From rapid emergency response to scaling andsustaining innovation: Adult foundational education in the time of COVID-19

This article, co-authored by World Education’s Dr. Jen Vanek, describes programmatic and instructional responses to the shutdown and the changing needs of learners that were triggered by the spread of COVID-19. It reports on the findings from interviews with state adult education staff, program managers, instructional leaders and supervisors, and instructors at two points in time: soon after the shutdown began and again about 15 months later. The paper illustrates how participants’ initial emergency response in the first months of the pandemic has been an impetus for meaningful innovation and a broader array of instructional and support options for learners, but challenges and questions remain about how to sustain it.