The Learning Upgrade Challenge

A competition that will transform the lives of 1 million adult learners.

The Challenge

There are more than 36 million adults in the United States that lack basic literacy and numeracy skills. Only five percent of these adults have access to the education services needed to improve. Imagine a day when we can give each one of them a simple, easy-to-access method to learn reading and math, even if they cannot attend classes or meet a tutor. That day has come, with the Learning Upgrade Challenge! This exciting competition challenges education providers to enroll adult learners into an innovative smartphone app called Learning Upgrade.

Low literacy and numeracy skills greatly impact the well-being of these individuals, their families, and their communities. These adults are twice as likely to be unemployed, more likely to be incarcerated, and much more likely to struggle with basic life skills like reading a prescription or credit card statement. Low levels of literacy and numeracy are also passed on from one generation to the next. Children of low literate parents have a 72 percent chance of being low literate themselves.

The Solution

What these adults need is a scalable solution that addresses their specific academic needs and is accessible whenever and wherever a learning opportunity arises. Eight years ago, 35% of people in the United States owned a smartphone. Today, that number is at 81% and growing. Reliance on smartphones for online access is highest among low-literate and lower-income adults in the US who often have no broadband access or computers at home. These adults rely on their smartphones and always have them with them.

The answer to providing a scalable education solution is a smartphone learning app. With a go-anywhere app, low literate adults can learn anywhere at any time. Most importantly, anyone with a smartphone can access learning, allowing rapid deployment at scale.

The Learning Upgrade App

The Learning Upgrade App is a grand prize winner of the Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE. The Adult Literacy XPRIZE was a $7 million global competition challenging teams to develop a mobile app that would result in the greatest increase in literacy skills among a participating group of adult learners in just 12 months. Learning Upgrade was proven and validated in a field test of 12,000 adult learners, and produced the greatest gains pre- and post-test on a standardized reading assessment. Most impressively, the Learning Upgrade App produced gains greater than what learners would have experienced during a year of classroom study alone.

Proven and Validated

The Learning Upgrade App is a proven and validated education solution. Low literate adults learn English and math on their own smartphones, on their own time. The Learning Upgrade App has over 1000 musical lessons that are engaging, fun, and effective. Teachers can track and monitor all student activity remotely, to keep learners on track and celebrate student success.

The Learning Upgrade Challenge

With everything we’ve learned from the Adult Literacy XPRIZE, we’ve realized that the best way to reach the 36 million adult learners in desperate need of literacy and numeracy skills is through an ongoing competition. The Learning Upgrade Challenge will bring education providers together in competitions to see who can log the most adult learner literacy and math progress each semester. Education providers can join challenges through their associations and receive access to the program. Instructors receive training and then onboard, track, and motivate learners. Providers, instructors, and learners will compete for rewards based on activity during each challenge semester.

The Learning Upgrade Challenge will provide a platform for states, regions, organizations, districts, and more to motivate and encourage education providers within their ranks to enroll as many adult learners as possible. Each challenge has a group of providers, teachers, and learners competing for rewards based on their activity and progress using the Learning Upgrade App.

Organizations looking to create their own Learning Upgrade Challenge can apply with Learning Upgrade. Once your challenge is up and running, education providers can join your team challenge using your dedicated team application form.

How the Challenge Works

The Challenge is based on a recurring 4-month semester cycle to match the adult ed calendar.  During each semester cycle, education providers can sign up and receive instructor training to get started.  Instructors then onboard their adult learners into the Learning Upgrade app, and each learner starts completing lessons to meet their individual learning needs.  Instructors can then track learner progress to monitor activity and motivate learners. Providers celebrate learner success and the Challenge rewards the top providers, instructors, and learners.

The Learning Upgrade Challenge is a competition that will transform the lives of 1 million adult learners.
The Learning Upgrade Challenge is a competition that will transform the lives of 1 million adult learners.

Goals of the Challenge

Our goal with the Learning Upgrade Challenge is to transform the lives of 1 million adult Learners and provide a path to reach the 36 million low literate adults in the United States. Ready to start transforming lives? Join the challenge today!

Get Started Today

Join the Challenge with a Free Learning Upgrade Pilot - Free to Start, Affordable to Grow

Learning Upgrade pilots provide three months of unlimited access to the Learning Upgrade student app and teacher LMS for tracking and reporting