About the Program
What is Next Generation Learning Challenges?
Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) is a network of educators, innovators, technologists, and philanthropic foundations. We’re focused on addressing the barriers to educational innovation by tapping the potential of technology to improve college readiness and completion, particularly for low-income young adults. In addition to grants, NGLC seeks to spark dialogue on related topics and initiate community building through a series of events, resources, and online tools designed to catalyze new ideas and foster solutions that span institutions and accelerate student success.
How is Next Generation Learning Challenges unique?
NGLC focuses on technology-enabled solutions to the problems of college readiness and completion in all of its programs. NGLC has funded investment beyond the initial R&D stage where emerging results look promising, instead focusing on proven solutions that can scale to wider adoption. In other work, the initiative has sought to bring together innovators and adopters to accelerate adoption of effective whole school and degree program models.
Specifically, what does NGLC hope to accomplish?
Next Generation Learning Challenges seeks to dramatically improve college readiness and completion in the United States. NGLC will accomplish this by identifying proven and emerging technology-enabled solutions, strategies, and models. While the need is greatest among low-income young adults, these solutions should be applicable to all institutions and students. Because college readiness and completion are interconnected, NGLC spans secondary and postsecondary education (grades K-16).
How is NGLC funded?
Grants and the operation of NGLC are primarily supported through funding from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In November 2010, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation joined the program. The Broad Foundation and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation provided support to NGLC beginning in 2013. Additional philanthropic organizations may participate; see the Partners page for a complete list of partners.
Is this program only about technology?
Technology is an important tool that has the potential to increase student achievement through personalized models of teaching that deepen learning and engagement, as well as lower costs. We must use the power of technology to transform education, particularly for those who need it most. Next Generation Learning Challenges will harness this potential by identifying and expanding effective technology-enabled learning solutions to reach more students, with the goal of improving college readiness and completion. However, NGLC understands that technology itself is not the solution. We are committed to seeking innovative working models which harness active pedagogies and deliver results in deeper learning outcomes. We’re not pursuing any one kind of hardware, software, or online solution. NGLC’s focus is on effectiveness rather than a specific technology.
What are the primary components of the program?
Next Generation Learning Challenges is structured to provide investment capital, create evidence, and accelerate adoption. Grants provide investment capital for advancing technology-enabled solutions and innovative new models for educational delivery. However, it is imperative that the community also develop and share evidence on which others can build. Thus, evaluation of individual projects as well as of the overall program are part of NGLC. Likewise, NGLC seeks to accelerate adoption of effective models by engaging individuals, disciplines, and institutions in dialogue, planning, and implementation.
Who will own the content created by NGLC, and how will that content be shared?
All content contributed to NGLC—from website postings to information generated by grant recipients—will be available to the community under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license, which allows community-generated content to move in and out of the site with ease. Grant recipients are encouraged to make other supporting technology available under approved open-source licenses.
What educational levels will NGLC focus on?
Because NGLC is focused on college readiness as well as completion, secondary and postsecondary education (grades K-16) are the focus of our work. Although the institutional context and age of the learners differ, the problems facing students and educators are similar.
Previous Grant Cycles
What types of projects or programs have been funded by NGLC previously?
Since its launch in October 2010, NGLC has released four waves of funding focused on college completion and college readiness including:
- 10 new breakthrough postsecondary degree programs and 58 new breakthrough secondary schools
- 29 postsecondary projects focused on blended learning, open core courseware, learning analytics, and deeper learning
- 19 secondary education projects focused on innovative technology tools linked to the Common Core
See Grant Opportunities for a current list of funding.