AWS Public Sector Blog

Pearson announces new Alexa Skill at Imagine EDU

Pearson announced a new Alexa skill for their Revel product at the “AWS Imagine: A Better World,”A Global Education Conference in Seattle. This free skill gives users convenient access to Revel courses on any Alexa-enabled device. Now, students looking for information on upcoming assignments or those who want to review a concept can just ask Alexa.

Revel is Pearson’s fully digital learning environment hosted on AWS. With Revel, students can access courses on everything from art history and philosophy to computer programming and finance. Revel blends digital text, media, and assessments to offer an interactive learning experience that deepens student understanding of key concepts.

Andrew Gilfillan, VP, Courseware Product Management for Pearson says, “Revel is growing rapidly. We have hundreds of thousands of students using the product annually across a range of disciplines. We have 400 specific titles available.”

The Alexa skill will modernize the learning experience for a wide range of students. Gilfillan says, “The way students consume and acquire content has been changing rapidly. Pearson as a company is going through a digital transformation. We’re trying to not only respond to trends, but also to stay ahead of them in the marketplace. Using Alexa is one of the ways we’re doing that.”

As students’ lives change, their learning methods and needs are also transforming. Gilfillan explains, “We want to meet students where they are. In today’s world, students are on the go. They have competing priorities with families, activities, jobs, and more. Our Alexa skill enables students to do their school work on their own terms, anywhere, anytime. We want students to have access to more convenient learning.” Using Alexa, Pearson provides a flexible, engaging, and accessible way to learn.

If students want to keep track of upcoming assignments, they can open the Revel skill on any Alexa-enabled device and ask, “what’s my next assignment in Pearson Revel?” Students can also use Alexa to help them study. They can ask Alexa to play a chapter and, using Pearson’s audio playlist feature, they can listen to the text. One key advantage of the audio playlist feature is that it allows students to keep track of their place when studying. “Students can change devices or switch locations and Alexa knows exactly where they left off. With this feature, we’re addressing convenience and engagement. When students are more engaged, they’re more likely to learn, and for a lot of students, audio will be a way for them to engage,” said Gilfillan. Allowing students to pause-and-resume on their own terms is one way the Alexa skill will increase flexibility to accommodate learners’ busy lives.

To build their custom skill, Pearson used the Alexa Skill Kit (ASK) along with AWS services, including AWS Lambda and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). Pearson’s Revel skill delivers a personalized learning experience to customers through Account Linking where users can link the skill with their existing Revel account. The custom skill also incorporates the AudioPlayer Interface to provide an interactive experience where users can listen to audio playback of chapters.

You can learn more about the Pearson Revel Alexa skill in the Alexa Skills Store.