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Featured Member: David Glover of Learning Media

By February 2, 2011April 11th, 2014No Comments


“We’re a 103 year old company trying to think like a start up. We take nothing for granted and want to make sure everything we do is built on innovative, high quality thinking,” says Learning Media’s chief executive David Glover.

Learning Media is one of the smaller State-Owned Enterprises (its shareholders are the education and finance ministers), but is New Zealand’s largest educational publisher and services company. Coming from a rich heritage beginning in 1907 with the first School Journal, the company now earns around $24 million in annual revenues from its publishing and professional development services.

Learning Media employs over 100 in-house project managers, editors,designers and other staff, and contracts authors and illustrators from a contributor pool that’s a thousand strong. It is also a successful exporter to the US and 35 other countries, earning New Zealand between $3 –5 million in annual overseas sales in recent years.

So what are the company’s products? In New Zealand Learning Mediaoffers a range of titles under its three Literacy ranges, which encompass resources from kindergarten right through to year 10. The Skyrider ranges amount to 348 titles in total. New products include the edgy Highwire Magazine series designed to motivate older reluctant readers, and Strategy Zone, innovative software for interactive whiteboards which enables teachers to focus on teaching one comprehension strategy at a time in a whole class or small group setting.

Similar products, customised to local markets, sell under other names internationally.

Learning Media is also a busy contract publisher, producing publications to order for its clients. A recent project was preparing part of a large multi-grade reading resource for publication by McGraw Hill in the United States. The Ministry of Education is the company’s major domestic client, and it also manages the production and publishing of all the Ministry of Health’s education and information resources, and specific projects for other public sector and corporate clients.

In the 2009-10 year, Learning Media printed more than 2 million individual education items; these included the well-known School Journal and Ready to Read, as well as maths, science and other curriculum resources. Learning Media is also New Zealand’s largest publisher of te reo Māori and Pasifika education

“We print most of the Ministry of Education resources in New Zealand, with the exception of some reprints. Most resources for the US market are printed there, but resources for Standard English markets tend to be printed here and shipped,” says Learning Media marketing and communications manager Margaret Styles.

Learning Media also increasingly develops websites and other digital materials – their own website is good looking and user-friendly.

David Glover is quick to point out that educational publishing requirements today are a far cry from what today’s middle-aged would have received in their school year. “For a long time educational publishers didn’t know how people actually learned. A nice illustrated reading book was a good as it got!

“Now we know a lot more about learning styles, concepts like neuroplasticity and how the brain works, and that we must make learning culturally relevant. And the finished effort still has to look great! The science behind things pedagogical, and how to incorporate it into learning is a rare, rare talent – and Learning Media has some fabulous expertise in this area. We consult all over the world.”

Kudos for Learning Media came recently when David Glover was elected the first non-US member on the board of the Association of Educational Publishers, which covers all suppliers to the US educational publishing industry.

He values Learning Media’s experience in the American market. “We’ve been there for 15 years, which gives us an unparalleled insight into the world’s most competitive marketplace. It’s becoming highly technical and advances are coming through at the rate of knots.”

Glover’s own training expertise was gained in adult education – he was a principal and owner of David Forman – providers of sales, leadership and management training – following his earlier career in advertising and marketing. Skills that have clearly crossed over to the education area.

 “Learning Media’s aim is world class educational solutions. I jotted our achievements down the other day and I listed 12 things before realising we’ve got lots. But there is still further to go in professional development and digital education.”

And as for those School Journals on which Leaning Media was founded – they’ve got every one of them ever printed, and so has the National Library.