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September 14, 2022 • 1 minute read
By: Mike Hale, Ph.D., Chief Learning and Content Officer

VitalSource has long been committed to increasing student success through easy access to affordable content. We also believe that if you can, you must improve learning for students and expand educational opportunities for all learners. Of course, we are not alone in this view and it is the reason many companies have built assessment-rich course materials. 

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Blog > Reflecting on 30 years: Part 1

June 25, 2024 • 2 minute read

Reflecting on 30 years: Part 1



VitalSource started in 1994 to answer a simple question: can technology improve learning? At that time, laptops and networks were just arriving on campuses, and educators were wrestling with the impact. In those early years, we were fortunate enough to be able to do research — working with students, faculty, and content creators — for several years, exploring ways technology might help. By 2000, we settled on the fact that if we concentrated on course materials, computers could make learning more interactive, more personal, and in most cases more affordable.  

In the 30 years since, VitalSource catalyzed the transition from print to digital in higher education. We pioneered digital platforms, digital delivery, and innovative new programs like IA and EA. Today, we power content delivery across the entire higher education ecosystem, serving more than 50% of students in the United States. We have a growing footprint internationally, as well, and, in total, delivered more than 28 million units of learning globally in the past year alone.  VitalSource_30_years_2024_linkedin_banner_final
For us as a team, one thing has remained constant: we envision a world where all learners have the tools they need to thrive. With award-winning capabilities in accessibility, AI tools backed by learning science, and an unwavering focus on affordability, VitalSource has grown to become the global powerhouse behind modern course materials delivery across higher education. 

As I reflect on the journey over those 30 years that brought us from the VitalBook through many acquisitions and transformations, I am struck by the dedication and innovation that has always been a key part of our identity. Thanks to the hard work and vision of our teams and many associates around the world, we have set out to accomplish more than we thought possible 30 years ago. 

Some of those innovations include:  

  • The first e-text in higher education 
  • The first DRM-protected offline e-text 
  • The first digital full-curriculum solution (EA) 
  • The first branded e-reader for education publishers 
  • The first e-text with personalized and sharable annotations 
  • The first accessibility-accredited e-text 
  • The first LMS-delivered e-text  
  • The first integrated support for national distance-learning programs 
  • The first global faculty-sampling program 
  • The first multi-language, global e-content platform 
  • The first campuswide e-text programs in the UK, in the Middle East, and in Australia 
  • The first school-integrated price-comparison platform 
  • The first Inclusive and Equitable Access program management toolsets for campus stores 
  • The first fully personalized, AI-powered, white-labelled courseware platform 
  • The first AI-powered study tool embedded alongside the e-texts 
  • And recently, the first—and so far, only—carbon neutral course materials delivery program in global higher education 

Whether we look back or ahead, two constants remain – innovations that solve for the next disruption point and commitment to impactful partnerships. With unmatched scale, the VitalSource Learning Delivery Network is trusted by thousands of content providers and institutions globally to fuel affordable, engaging learning experiences, and deliver a learning advantage to every student. I look eagerly forward to what the next 30 years hold. 

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