Gain Experience for Good

We crowdsource the design and development of open educational resources to help adults improve their literacy skills for career & college readiness. Participating in service-learning courses and other professional development projects, volunteers design educational solutions that are customized to the needs of those with literacy-related knowledge and skills gaps. Since 2014, over 4,000 people have volunteered with us to gain instructional design experience and develop free educational resources for underserved and underfunded adult basic education programs.

Our Charitable Mission

Designers for Learning is organized as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation in the State of Illinois. We were founded in August of 2014 with a charitable purpose to provide instructional design support to underserved social needs, and we devoted our first three years after incorporation to adult basic education. Our mission is to provide educational resources and service-learning experiences designed to promote all aspects literacy. We promote service-learning opportunities through collaboration with students, volunteers, schools, and other social enterprises.

Our motivation

With millions struggling to attain basic literacy skills, there is an enormous opportunity for the instructional design community to offer our expertise to help this underserved need. A parallel opportunity exists to offer real-world experience to instructional design students and others.

Our two-part mission

  1. To provide educational resources to promote all aspects of literacy.
  2. To provide instructional design students and others with service-learning experiences to develop their skills.

Check out our current projects! Join us.

Design in the Open Challenge

Self-Paced Professional Development: Start today!

Mobile Learning Strategies Design Sprint

Self-Paced Professional Development: Start today!

Instructional Evaluation Service-Learning Course

Free Course: Start today!

We joined the Chicago Literacy Alliance!

In September of 2017, we joined the Chicago Literacy Alliance (CLA), an association of agencies operating to help meet literacy needs for people of all ages and backgrounds. Designers for Learning looks forward to partnering with CLA members on curriculum design efforts to support adult basic education and vocational training, and we welcome the opportunity to collaborate on new literacy-related initiatives both inside and outside of adult education. 

Get Involved

Make a tax-deductible donation to support our work.

Volunteer as a Designer

Are you a looking to gain instructional design experience? If so, contact us to participate as a volunteer designer in a service-learning project.
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Become a Subject Matter Expert

Are you part of an organization involved in literacy-related initiatives? If so, contact us to become a subject matter expert to help support our service-learning projects.
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Involve Your Students

Are you faculty in an instructional design or related program? If so, contact us to involve your students in our service-learning projects. We align our projects with the needs of student volunteers.
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Mentor Volunteers

Do you have professional experience and an academic background in instructional design or a related field? If so, contact us if you are interested in volunteering as a mentor.
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