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Pearson: Building an Education Platform with APIs

Feb 16, 2016

Pearson, the world’s largest education company and book publisher, is looking to solve new challenges unique to its user base.

Having grown from offering a small handful of APIs to over 50, the U.K. company is trying to make those APIs as easy to use as possible for anyone—including the instructors or university department heads who have no IT staff or budget to take advantage of Pearson's poweful APIs.

“We’re focusing on removing that barrier of ‘You have to be a developer to use our APIs’,” said Allen Rodgers, the director of Pearson's developer program and API network. “We’re looking heavily into technology that allows anybody to leverage our APIs.”

Rodgers, who spoke with us during I Love APIs 2015, said the company also aims to take the lessons learned from its external API development and apply them internally. 

Rodgers acknowledged that that this approach might be viewed as backward, as most organizations begin their journey with internal APIs. Pearson’s approach, however, was driven by its overarching need to open up its education data to external developers and partners. Now that’s it has succeeded on that front (the company has over 300 partners and more than 20 apps have been developed on its APIs) it is working on managing its microservices, Rodgers said. 

“What Apigee is helping us do is understand how to take advantage of the same kind of API management you’d use in a public or partner program and apply that to an internal program,” he said. “We’re looking at extending our external program internally."

For more on choosing the right API initiative, download the free eBook, "What's Your Problem? Internal, Partner, and Open API Initiatives to Fit Your Business Challenge."

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