Skip to main content

About the LINCS Learning Portal

The LINCS Learning Portal is an open-access, web-based learning platform that provides professional development for adult educators and practitioners.

The courses offered on the LINCS Learning Portal are freely available to educators. There are over 20 self-paced online courses available for use anytime, anywhere. Each course is virtually facilitated, though registration is required.

To find out the average amount of hours it takes to complete each course, please see the descriptions listed below. Note: The courses do not track the amount of time it takes for a user to complete them; rather, the number of hours given for each course is based off of a general estimate.

For more information on completing LINCS Learning Portal courses, please view our Learning Portal Course Guide

Adult Education Online Courses

Descriptions for all of LINCS’ self-paced online courses are listed below. Register now to start building your skills in the following topic areas:

Career Pathways and Postsecondary Transitions

Adult Career Pathways

  • ACP: Instructional Considerations for Adult Career Pathways (3 hours): This course is the third in the series and is intended for adult basic education (ABE) and English language acquisition (ELA) instructors and other education professionals teaching or developing curricula for adult career pathways (ACPs). While this course may be taken alone, the user may benefit from taking all three ACP courses..
  • ACP: Building Bridge to Adult Career Pathways (3 hours): This course is the second course in the series and is intended for local program administrators. However, state directors, department chairs, deans, academic senates, career development staff, curriculum developers, and other education, workforce, and community professionals will benefit from understanding how this course supports the design of bridge programs and the alignment of curriculum and employment outcomes. While this course may be taken alone, the user may benefit from taking all three ACP courses.
  • ACP: Building Strategic Partnerships: Engaging Employers (3 hours): This course is the first in the series of three self-directed courses focusing on adult career pathways and is intended for multiple audiences:
    1. State adult education directors
    2. State program managers
    3. State professional development staff
    4. Local and regional program administrators
    5. Career and technical education state directors
    6. Adult education and English language acquisition instructors with an active interest in developing stakeholder and employer relationships for instructional enhancements and workforce preparation skill building or project- or work-based learning will also benefit from reviewing the content.
    While this course may be taken alone, the user may benefit from taking all three ACP courses.
  • ADVANCE Integrated Education and Training (IET): IET Fundamentals (2 hours): Integrated Education and Training (IET) programs are designed to help adults improve their basic skills while learning occupational and workplace skills to prepare them for in-demand careers. The IET Fundamentals online course introduces the foundational concepts, requirements, and core elements of IET design and implementation.
  • Creating Adult Pre-Apprenticeships (8 hours): This course is designed to help adult education providers design new pre-apprenticeship programs and support providers who are refining existing pre-apprenticeships or implementing similar integrated education and training programs. The content includes examples and resources that are relevant to a range of adult education providers and a variety of industries. The course includes four modules: Understanding Pre-Apprenticeships, Working with Industry, Designing Your Pre-Apprenticeship, and Managing Your Pre-Apprenticeship.

Integrated Education and Training Design Toolkit

  • Integrated Education and Training Design Toolkit (Approximately 4 hours, note certificates are not provided for the completion of this toolkit.): The Integrated Education and Training Design Toolkit guides users through a team-based approach to develop customized IET that address the needs of adult learners and local businesses through four iterative phases: Research and Assess, Design and Plan, Develop and Implement, and Evaluate and Improve.

Workforce Preparation

  • Introduction to Workforce Preparation and Employability Skills (1.5 hours): This course is designed for adult educators, administrators, teachers, and advisors who seek an introduction to the general concept of workforce preparation and the specific skills outlined in the U.S. Department of Education’s Employability Skills Framework. Participants should expect to learn what constitutes the workforce preparation activities referenced in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA); explain how to integrate workforce preparation activities into adult education programming and instruction; and locate resources you can use to develop and incorporate workforce preparation activities into curriculum and instruction. This course is the first in a two-part series exploring workforce preparation skills. The second course is Workforce Preparation Activities in the Classroom: Contextualizing Employability Skills for Deeper Learning.
  • Workforce Preparation Activities in the Classroom: Contextualizing Employability Skills for Deeper Learning (1.5 hours): This course is designed for adult educators, administrators, teachers, and advisors who would like more familiarity with how workforce preparation and employability skills can be incorporated into instructional activities. It is recommended that learners also complete the Introduction to Workforce Preparation and Employability Skills course, which covers workforce preparation and the specific skills outlined in the U.S. Department of Education’s Employability Skills Framework. After completing this course, participants will be able to: describe the rationale behind contextualized instruction that simultaneously addresses college and career readiness instruction and general workforce preparation and employability skills, and demonstrate how this rationale is already incorporated into an existing curriculum; explain best practices concerning workforce preparation activities as referenced in WIOA and illustrate how these practices are currently being used to teach employability skills to adult learners; and locate resources you can use to develop and incorporate workforce preparation activities into curriculum and instruction.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI): From Awareness to Action (6 hours): This course will help you understand and define what is meant by diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the classroom and program. The course will guide you in conducting an equity audit. Classroom equity audits can be conducted and followed through independently or in a group. After completing this course, you will be able to identify steps individuals can take to advance their commitment to DEI progressively from both an individual and a programmatic perspective and identify steps for conducting an equity audit and work toward the sustainability of DEI efforts.

