Our Origins

Adult basic education programs are not able to serve the majority of adults who aim to improve their skills and opportunities. The demands of work or family life often interrupt adults’ participation in courses, so their progress towards achieving their goals is often fragmented.

The Longitudinal Study of Adult Learning found that adult learners move in and out of programs, frequently studying on their own when they can’t attend classes. Whether or not they participate in an adult education class, many people study on their own to improve their basic skills. However, those who do not enroll in programs may lack the support to achieve their goals.

Nationally, adults who didn’t finish high school are the segment of the population most rapidly becoming new computer users, practically closing the digital divide in some areas.* Many of these adults use the computer as part of their self-study efforts. The Learner Web concept was inspired by these research findings and by the needs of programs and volunteers to find ways to better serve learners.

* US Department of Commerce (2002) A Nation Online: How Americans are expanding their use of the internet. Washington, DC: National Telecommunications and Information Administration