Back to Tutorial

Lesson 31: About Everyday Life


What is the Everyday Life (EDL) project?

The EDL project uses interactive, situation-based lessons to teach functional literacy skills. Each activity provides learners with the opportunity to test their knowledge of real-world situations and to develop the confidence and skills necessary to be successful in everyday life.

Why did you create a functional literacy project?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 18% of Americans who took the 2012 Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) assessment scored at or below literacy Level 1, the level required for basic functional literacy. This means roughly 56 million Americans may have difficulty decoding words, understanding words in context, making low-level inferences, or combining information from different parts of a digital document. Our goal is to help these individuals reach a higher level of literacy and be better able to navigate everyday literacy tasks.

What is your instructional approach?

Our functional—or competency-based—approach provides learners with opportunities to test their knowledge of real-world situations without the fear of real-world consequences. Each scenario is comprised of prose, document, or quantitative literacy tasks as defined by the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL), with an emphasis on task-based applications of literacy. By helping the characters in the lessons reach their goals, learners will gain relevant skills in a safe and supportive environment. The competencies users gain through our interactive modules will be immediately applicable to their daily lives.

Why do you focus on learners at the basic level?

Findings from the 2012 PIAAC assessment suggest that individuals who scored at or below literacy Level 1 are vastly less likely than individuals with higher literacy levels to participate in informal learning opportunities, including literacy classes. We hope that our task-based, online activities will be more approachable to learners who are reluctant or unable to access help elsewhere, and that mastering these activities will provide them with the confidence they need to continue learning in other contexts.

How is this different from existing resources?

The development team is comprised of individuals with experience in a variety of disciplines, from education and instructional design to gaming and art. This range of perspectives has allowed us to create activities that are effective from an educational standpoint and engaging from a gaming standpoint.

The Everyday Life activities are also designed to provide adult-themed resources for low-literacy learners. Although there are many excellent online literacy resources for children, we know from our research that there are few that target low-literacy adults. With this in mind, we deviated from traditional educational models in order to deliver a program that meets the needs of adult learners, both in content and in style.

How can educators use our Everyday Life program?

Literacy tutors, administrators, and adult basic education providers can refer learners to our site to work independently, or they can use modules as a supplement to their teaching materials. Our site provides learners with the ability to repeat activities as often as they wish.

Educational objectives

Our functional approach teaches literacy skills through the application of common tasks. Each lesson has specific educational objectives and is classified as one of the literacy task categories the NAAL measures (i.e., document, prose, and quantitative), when applicable. Additional information regarding our learning objectives is listed below:

  • A Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment Systems (CASAS) competency number is listed below each lesson's learning objectives, if the lesson is aligned to a specific competency. CASAS is the mostly widely used set of standards on functional literacy and numeracy skills for adults in the U.S. It is approved by the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Labor.
  • Although it is not a primary goal of the lessons to teach vocabulary, we can expect to see an increase in learners' vocabularies and understanding of word usage through exposure to the language in context of the functional task.
  • Because the Everyday Life project is online, it gives students a chance to enhance both their technological skills and their literacy skills. When applicable, we classify various lessons as addressing technological literacy.

View the learning objectives for each lesson.