Learners with Disabilities

Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a research-based framework that reduces barriers to learning by providing flexibility in the ways learners can engage with, perceive, and demonstrate understanding.

  • Universal Design for Learning: It All Starts with a Goal (1.5 hours): This module focuses on the why and how of helping adult learners set goals. After completing this module, adult educators will feel better equipped to develop and teach a wide range of learners the skills needed to create and monitor meaningful, obtainable goals.
  • Universal Design for Learning: Learning that Works for All (1.5 hours): Everyone has unique learning abilities and struggles. The purpose of this module is to identify how research-based learning strategies can increase engagement and access for all learners. Through this module, adult educators are introduced to the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) guidelines which provide a framework to help educators create learning spaces which work better for all students. Additionally, straightforward strategies that educators can use to immediately start implementing UDL are presented.
  • Universal Design for Learning: Making Math Matter (1.5 hours): Many adult learners struggle to learn math. This module focuses on improving math instruction for all adult learners, including those with learning differences. Topics in this module include math anxiety, the impact of stereotypes on math learners, the importance of developing growth mindsets, and many others. The module concludes with examples of classroom activities that adult educators can use in their math learning spaces beginning today.
  • Universal Design for Learning: Making Reading & Writing Matter (1.5 hours): This module expands the view of literacy to include reading, writing, and other forms of media. The concepts in this module will help adult educators reflect on current approaches and consider new strategies to ultimately help adult learners see why reading and writing truly matter, therefore providing them with the motivation to persevere even when presented with difficulties.
  • Universal Design for Learning: Building Communities for Learning (1.5 hours): Adults need to feel a sense of belonging in the classroom. This module focuses on strategies for developing a sense of belonging for adult learners and allows educators to reflect on why teaching adults is different than teaching children. Strategies for how adult educators can support community building in the classroom and beyond are also included.
  • Universal Design for Learning: Self-Advocacy for Work & Learning (1.5 hours): The purpose of this module is to introduce adult educators to two key terms: self-advocacy and learner agency. By completing this module, educators will learn the value these concepts bring to the classroom and identify ways they can design learning environments to facilitate and build self-advocacy and learner agency among their learners.
  • Universal Design for Learning: Improving Systems for Adult Education (1.5 hours): This module will be especially useful to administrators who seek to create “expert learning systems”— interrelated learning communities—where all individuals (teachers, volunteers, administrators, etc.) are expert learners who can assess their own needs, set personal and professional learning goals, and monitor their progress. Topics included in this module include the importance of dismantling discrimination and supporting individual variability when designing expert learning systems. Finally, signs of expert learning are explained with special emphases on teachers, volunteers, and learners.

Learning to Achieve (L2A)

Learning to Achieve helps teachers of adults with learning disabilities increase their effectiveness.

  • Learning to Achieve: Legal Issues, Self-Disclosure, and Confidentiality (1 hour): In this self-paced course, participants learn about This course identifies the legal, self-disclosure, and confidentiality issues that are relevant to service providers working with adults with learning disabilities. It also discusses the possible implications for service delivery when a student discloses a learning disability.

English Language Acquisition

ESL Pro courses provide opportunities for teachers of adult English Language Learners to engage in learning activities that maximize student outcomes. Courses include:

  • Teaching Adult English Learners: Principles and Practices (3.5 hours): This course is designed to support teachers new to working with adult English learners, or ELs. After completing the course, participants will be able to identify and apply appropriate instructional strategies for teaching adult ELs. They will also have strengthened their skills as an instructor and be able to implement classroom management practices to optimize learning in both in-person and virtual learning environments.
  • Module 1: Meeting the Language Needs of Today’s Adult English Language Learner (2-3 hours): This self-paced professional development module addresses the increasingly complex language and critical thinking skills adult English language learners (ELLs) need to succeed in today’s world. The overarching goal of this module is to give professionals who work with adult ELLs the tools to provide rigorous instruction that will help all learners transition to new opportunities.
  • Module 2: Integrating Digital Literacy into Adult English Language Instruction (2-3 hours): The module is designed for teachers and administrators interested in integrating digital literacy in their adult English Language Acquisition (previously referred to as ESL) classes and programs.
  • Module 3: Preparing English Learners for Work and Career Pathways (2-3 hours): This self-paced professional development module provides the foundational concepts related to designing and implementing an adult ELA program contextualized for career pathways.

