English Now! Learning Circles


Many immigrants who want to study English can’t. Limited by funding, programs that offer English as a second language (ESL) often have waitlists from anywhere from 60 to 600 adults. English Now! provides low-cost English language learning opportunities for adults on waitlists through weekly study groups (learning circles) where learners worked through online English courses together.

With a grant from Dollar General Literacy Foundation, and in collaboration with Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU), World Education’s EdTech Center designed and piloted English Now! in five New England adult education programs. It laid the groundwork for a national scale-up of an innovative, low-cost blended learning intervention leveraging volunteer facilitators, online learning programs, and best practices in learning circles so those who want to learn English do not have to wait months to begin their study.

Building on the success and learnings of the pilot project, national scale-up of English Now! learning circles focuses on fostering peer learning for English language learners (ELLs). The project extends access to English learning to 250 ELLs at 10 sites in CA, DC, MD, PA, and TX through low-cost learning circles. These learning circles combine learning using an online course or app with a face-to-face group session once a week usually facilitated by a volunteer, a librarian, or a teacher. In addition to learning circles hosted by formal adult education programs, the scale-up includes learning circles held at work-sites and libraries. Learners also hone their digital literacy skills as they start using online programs and mobile apps, develop self-efficacy, and learn strategies for how to be successful in more formal classes. The scale-up of English Now! is supported by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. 

Learn more about English Now! on our blog posts, “Learning Circles Address Waitlists for English Classes” and “Engaging Adult Learners on Waiting Lists Using Learning Circles”.

Questions? Contact the project director, Priyanka Sharma, at


learning circle
Photo credit: Brenda Seng
Learning Circle at Immigrant Learning Center, Malden, MA


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