U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Nurturing and Nudging Adult Learners through Text Messaging: Final Report - Now Available!

Adult education programs strive to provide adult learners with engaging and effective services that support their development of foundational skills, attainment of a high school equivalency (HSE) credential, and planning for next steps in education, training, or employment. It is widely recognized that adult learners have busy lives and often find it difficult to persist in adult education services. Data on learners enrolled in adult education programs funded under Title II of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 indicate that a large percentage of adults in those programs leave before accomplishing their goals.

Challenges that adults encounter in persisting in adult education programs include competing demands in their lives, lack of childcare and transportation, limited access to resources that enable them to focus on their learning, or instruction that does not sustain their engagement or help them learn.

Adult education staff have used varied approaches to help adult learners address their nonacademic barriers to participation such as connecting learners to resources that can mediate those barriers. Staff support learners’ academic success by providing instruction that is engaging and builds their academic self-efficacy and by organizing extended learning opportunities through the use of tutors or online programs.

The Technology-Based Coaching in Adult Education (TBCAE) project, conducted by Abt Associates, explored the use of text messaging to support adult education (AE) learners’ persistence and success in AE programs. Ten AE programs in four states (AZ, IN, KY, and OR) participated in the TBCAE project. AE program staff sent individualized and personalized text messages to support AE learners’ retention in program services; development of foundational skills (e.g., reading, writing, numeracy, problem-solving); attainment of a secondary credential; and pursuit of further education, training, or employment. More than 400 AE learners participated in the project.

The TBCAE Final Report provides information about the approaches to text messaging that the 10 AE programs used during the project, the technical assistance that Abt Associates provided to programs, and the content of the text messages that were exchanged between AE staff and learners. Also discussed are AE staffs’ perceptions about the utility of text messaging in supporting AE learners.

The Final TBCAE Report is available on the project’s LINCS Federal Initiatives page here: https://lincs.ed.gov/state-resources/federal-initiatives/tbcae

TBCAE Final Report Image