Learn more about ESL Pro courses

Integrating Technology

  • Build a lesson with OER (self-directed, 3.5 – 5 hours): This user-guided tutorial helps teachers with experience in the Moodle Learning Management System environment develop a comprehensive online lesson using OERs to deliver instruction. The course template is designed with a basic structure aligned to a modified TEAL Lesson Plan Builder (using a WIPPEA lesson plan model: warm-up, introduction, presentation, practice, evaluation, and application) that allows teachers to create a usable online resource that learners can access anytime. The course template is flexible and allows teachers to choose which WIPPEA lesson plan elements to develop online. The course template can be used to design a lesson that fits a variety of instructional strategies (i.e., facilitated, self-study, or flipped) and allows teachers the opportunity to integrate different types of OERs (e.g., text, audio, videos, assessments, and simulations).
  • Integrating Technology in the Adult Education Classroom (4 hours): This course covers the purposes for integrating technology, explores guidelines for planning to integrate technology into instruction, and organizes thinking about the wide range of technology tools available. Examples of adult education practitioners’ experiences in integrating technology are incorporated throughout the course. In the culminating activity, participants create a Technology Integration Action Plan for a unit or lesson that they select for use with their adult learners.
  • Open Your Classroom with OER (2 hours): This course introduces the wide variety of Open Educational Resources (OER), Creative Commons, and other open licenses. Instructors at all levels of AE will gain an understanding of how to identify and search for materials to use in their teaching practice. In addition to learning search strategies, instructors will gain an understanding of how to evaluate OER for appropriate use. Those that will benefit the most from this course are adult education instructors, trainers, and coordinators. By the end of the course, participants will be able to understand and define OER and have a foundational understanding of how they can enrich their teaching, refine search queries, apply appropriate filters, and determine licensing requirements for Open Educational Resources, and explore, find, review, evaluate, and save materials on the educational repository, OER Commons.

Science

LINCS’ science courses help teachers use science in adult education classrooms. These courses introduce instructors to the importance of science education, curriculum planning, and the use of science in adults’ daily lives. Courses include:

  • Teaching Energy Literacy to Adult Learners (2 hours): This course explains the concept of energy literacy, and introduces the Energy Literacy Framework developed by the U.S. Department of Energy. Educators can use the Framework (available in English and Spanish) to teach adult learners about the role of energy in their lives and to generate potential interest in energy as a career field. This course explores the fundamental concepts of the seven essential principles outlined in the Energy Literacy Framework and provides examples of online resources teachers can use to teach the principles and associated concepts to adult learners.
  • Project-Based Science Instruction for Career Preparation (2.5 hours): This course is designed to facilitate the teaching of science in adult education classrooms using a Project-Based Learning (PBL) model. This course makes the connections between science content knowledge and how adults use science in their daily lives, especially in work and career-related contexts. Those that will benefit the most from this course are adult education instructors, trainers, and coordinators, particularly those in Adult Basic Education (ABE), Adult Secondary Education (ASE), and STEM Career Technical Education (CTE). By the end of the course, participants will be able to better understand PBL, including identifying characteristics of effective PBL and benefits of it in adult education, use online resources to guide adult learners in exploring careers in the five major STEM subgroups and identify ways that STEM workers use science in their careers, and describe how ABE programs are using PBL in STEM areas and identify at least one topic for a PBL initiative in an ABE classroom.

Teaching and Learning

Content Standards for English Language Learners

This suite of courses will get you started in using the English Language Proficiency (ELP) Standards to support English language learners in two important instructional areas: 1. academic language development and 2. engagement in academic content.

