vocational education on a global scale

The Pearson Progress platform offers an integrated customer journey for a complex ecosystem with one goal: to provide the best possible vocational education around the globe.

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A platform that enables vocational education on a global scale

The need for high-quality vocational training is increasing worldwide. Domain expert Pearson is in a prime position to capitalise on this demand and expand its international footprint even further.

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To support their ambitions, Supercharge created a digital platform that provides integrated customer experience for a complex ecosystem of teachers, students and Pearson mentors.

Scaling such a human-centred service on a global level was no easy task, but our team made sure to remove all bottlenecks with ingenious digital solutions.

About our client: Pearson

Pearson is the largest education company in the world, employing over 22,500 people across 70 countries. It provides content, assessments and digital services to learners, educational institutions, employers, governments and other partners on a global scale.

The challenge: make education scalable with digitalisation

Pearson’s BTEC service line is one of the market leaders in vocational education, enabling education centres around the world to provide top-quality programmes to their students. BTECs are specific vocational qualifications in various career areas. Pearson develops the qualifications and verifies that standards are being upheld by all their contracted education partners.

Besides dominating the UK market, BTEC programmes are also offered internationally to help students acquire skills that focus on employability. Pearson’s current goal is to make BTEC the leading vocational education solution in multiple emerging markets, drastically expanding the number of centres around the globe. We started to work with their education experts to figure out how digitisation would support their massive scaling plans – and also to elevate the customer experience for all participants of the complex BTEC ecosystem.

Customer needs in focus

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Pearson’s new “Progress” platform went from discovery to MVP in under six months, following an agile process that iterated the product based on feedback received from the education centres.

Our first step was to explore Pearson’s business context and goals through conducting intensive discovery workshops. We proceeded with organising field studies in multiple markets and visiting education centres with various profiles. Observing their everyday operations, we aimed to map out the needs and pain points of all stakeholders of this multi-faceted ecosystem.

Interviewing students, teachers and administrators helped us to establish a level of understanding crucial to create a solution that would carry a significant positive impact for all of its users. Keeping close contact with customers was imperative during the entire product development process. We knew that this type of platform could only become successful if it fitted the centres’ intricate everyday proceedings like a glove and the best way to ensure this was by continuously channelling their insights back into the design.

As the launch drew closer, we invited the centres to test the new product through a pilot programme. This allowed them to try our platform before the new education year kicked off, and also offered us additional feedback that helped us refine the roadmap.

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Innovation on solid foundations

After carefully prioritising business and customer needs we pinpointed certain fundamental processes where digitalisation would provide the largest impact on the centres’ daily operations. Our main goal was to reduce the administrative burden and allow educators to focus on the most important part of their job: teaching and mentoring students. We created a fully paperless process, in which assembling programmes, running assessments, collecting and grading student work are all parts of a single, integrated digital experience. Our first step was laying down the foundations by ensuring that every piece of data would be created and stored within the platform, which would serve as the basis of all future innovation efforts. 

Once we created this solid bedrock, our teams could start to get creative about how the platform could truly transform the future of vocational training in multiple domains: quality assurance, mentoring and even community building. 

Simple journeys through a complex landscape

BTEC is one of the world’s most sophisticated educational programmes. It offers a high level of flexibility to fit the needs of students with different goals and backgrounds who pursue different careers. Our goal was to simplify this complexity and create straightforward digital journeys supported by contextual guidance to empower teachers and administrators alike.

The end result is a platform that makes it much easier for new centres to start delivering BTEC programmes by guiding their daily work and providing continuous support. A well-designed digital tool that helps centres through this first phase can become a true stepping stone for international expansion.

A new world where platforms and services merge

For a complex global education service like BTEC, offering the right digital framework has become a critical part of the core value proposition. Today the boundaries between a product’s physical and digital elements can become blurry, and customers start to look at a digital platform as the manifestation of the service itself.

Pearson recognised this trend and safeguarded the digital future of BTEC by launching the Progress platform. Now BTEC and the digital platform can continue to evolve together as an integrated proposition to answer the changing needs of the education market. The sector is currently in the midst of an unprecedented transformation – and we are proud to play an important role in this journey as an innovation partner supplementing Pearson’s world-class education expertise with our digital know-how.

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