OVAE: Office of Vocational and Adult Education
Current Section

Project IDEAL: Improving Distance Education for Adult Learners
Fact Sheet Series 2004 - Adult Basic and Literacy Education
Archived Information

The OVAE Fact Sheet Series highlights efforts currently underway at the Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE) to support the principles of the President's No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The principle(s) supported by this effort are:

  • Increase Options and Involvement for Parents and Students
  • Increase Flexibility and Reduce Bureaucracy
  • Focus on What Works


The 1992 National Adult Literacy Survey estimates that tens of millions of adults could benefit from adult basic education services. Only a fraction of these individuals are actually enrolled in classroom programs. In the interest of providing more learning options to adults, fourteen states have formed a consortium to explore the potential of teaching adults with limited skills using web-based and technology-facilitated distance learning. OVAE has funded a portion of Project Improving Distance Education for Adult Learners (IDEAL) to focus on national issues related to assessment, accountability, and teacher training.


Project IDEAL is directed by the University of Michigan and is a partnership of fourteen states (AR, ID, IL, KY, MA, ME, M O, NC, NY, OH, PA, RI, WA, and WV). These states are participating in separate state funded "experiments" to explore the possibilities of using technology-enabled and/or web-enhanced distance education to deliver instruction to adult learners who choose not to attend classroom based programs. Their work has pointed to several common needs among states including how to report data to the federal office for distance learners. Federal funds are being provided through Project IDEAL to explore strategies appropriate to measure educational progress when adults are learning in non-classroom settings using technology-based interventions. The project also supports teacher quality in distance learning through the creation of teacher training materials that may be used by the states.

Outcomes and Products

  • On-line course to prepare teachers of distance learning
  • Published reports on Assessment Issues in Distance Education for Adult Learners and Accountability Issues in Distance Education for Adult Learners
  • Course study guide and trainer guide to accompany on-line materials
  • Additional resources and improved data to state and local providers on delivering quality instruction at a distance

FY 2004



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Last Modified: 09/06/2007