  • Module One: Introduction to the ELP Standards for Adult Education (1 hour): provides an understanding of why and how the standards were selected and how they are organized. It also explains what the new ELP standards entail and why and how they relate to state-adopted academic content standards. With the necessary support that ELP standards provide, adult education programs can now expand their capabilities to implement academic content standards for all our learners. Please read the LINCS Resource Profile for Tips for getting the most out of this module.
  • Module Two: Analyzing Student Tasks in Relation to Content Demands, Thinking Skills, and Language Use (3 hours): introduces the first two steps in a four-step task analysis process. The process is designed to identify what students need to know and be able to do in relation to three lenses: content knowledge, analytical skills and language use. Task analysis helps us to focus on all the various cognitive demands placed on adult English language learners as they tackle an instructional task or project. Please read the LINCS Resource Profile for Tips for getting the most out of this module.
  • Module Three: Digging Deeper into the English Language Proficiency Standards for Adult Education (3 hours): is the third and final training in a three-part series that introduces the ELP Standards for Adult Education and how to begin using them. Module Three engages users in the last two steps of the task analysis process that was introduced in Module Two. Steps three and four help us to better understand which of the core disciplinary practices and ELP standards are relevant to certain instructional tasks—and to instructional practices. This training answers the question: How does the task analysis process support educators’ understanding and integration of the ELP Standards during their planning and instruction? Please read the LINCS Resource Profile for Tips for getting the most out of this module.

Differentiated Instruction

  • Differentiated Instruction and Lesson Planning (5 hours): Many adult education classrooms contain students whose ages, native languages, educational backgrounds, and academic skills vary widely, which poses many teaching challenges for instructors. Research shows that differentiated instruction is one of the most effective approaches for helping students learn. This course walks participants through the steps of planning a differentiated lesson, including how to write effective learning objectives, choose among approaches to differentiation (content, process, product), and design assessments. In completing the course, participants produce their own differentiated lesson plans that are suited to their instructional content and environment.

Teacher Effectiveness

This suite of self-paced courses support teacher effectiveness, especially using and understanding the Adult Education Teacher Competencies, delivering evidence based instruction in the classroom and implementing a Teacher Induction program using the Adult Education Teacher Induction Toolkit. The courses are tailored to the needs of practitioners and programs, especially teacher mentors, staff developers and beginning teachers. Courses are divided into multiple segments to allow for practice, reflection, and extended learning. The courses, which can be used independently or as a series, include:

  • Introduction to Teacher Effectiveness and Induction (1 hour): This introductory course guides you through what the research tells us about teacher effectiveness. It also provides an overview of the Adult Education Teacher Competencies, an introduction to teacher induction, and a summary of the Adult Education Teacher Induction Toolkit and its resources. A completion certificate is available.
  • Motivating Adult Learners to Persist (3.5 hours): This course supports teachers' understanding of eleven strategies that motivate adult learners to persist, especially those described in the National Research Council's Improving Adult Literacy Instruction: Supporting Learning and Motivation. It also provides teachers with guidance to make focused observations of how these strategies are implemented. Many adult learners face considerable barriers to their academic success and often have many competing responsibilities (family, work, etc.). Only by persisting in school are these learners able to set and meet academic goals and improve their learning outcomes. To help motivate students to continue learning and make progress, adult education instructors need specific knowledge and skills in delivering evidence-based instruction that will support their learners to persist. This course is intended for multiple audiences, including adult education and English language acquisition instructors, program administrators and coordinators, and professional development trainers. Beginning teachers can gain competence in these areas by working through a teacher induction program with a mentor. Upon successful completion of this online course, participants will be able to identify strategies that motivate adult learners to persist and describe examples of their application, observe an adult education class and describe how these strategies are being implemented, and select three course resources to support your implementation of motivation and persistence strategies in your practice.
  • Principles of Learning for Instructional Design (3 to 3.5 hours): This course introduces and demonstrates key principles and strategies featured in the National Research Council’s Improving Adult Literacy Instruction: Supporting Learning and Motivation. It supports teachers' understanding of instructional design principles to promote learning and the strategies for applying those principles in their teaching. Participants observe these principles in action in adult education classrooms and have options for extended learning and reflection. For those in a teacher induction program, this course is recommended during the Learning step of the Teacher Induction Pathway in conjunction with activities in the Mentoring Guide for Teacher Induction. A completion certificate is available.

Teaching Adults to Read

  • Teaching Adults to Read: Teaching Beginning and Intermediate Readers (6 hours): This course is for adult educators and explores evidence-based instructional practices for supporting adult beginning and intermediate readers in mastering essential skills, from alphabetics to comprehension. This course includes six modules: Introduction, Diagnostic Assessment, Alphabetics, Vocabulary, Fluency, and Comprehension.
  • Teaching Adults to Read: Teaching Advanced Readers (4 hours): This course is for adult educators and explores evidence-based instructional practices for supporting adult advanced readers in mastering essential skills. This course includes four modules: Introduction, Advanced Diagnostics, Advanced Comprehension, and Advanced Vocabulary.