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Director, Learning Tools more...
Location:Austin, TX
Company:Macmillan Learning
First posted:September 21, 2017

Macmillan Learning is a part of the family-owned Holtzbrinck group of companies and is one of the leading educational technology companies. Through deep partnership with the world's best researchers, educators, administrators, and developers, we facilitate teaching and learning opportunities that spark student engagement and improve outcomes. We provide educators with tailored solutions designed to inspire student curiosity and measure progress. Macmillan Learning is comprised of renowned brands including Bedford/St. Martins, W.H. Freeman, Worth Publishers, Sapling Learning, SkyFactor, Intellus Learning, Late Nite Labs, and Hayden-McNeil. We are an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to reflecting a broad representation of differences -- race, ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, physical ability, age, family status, economic background and status, geographical background and status, and perspective-- in our workplace. The successful candidate for this position will become an employee of Bedford Freeman & Worth Publishing Group, LLC ("BFW"), d/b/a Macmillan Learning. Bedford Freeman & Worth Publishing Group, LLC has developed an affirmative action program in compliance with the NY Department of Education's guidance. Portions of the affirmative action program are available for review by applicants and employees by contacting Human Resources.

Purpose of the Role:
The Director, Learning Tools, is responsible for leading a team of Product Owners to develop a portfolio of research-based learning applications. These highly usable learning tools help faculty and students achieve a range of learning outcomes across a wide variety of subject domain areas. Specialized Writing, Reading, Adaptive Study, Active Learning, and other learning tools are central components of Macmillan Learning's current and future digital learning products. Each learning tool requires a deep understanding of faculty and student needs, and carefully validated iterative design to ensure tool workflows meet these needs while exceeding user expectations. This leadership role represents a tremendous opportunity to impact learning at large scale for higher education and high school students across STEM, Social Science, and Humanities subject areas.

The Director, Learning Tools, works closely with market experts and User Experience, Learning Science, and Engineering teams to conduct ongoing discovery and development of scalable, highly usable learning experiences that provide measurable learning impact. The Learning Tools Product Owners set tool roadmaps based on validated market needs, work closely with Engineering teams to prioritize backlogs and develop software following Macmillan's agile development process, while coordinating and communicating effectively with organizational partners.

This role is responsible for internal learning tool development and support as well as external partner tool evaluation and integration as needed.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Lead, manage, and mentor Product Owners to ensure a motivated, high performing team across discovery and agile development role responsibilities
  • Ensure Learning Tools team collaborates effectively with other Product team members, discipline experts, UX and Learning Research partners, and customers for product discovery and design. Ensure high quality agile story, acceptance criteria, and artifact development to support agile development process across all Learning Tools projects.
  • Ensure highly productive agile development collaboration between Learning Tools team and Technology partners. Help drive agile process improvement to achieve rapid software development progress and release of working software that customers love to use. Ensure Learning Tools teams communicates effectively with stakeholders throughout development process.
  • Establish and maintain business relationships with external technology partners, including contracts, operational management, and production support

    Skills Required:

  • Proven ability to design and deliver products customers love to use
  • 5+ years' agile product development
  • Proven ability to lead and mentor high performing product teams
  • Passion and curiosity for using technology to improve education
  • Excellent communication and collaboration skills
  • Deep commitment to customer involvement throughout product development cycles
  • High aptitude for problem solving and trade-off analyses needed to keep projects on track
  • Ability to lead and coordinate effectively across Technology, UX, Product, Content, and other teams.
  • Strong technical aptitude to facilitate communication with Technology teams
  • Proven ability to manage and grow technology partner relationships
  • Able to function equally well at strategic and detail levels

    Competencies Needed to Successfully Perform the Job:

  • Superior collaboration skills with the ability to listen, communicate, and motivate teams to achieve results
  • Ability to build and maintain strong relationships with a variety of internal functional partners and stakeholders
  • Experience managing and developing product owner teams
  • Experience in customer- and data-driven product discovery
  • Able to drive discovery, design, and validation process to constructed customer and business needs/pain points, and turn validated learning into a well written and prioritized backlog
  • Experience leading Product teams through agile development processes
  • Experience establishing and maintaining productive external partner relationships
  • Business analysis capabilities to evaluate development investment ROI
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Strong customer orientation, with drive and curiosity to understand their needs, pain points, workflows, and goals
  • Knowledge of higher education markets a plus


  • Minimum 5+ years' experience leading product development teams through product discovery, design and agile development of scalable platforms and products
  • Sufficient technical experience and aptitude to work effectively with Technology partners
  • Higher Education domain experience
  • Experience managing partner relationships
  • Bachelor's Degree Required

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