Learning environments that run smoothly, by default

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is a global leader in educational publishing, delivering the right digital learning materials at the right time to children in all grade levels across the US, every day.

To make sure it happens without a glitch, HMH partnered with Reaktor to build a system that keeps data flowing and eliminates several thousand hours of manual work each year.

Project highlights

  • Immense increase in efficiency
  • Eliminating the biggest cause of usability problems: Human error
  • System delivered one year ahead of schedule
  • Hybrid stack: JavaScript and React with Calmm architecture

Automated excellence


Monumental data flow at scale.

Digital experiences are a part of everyday learning. Delivering the right experience at the right time to each individual student is a crucial part of a modern publisher’s job.

To make it happen, district, school, class, and student data must be accurate, up to date, and in the right place. With 55.6 million students starting school simultaneously, variable systems, standards, and formats make it a complex problem.

Together, Reaktor and HMH tackled the colossal amount of data by buiding an application that makes the data flow automatic. It collects everything needed from companies providing rostering information and automatically pushes it to HMH’s platforms.

The application removes the burden of data entry, roots out faulty and expired data, and eliminates the possibility of human error.

HMH

in numbers

1.37B

Revenue in 2016

40%

Market share

50M

Students served all over the world

>50%

Of major sales are digital

Epic delivery

Deployed a year ahead of schedule.

School districts give out their data at the end of July and new digital solutions need to be in use by the month of August. We started developing the app in February 2016, and HMH was aiming to have it in full use by the back-to-school season of 2017.

Our team had the software up and running in two months and the first end-to-end automatic rostering of information was completed a year early.

Now, after iterative improvement of usability and data revision procedures, HMH’s products run smoothly and disruption-free for students in 50 states.

Hybrid tech stack

Technology agnostic, goal-oriented.

Node.js JavaScript runtime was selected specifically for enabling quick development, and for its ability to handle I/O bound workloads.

For the backend, we went functional and reactive with Bacon.js, and used Bluebird for speedy promise handling.

The user interface deploys React with Calmm architecture, and concepts such as lenses, atoms and observables.

Results

In numbers.

5,2M

Course enrollments through 
the application

714K

Students registered

13K

Schools registered

8 weeks

First version in use

Our contributions

  • Architecture
  • Data design
  • Back and Front end development
  • DevOPs and optimization

Interested?

Let's make things work.