For over two decades has provided leadership in research, development, and training in the field of literacy, with a focus on adult basic education and international literacy and development. We have completed a variety of major projects, contracts, grants, and events on time and within budget. We invite you to explore our current and recently completed projects below.

Bridges to the Future

Bridges to the Future Initiative™

Bridges to the Future Initiative (BFI) addresses the Digital Divide of education and technology in emerging economies by improving literacy, basic education, and technological literacy, thereby assisting the world's poorest peoples to better determine their own social and economic future. With funding from multilateral agencies and private foundations, BFI has major projects underway in India and South Africa, with projects in other countries under development. The BFI focuses on assisting poor, disadvantaged, and marginalized children, youth and adults in developing countries to take advantage of new information and communications technologies (ICTs) for improving basic literacy and technological literacy skills as a means to participate in the global information and economic marketplace. A selection of videos about the BFI project can be found on our media page.

Captured Wisdom

Captured Wisdom™

Developed by NCAL in partnership with the North Central Regional Education Laboratory, Captured Wisdom is an interactive resource designed to help inform educators of successful practices of integrating technology into adult education instruction. Videos of actual classes utilizing innovative, replicable activities are provided, complemented by questions raised by adult education practitioners from focus groups and answered by the cooperating teachers to address the concerns that teachers may have about using technology with adult learners. Stimulating teachers to think about and question the approaches of other teachers and the ways they might adapt what they see and hear for their own local education contexts, Captured Wisdom provides the adult educational community with inspiration and insight into what technology can accomplish. Access to Captured Wisdom™ may be found at:



ESL/CivicsLink, , developed by NCAL, is a web-based professional development program for ESL teachers jointly developed by; PBS LiteracyLink; Jefferson County Public Schools (Adult and Continuing Education), Louisville, Kentucky; and KLRN, San Antonio, Texas; and funded by the U.S. Department of Education. ESL/CivicsLink enables teachers of people seeking English language literacy to acquire effective ESL methods and foundation skills and U.S. Civics content knowledge through self-directed, interactive online distance learning. Responding to the growing need of ESL teachers to easily access high quality professional development tools when and where they need them, ESL/CivicsLink helps teachers meet the challenges that they face as immigration populations continue to grow across the United States. Access to ESL/CivicsLink may be found at:


ILI Summer Literacy Training Program (SLTP), Philadelphia

The SLTP program was open to mid-career professionals as well as younger specialists involved in literacy work in developing countries. The program, with ran for about a decade up until 2000 included several weeks of training, including workshops and seminars, and a number of informative visits to local literacy centers and institutions. Topics included literacy policy and planning, child and family literacy development, literacy assessment and evaluation, nonformal and distance education, and literacy innovations and the use of technology. While the SLTP is no longer running, some of the materials (listed below) will be of assistance to others who wish to run literacy training programs.

Completed programs:

       • July 5-28, 2000
       • July 5-30, 1999
       • July 6-31, 1998
       • July 1-31, 1997

Learning Connections

Learning Connections

Without the foundation of basic skills, neither access to nor success in higher education - or, for that matter, in employment or other aspects of adult life - is possible for the estimated 40 million illiterate and low-literate adults nationwide. With the support of Lumina Foundation for Education, is addressing this social and economic challenge. Through a web-based platform accessible to low-literate learners, Learning-Connections facilitates individualized self-advising as both a motivational and directional tool, offering career advice, encouraging basic and post-secondary education, and providing progress tracking tools and instant-feedback rewards. By providing a flexible, context-sensitive tool to help learners identify pathways and potential outcomes, Learning Connections helps individual learners aspire beyond basic skills, and empowers them to make their own choices and understand the impact of those choices on career and educational aspirations and opportunities. More information and the main site can be found at:

Literacy Link


With funding through the U.S. Department of Education and in partnership with PBS Adult Learning Service, Kentucky Educational Television, and the Kentucky Department of Education, (and NCAL) led the development team to create an integrated learning system using online, video, and print media to provide instruction, assessment, and teacher training for GED and workforce preparation skills for adult learners. LiteracyLink delivers instruction for adult learners in GED preparation and Workplace Essential Skills, offers training in instructional and technology issues, and crafts an individual learning plan for each participant. It also provides professional development opportunities and resources for adult educators and administrators. To access LiteracyLink, go to:


Professional Development Kit (PDK): Multimedia Resources for Instructional Decision-Making

Professional Development Kit (PDK) was funded by the U.S Department of Education in collaboration with SRI, International, to create professional development tools for adult educators. Employing case-based instruction in the context of facilitated adult education teacher professional development, PDK can adult educators explore and develop their practice in new ways and to investigate new materials and strategies for instruction. With video case studies of adult education classrooms; online tools for practitioners to structure their own cases; resources that include a knowledge database, digests, portfolio, group discussion and class products; and staff development and user guides; PDK provides resources and a framework to support participants’ efforts to generate questions and brainstorm solutions to challenging professional situations. PDK is available on CD-ROM, and some of its tools may be accessed online at A selection of videos from PDK is available on our media page.

Project Connect

Project Connect

Project Connect, developed by NCAL, was funded by is the U.S Department of Education. It provides supplemental web-based instruction for intermediate level adult ESL learners. Partners in the project include PBS, Jefferson County Public Schools in Kentucky, and several public TV Stations. The program is designed to help English language learners gain the linguistic skills necessary to enter into and progress in the workplace, to function in society, and to prepare for post-secondary education. With authentic and engaging materials, the units within Project CONNECT incorporate SCANS skills, relevant cultural information, explicit language learning strategies and fundamental technology information. Access to Project Connect may be found at:

Quality Learning Indicators Project (QLIP): A Review of Learning Indicators in Developing Countries

Quality Learning Indicators Project (QLIP) is a collaboration between IIEP (UNESCO) and ILI, funded by the Fast Track Initiative/World Bank to review and synthesize a set of policy options for assessment methods of basic skills learning in developing countries. The review focuses on school-aged children (5-12 years, approx), but will also consider out-of-school children, youth and adults. It includes an inventory of key indicators and learning measurement methodologies (especially reading assessment) that have been used over the past decade or so, and up to the present (including on-going projects). Costs and benefits are seen in terms of fiscal investments and policy outcomes, time to completion, size and nature of human resources inputs, technical complexity, and other aspects of the assessment burden. The review is expected to be completed the first half of 2010, and will be posted on


TECH21™: National Technology Laboratory for Adult Education

TECH21 was a decade long-effort, funded initially by the U.S. Department of Education (OVAE) to develop IT tools that offer to assist adults in achieving their adult education and life goals. Through collaboration with direct services providers and online systems, TECH21 provided a hands-on and virtual research-to-practice and dissemination system, developing state-of-the-art technology learning environments that enabled those learning and working in practice-based adult education settings to access technology and to fully integrate it into their practice. The follow up to TECH21 may be seen in other projects at



With the support of the Kellogg Foundation, has completed a study of technology and basic skills education for at-risk youth. The study looked at the roles that information technology can play in supporting youth education, in particular as “socially embedded” in local communities.  Technology alone does not seem to have significant impact on successful education programs; rather, it is the ways in which the technology is incorporated into those programs that make the difference. has built on several of the findings of YouthHub through the Learning-Connections project. For more information, see