Designers for Learning joins the Chicago Literacy Alliance!



Big news!

On the eve of #International Literacy Day, Designers for Learning is thrilled to announce we are now a member of the Chicago Literacy Alliance (CLA), an association of over 100 agencies operating to help meet literacy needs for people of all ages and backgrounds. We couldn’t be more excited to be selected for membership in this amazing organization. Joining the CLA is a big step in our strategic direction and affords us the services and amenities at CLA’s Literacenter, a 27,000 square foot co-working space in downtown Chicago that solely supports nonprofits dedicated to literacy.

Why we joined

Through large-scale service-learning projects, Designers for Learning collaborates with students and faculty from instructional design graduate schools, subject matter experts in adult education and instructional design, and other volunteers to crowdsource the creation of free open educational resources (OER) for adults with low literacy and math skills. Participants in our 100% virtual service projects have helped us build a repository of free lesson plans for adult educators and their students that align to the College and Career Readiness Standards (see our Adult Learning Zone repository of resources on OER Commons). Our free Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have involved over 3,500 people to raise awareness among instructional designers, educators, and others about (a) this underserved population of learners, (b) the range of adult education contexts offering support, and (c) the curriculum needs of these programs.

Our membership in the CLA reinforces our commitment to literacy-based initiatives. We look forward to:

  • Sharing our instructional design/professional development expertise: All of our founders and current board members hold graduate degrees in either education or statistics with five specializing in instructional design or technology in education. We feel our nonprofit’s education-based mission, our ongoing curriculum development efforts to support adult literacy, and our instructional design and online learning expertise is an asset to the CLA community, including those interested in transitioning from face-to-face learning experiences to blended or online learning.
  • Forming new partnerships: We look forward to partnering with CLA members and others on curriculum design efforts to support adult basic education and vocational training initiatives, and we welcome the opportunity to collaborate on new literacy initiatives both inside and outside of adult education. We’d like to work with subject matter experts within the CLA membership to help us ensure our efforts meet the needs of those we aim to serve.
  • Networking with other nonprofits: As a relatively new nonprofit, we’re still learning how to grow and manage our operations. We’re excited to gain from the experiences of other CLA nonprofit members.

Join us!

Help us celebrate this announcement by signing up for our next free instructional design service-learning project to support adult literacy. In our latest project-based service course hosted on Canvas Network, you will learn by doing and build your portfolio as you complete a real-world, authentic instructional design challenge to evaluate and revise open educational resources designed in our prior instructional design courses. Sign up today for our course that starts September 25th.

Please share with your network

Our 3,500+ past participants heard about our instructional design courses through word-of-mouth. Please join us to gain experience and positively impact adult literacy by enrolling and sharing this announcement with your network. Thank you!

Jennifer Maddrell, Executive Director
Designers for Learning


Designers for Learning is organized as a nonprofit corporation in the State of Illinois, and operates exclusively for charitable purposes in accordance with section 501(c)(3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. 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.

4 comments

  1. Anna Anglin says:

    Congratulations! So proud to be a part of this worthwhile cause. A win-win situation and rewarding experience for learners and designers, respectively.

  2. Rusmono says:

    Congratulations. Proud and thank you for the opportunity to participate in this activity. I hope to gain new experience in developing learning design.

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