Every Learner Everywhere

Adaptive Courseware Helps Address Student Success Rates

Achieving the Dream’s work with Every Learner Everywhere (Every Learner) was announced at the ATD DREAM Conference in February. The initiative, which is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and includes a network of 11 other higher education and digital learning groups, aims to address high failure rates in foundational courses through the provision of scalable, high-quality support to colleges and universities seeking to implement adaptive courseware for foundational courses on their campuses. The mission of Every Learner is to help institutions use new technology to innovate teaching and learning, empower instructors, and improve student outcomes—especially for first-generation college students, low-income students, and students of color.

Achieving the Dream’s work with Every Learner began in earnest during our inaugural Teaching and Learning Summit in June in Minneapolis. The Every Learner Everywhere track provided an opportunity for faculty from colleges participating in the effort to diagnose, prioritize, and discuss key implementation strategies around areas such as software selection, educational development and professional learning for faculty, project management and execution, learning analytics, and research and data collection.

Over the course of 2019, ATD and our partners will be working with institutions to implement adaptive courseware in first-year foundational courses, which have been identified as vital for student retention and success. Every Learner Everywhere is working with a small set of two-year and four-year institutions in three states—Texas, Ohio, and Florida—and will then expand nationwide with plans to reach at least 200 institutions by 2022. 

This initial phase of our work will allow us to further develop and refine high-quality, field-tested resources and training. All seven of the participating community colleges are ATD Network colleges, including 2019 Leah Meyer Austin co-winner Amarillo College (TX) and the two 2019 Aspen Prize winners for Community College Excellence, Indian River College (FL) and Miami Dade College (FL). Other ATD Network colleges in the initiative include Broward College (FL), Cuyahoga Community College (OH), Houston Community College (TX), and Lorain County Community College (OH). Four-year institutions include University of Central Florida, Cleveland State University, University of Texas Rio Grande, and University of Toledo.

Later this fall, Achieving the Dream will share some more details of some of early work that will allow digital learning to scale with the goals of eliminating equity gaps and increasing student success.



Bring together 12 partner organizations to provide a comprehensive, coordinated approach to helping colleges and universities use new technology to innovate teaching and learning.

Focus on improving student outcomes of first-generation college students, low-income students, and students of color


What is adaptive courseware?

  • A digital teaching tool with instruction and assessments scoped and sequenced to support an entire course
  • Provides personalized and nonlinear instruction by analyzing students’ responses and pointing them to activities based on their needs
  • Provides instructors with data about each student’s progress and learning so they can modify instruction in response

Benefits for students:

  • Allows students to move through the course material flexibly based on their demonstrated knowledge and skills
  • Can change the content or degree of difficulty to keep students engaged
  • Provides immediate feedback so students can self-assess and continue to progress
  • Allows for more interactive learning experiences than a textbook

Benefits for instructors:

  • Automated assessments and analytics give instructors real-time data on students’ progress and areas of need
  • Instructors can see how students are interacting with the course material (time spent on activities, study habits)
  • Frees up instructors to spend more class time on interactive activities that build on student engagement with content outside of class

Benefits for institutions:

  • Potential to improve student success rates in foundational courses
  • Provides richer student data than is possible with textbooks
  • Potential to reduce the cost of course materials
  • Can help institutions meet their larger goals (e.g., improved affordability, access, retention, equity)


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