History of the Community

The National Literacy Act of 1991 created the National Institute for Literacy (NIFL) to provide national leadership on adult literacy. A part of this mandate was for NIFL to create the Literacy Information and Communication System (LINCS) to serve adult educators as a central repository for literacy resources. LINCS has and continues to play an integral role in organizing and promoting the rich resources within the field of adult education.

As a part of LINCS, NIFL established discussion lists in 1995 in order to:

  • Increase access to electronic information for adult educators;
  • Provide a forum for discussion of adult literacy-related policy; and
  • Provide an important link to connect the work of NIFL with the field.

Today, these discussion lists have grown to:

  • Bring together separate communities with mutual interests;
  • Promote professional information sharing;
  • Enable sharing of international perspectives and research;
  • Enable teachers, tutors, and other practitioners to learn about the issues, challenges, satisfactions, and successes of adult literacy education; and
  • Provide opportunities for field-driven professional development.

As of 2010, the stewardship for LINCS and the LINCS discussion lists resides with the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education (OVAE). The discussion lists, in particular, have “outgrown” the discussion list software of the 1990s. In 2012, the discussion lists and their subscribers transitioned to a new dynamic online platform, Drupal Commons, better suited for housing and cultivating vibrant communities of practice.  

OVAE’s continued investment in LINCS signals the Department’s intent to more strategically utilize LINCS for assisting states and local adult education agencies in promoting evidence-based instruction in adult education.

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