Pearson is at the Top of the Class with Xamarin

Jo Ann Buckner

Pearson LogoPearson is the world’s leading learning company, with 40,000 employees in over 80 countries helping people of all ages make measurable educational progress. Recently they introduced the Pearson System of Courses (PSOC), a vertically and horizontally aligned system that supports learning, motivation, and engagement through a coherent curriculum covering math from K-11 and English Language Arts for K-12, with a unique digital design that makes use of tablets and mobile devices. Pearson recognized the need to support multiple devices and operating systems early on, but while the importance of a cross-platform approach was obvious, the company was disappointed in the quality and fidelity of the options it tested.

Pearson found the expertise it sought in Xamarin Partner Fino Consulting, an IT consulting firm based in New York City. Xamarin enabled Fino to leverage key components of Pearson’s existing iOS codebase to achieve 65% shared code and create a solution that could be supported on a wide variety of devices. This shared code not only dramatically reduced total development time across all platforms, but also increased stability and performance. Further quality control comes from Xamarin Insights, an intelligent analytics and crash reporting system that helps the team spot potential problems early in the development cycle, before they create problems for PSOC users.

Pearson found Microsoft Azure to be the perfect complement to Xamarin, providing support for anticipated loads of 40 TB in the first year of operation for cross-platform tablet interfaces on iOS, Windows 8.1, and soon, Android.

Pearson PSOC app on an Apple iPad

“PSOC moves a terrific amount of data around,” explains Keith O’Conner, Director at Fino Consulting. “The digital curriculum can be media rich. It’s one thing to have someone at home downloading a movie that’s 1 GB, but it’s a different situation when you have 1,000 students in a single school who need to download 5 or 10 GB each. There can be huge challenges around managing that content flow and facilitating the data transfer.”

PSOC, already active in eight school districts serving 85,000 students in 2014, is expected to grow by about 50% by the end of 2015. With Xamarin and Microsoft Azure in their corner, Pearson and Fino are confident in PSOC’s ability to go the distance:

“The robustness of the Xamarin Platform and its alignment with .NET make it a powerful tool to take advantage of,” says Christian Jungers, CTO of Fino Consulting. “Few companies in technology are so active with respect to introducing solid new features every year that directly address the needs of their customers.”


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