Observations of the ESL and ELT Publishing Sector

For educational publishers, ESL/ELT/World Language content and products are experiencing a surge as the industry grows with English Language Teaching a recognized global profession.  A few recent observations of this surge in ESL/ELT/World Language instruction include

  • ELT Journal published by Oxford Journals celebrated its 70th year in publication with the January 2016 issue
  • More than 4500 job opportunities are posted on LinkedIn related to ESL, ELT, or World Languages
  • Our globalized, Internet-connected world has resulted in accredited (and unaccredited) TEFL / TESOL courses springing up with increasingly competitive salaries advertised

Traditional publishers as well as non-traditional educational start-up companies are creating curricula to educate instructors and students with ESL. Cenveo Publisher Services recently completed two particularly noteworthy engagements worth mentioning:

National Geographic Learning: High-End ESL Production With Hybrid Workflow



World Class: Expanding English Fluency is a two-level series from National Geographic Learning (a division of Cengage Learning) for high-intermediate and advanced English language learners. This integrated-skills program uses National Geographic content, images, and video to help learners expand their overall fluency while developing the tools and strategies necessary for effective, real-world communication. National Geographic Learning recognized that a streamlined workflow solution was required to develop and produce the student book, assessment, teacher guide, and corresponding digital content in a cost-effective manner.


Cenveo Publisher Services developed creative page design templates for the World Class series and a streamlined workflow process to produce final content. A large collection of corresponding photography was managed and brought into a workflow that carefully aligned images with content. ESL subject matter experts copyedited and proofread the series under the direction of a senior project manager. Cengage Learning received regular reports on content and production status.


The team at Cenveo Publisher Services implemented a hybrid workflow solution, comprising onshore and off-shore resources. Working closely, project management and production were handled in New Delhi. Editorial tasks, including copyediting and proofreading, were handled by Cenveo’s onshore subject matter experts. Pages were drafted in India and a dedicated design team in Fort Washington, PA finalized the creative page design. Cenveo’s photo research team worked closely with the design and production teams to find appropriate photos for the program. Student texts, accompanying teacher editions, and ancillaries were produced simultaneously with a hybrid workflow solution that economized on both time and costs. Utilizing the strengths of each location at the right time in the content workflow resulted in a successful series.

The ESL specialists and production team at Cenveo Publisher Services were a key component of our World Class series’ success. The editorial and production staff took complete ownership of the production workflow and provided detailed reports to our team.
— Michael Burggren, Senior Director of Production, National Geographic Learning

GVE Online Education: Reinventing ESL Instruction With Innovative eLearning Solutions


Golden Voice English (GVE) Online Education has reinvented English as a Second Language (ESL) courses using innovative technology and elearning. Seeking a fresh and engaging way for children in China to learn fluent English, GVE created a web-based platform with curricula for grades 1 through 9. By transforming the method and delivery of English instruction, GVE brings to market a resource that provides interactivity, structured curriculum, and accessibility to fluent English speakers.

Unlike other English language elearning programs, GVEprovides a comprehensive curriculum that captivates students with animated lessons and interactive support from teachers in China and access to English-fluent tutors located in North America. Students gain self-confidence in their English language listening and speaking abilities. They can test their pronunciation and speaking skills by comparing their own voices to native-speakers.

Cenveo Publisher Services partnered with GVE to bring their vision of a transformative elearning solution to market. In just 6 months, GVE went from concept to operational product with Cenveo’s assembly of creative, editorial, technology, and instructional design teams.


To provide an engaging way for Chinese students in grades 1 through 9 to understand, read, write, listen to, and speak English, GVE and Cenveo Publisher Services created comprehensive curricula synced directly to the Chinese ESL classroom curricula. Each grade has two parts and each part has nine units, eight unit assessments, and four “Just for Fun” activities. The scope of the entire project is truly impressive with

  • 700+ animations
  • 324 interactive listening excercises
  • 324 speaking activities
  • 252 grammar, reading, and writing exercises
  • 72 “Just for Fun” activities
  • 144 unit assessments
  • 9 midterm exams
  • 9 final exams

There is an additional, 3-lesson short course designed to keep students engaged in their English studes over the summer and winter breaks. The short course content covers the less academic topics of travel, culture, and leisure-time activities.

With deep experience in full-service development for ESL, ELT, and World Language products, Cenveo gathered a team of writers and editors to support the project. Sample content was conceived, written, and sent to GVE for review. Simultaneously, instructional design and technology teams in Cenveo’s digital learning division prototyped and presented animations and interactives to bring the developed content to life.


Cenveo Publisher Services brought together a global team of subject matter experts, experienced writers, instructional designers, creatives, and technologists to work with GVE in support of its groundbreaking and comprehensive ESL program in China. Weekly classes are now provided using graphics and animation that make learning fun while following the Chinese school system’s educational approach.

Cenveo’s editorialand digital learning gurus created plot-oriented, character-based, storytelling instructional materials that are changing the way Chinese school children learn English and prepare for the English section of the Zhongkao exam. The pedagogical approach for online learning produced by GVE, provides an interactive technologic application that enhances listening and speaking skills and is already receiving industry accolades and media attention after just a few months on the market.

The Cenveo Publisher Services team really understands the needs of students and teachers involved with learning English as a second language. They understand language pedagogy and inserted it into the content they helped develop and produce!
— Kevin Wu, President and CEO, GVE Online Education

Mike Groth

Michael Groth is Director of Marketing at Cenveo Publisher Services, where he oversees all aspects of marketing strategy and implementation across digital, social, conference, advertising and PR channels. Mike has spent over 20 years in marketing for scholarly publishing, previously at Emerald, Ingenta, Publishers Communication Group, the New England Journal of Medicine and Wolters Kluwer. He has made the rounds at information industry events, organized conference sessions, presented at SSP, ALA, ER&L and Charleston, and blogged on topics ranging from market trends, library budgets and research impact, to emerging markets and online communities.. Twitter Handle: @mikegroth72