning. The introduction of Loree for Blackboard improves the learner experience by enabling educators to create engaging content. We are delighted to support Blackboard's customers and learners." Crystal Delta CEO Balaji Baradhazhvar

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Hoonuit Introduces Digital Learning Analytics Dashboards to Help Educators Uncover Digital Learning Engagement and its Impact on Student Success

prnewswire | October 13, 2020

Hoonuit, a leading provider of data management and analytics solutions in education, announced today the introduction of new analytics that provide educators actionable insights about digital learning engagement. Hoonuit's Digital Learning Analytics dashboards are part of its Essentials Analytics solution suite and available to all K-12 districts nationwide. Since the onset of school closures due to COVID-19, there has been a significant surge in usage of virtual tutoring, video conferencing, and online learning software. Further, digital learning will be a fundamental component of schooling for the foreseeable future as social distancing requirements complicate traditional teaching.

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