Latest Strategies



We recently participated in Mediaplanet’s Adult Learners campaign where we united with likeminded industry leaders to call attention to the struggles older and nontraditional students are faced with in today’s education system and economy, and help connect adults who are thinking of going back to school with the tools, resources and knowledge they need to achieve the success they deserve. The campaign was distributed through USA TODAY on December 23rd 2016 and is published online. For the full campaign, visit:

U.S. Department of Education Launches $680,000 Challenge for Virtual and Augmented Reality Learning Experiences

The U.S. Department of Education today launched the EdSim Challenge, a $680,000 competition to design the next-generation of educational simulations that strengthen career and technical skills. The Challenge calls upon the virtual reality, video game developer, and educational technology communities to submit concepts for immersive simulations that will prepare students for the globally competitive workforce of the 21st century.

"This initiative is an exciting example of how virtual reality and game technologies can be applied to give students everywhere the tools to prepare for future success," said  Johan Uvin, acting assistant secretary for career, technical, and adult education. "We encourage developers from all disciplines to answer our call and help define the future of applied learning."


MathTalk offers online interactive math tutorials for Adult Education students through social media. The program guides students and potential high school equivalency testers through algebra, geometry, word problems and everyday math preparing them for the HSE Exam. Subscribe, Like or Follow.

Competency-Based Learning Community of Practice Discussion Group for Adult Education

Competency is defined as an ability or skill; proficiency infers ability or aptitude; while mastery indicates the ability to do, use, or understand something very well. Whatever word you prefer to use, being college and career ready implies assurance that all adult education students are competent, proficient and have mastered the College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS) and are self-directed learners--before moving on to their next steps beyond ESOL, ABE, and ASE. To do this, adult educators must focus attention on what the students have learned, not on what we think we taught them, and use all the available tools to do this.

Competency-based education is experiencing renewed interest and, in some learning communities, is proving to be central to the "how" in creating the instructional shift needed for CCRS implementation.

An online Competency-Based Learning Community of Practice Discussion Group for Adult Education has been formed, facilitated by David Rosen and Donna Chambers.  The group is comprised of members who have experience in competency-based education dating back to the 1970's, those who are new to CBE and want to learn more about it, and those in between. If you would like to join the group, email either David ( or Donna ( This is collaboration at its best!

Proficiency Based Learning

Proficiency Based Learning Rhode Island is in the process of implementing WIOA by transforming its adult education system to meet the college and career readiness needs of adult learners using proven Proficiency-Based Teaching, Learning and Assessment (PBTLA) strategies. 

Traditional approaches in practice and program design are being addressed for both practitioners and adult students. PBTLA promises to significantly reduce the college remedial rate by focusing ABE and ASE on college and career readiness. Proficiency-based education is a movement embraced at the national level for all learners PK-20, and there is increased interest in this movement from adult educators, as evidenced at the COABE 2015 and 2016 Conferences, in Denver and Dallas. Learn about this work and join Rhode Island as part of this movement.

Learning for Life: An Illinois Perspective


Grand Victoria Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation, and the Community Foundation of Macon County commissioned a survey of adult education and workforce development program administrators and practitioners, to better understand the conditions for using digital learning to advance education outcomes for adults in Illinois.

This survey drew upon a 2014 national survey, Learning for Life, completed by the Joyce Foundation and Tyton Partners, which highlighted the role and opportunity for digital learning to transform adult education programs. In partnership with COABE, the Illinois survey took place in February 2016 and generated responses from more than 330 adult education and workforce development professionals. Learn more here.   

National Literacy Directory

Are you in? Every year the National Literacy Directory connects 50,000 potential students, volunteers, and advocates to literacy services, education programs, and testing centers nationwide. This dynamic website and database is celebrating its fifth year with new features and plans to support programs listed in the Directory with new opportunities to address critical issues as well as new funding and awareness tools-starting October 2015.
We're adding new features to help students and volunteers find your program and learn more about how you can help them, too. Visit today to submit your new listing or update your existing one. The National Literacy Directory, available in English and Spanish, is managed by the National Center for Families Learning with generous support from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.

NCFL  is a strand partner of the COABE 2017 Conference, and COABE is a sponsoring partner of the National Literacy Directory.