Survey Shows Educators’ and Publishers’ Opinions, Concerns Regarding Online Search for Educational Content

Results indicate increased publisher awareness of the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative

Philadelphia, PA, August 27, 2013 – Publisher awareness of the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI) has nearly doubled between 2012 and 2013 (from 46.6% to 85.9%), according to results of a recent survey just released by the LRMI. The report, “Ease and Discoverability: Educators and Publishers on the Search for Educational Content,” depicts results of two February 2013 surveys, which individually targeted educators and publishers and were a follow up to surveys conducted in April 2012. Data from all surveys are included in the report, demonstrating respondents’ experiences, opinions, and frustrations when searching for and tagging educational resources online.

Insights gathered from the surveys will further inform the ongoing implementation of the LRMI, a project co-led by the Association of Educational Publishers and Creative Commons to create and encourage implementation of a metadata markup standard for educational resources. Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the LRMI has developed a common metadata framework for describing educational content and products on the web, so students, educators, and parents can more efficiently search for quality resources.

Key findings from the educator survey include:
•    Roughly four in ten educators (40.2%) assign students projects involving Internet searches at least several times a month.
•    In both surveys, nearly half of responding educators (43.7% in 2013 and 46.8% in 2012) search for instructional resources online several times a week, and nearly one-third of responding educators (30.5% in 2013) search for instructional resources daily.
•    The number one frustration when searching for instructional resources, expressed by roughly two-thirds of responding educators in both 2013 (64.8%) and 2012 (66%) is having too many irrelevant results, followed closely by searches being too time consuming and results that do not indicate specifics.
•    In both surveys, nearly nine out of ten educators (86.6% in 2013 and 87.6% in 2012) said their level of satisfaction would improve if search engines offered the ability to filter results by standard instructional criteria such as grade level, subject area, media type, and other criteria.

The LRMI addresses educators’ concerns about irrelevant search results and wasted time by allowing searches to be filtered using criteria such as age range, educational use, and alignments to educational standards, such as the Common Core State Standards. Once the LRMI is fully implemented, educators, students, and parents will be able to easily and efficiently identify the best resources to meet specific learning needs.

Noteworthy results from the publishers’ survey include the following:
•    Nearly six in ten publishers (58.5%) would change their marketing and sales programs if there were tools to make it easier to find their content through online searches, compared to half (51%) in 2012.
•    The percentage of publishers that use metadata tagging significantly increased: 55.3% in 2013 as opposed to 47.4% in 2012. Of the 2013 publishers who use metadata tagging, more than three in five (64%) use a content management system to manage their digital resources.
•    For both surveys, nearly nine out of ten respondents (89.7% in 2013 and 86.8% in 2012) believe online visibility is important or essential. In 2013, all respondents believe online visibility is at least somewhat important. 

“Besides raising awareness for the LRMI, the main goals for the second surveys were to further gauge the Internet search experiences of educators and to learn more about how publishers view online visibility,” said Dave Gladney, LRMI project manager. “Results gathered will undoubtedly further our mission to improve discoverability of educational resources.”

To learn more about the LRMI, visit Receive project updates directly by signing up for the monthly LRMI newsletter, LRMI Update, here.

About The Learning Resource Metadata Initiative

The Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI) aims to make the educational resource search experience richer for educators and learners and improve the discoverability of resources for content creators. The Association of Educational Publishers (AEP) and Creative Commons have co-led the project since its founding in 2011. In July 2013, the School Division of the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and AEP merged to form the AAP PreK-12 Learning Group. AEP’s programs have been transferred to AAP pursuant to the merger. However, AEP continues to manage the LRMI because of AEP’s 501(c)(3) status.