YouthLearn designs programs that help young people become active learners, strengthen their academic skills, and engage with their community.

Keys to our approach:

  • Prioritize project-oriented, inquiry-based learning to inspire exploration and student ownership of their learning experience.
  • Incorporate technology wisely to enhance learning and promote youth development.
  • Focus on collaboration in program design and learning experiences and include families and communities in your efforts.
  • Embed formal and informal opportunities for reflection and evaluation throughout the course of your program, involving all stakeholders to ensure you get a holistic portrait of how the program is working.
  • Engage youth in projects that are purposeful and designed to have impact, connected to issues that they care about.
  • Recognize that the good work practitioners are doing in established programs can inform and inspire others in the field.

Featured projects:

The YouthLearn team has integrated these field-tested approaches to teaching and learning in a variety of projects over the years, driven by the mission to engage young people from all backgrounds in powerful learning experiences. Selected past projects that illustrate our approach in a range of settings include:

  • National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment (NCASE) – EDC leads NCASE, funded by the US Dept. of Health and Human Services to ensure that low-income children have increased access to high-quality learning experiences. YouthLearn staff play lead roles in project management, communications, and technical assistance.
  • Adobe Youth Voices (AYV) – In collaboration with the Adobe Foundation, the YouthLearn team created training, curriculum, and a robust community of practice in service of the mission of Adobe Youth Voices (AYV) to empower young people to harness creativity and digital skills to create change in their lives and their communities.
  • Girls Communicating Career Connections (GC3) – For GC3, a series of youth-produced media and companion educator materials on science and engineering careers targeting girls from underserved groups, YouthLearn was involved in the project design, curriculum development, and youth mentoring.
  • Massachusetts 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) – For more than a decade, YouthLearn has provided consultation, training, and professional development around project-based learning for Massachusetts 21st CCLC educators.
  • Why News Matters – YouthLearn staff provided technical assistance and managed grants for Why News Matters, an initiative of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation designed to enhance news literacy skills and programs in Chicago.
  • Afterschool Academies – Under a grant from the Mott Foundation, YouthLearn was a partner in developing training and professional development for afterschool educators, which culminated in The Afterschool Academies Guidebook for Action.
  • Verizon Thinkfinity – YouthLearn consulted with the Verizon Foundation on strategies to engage afterschool educators in adopting resources from their existing collection, and created demonstration project-based learning modules.
  • Afterschool Technology Curriculum – YouthLearn staff researched, selected, and annotated resources for the Technology Curriculum Database for the National Center for Quality Afterschool at SEDL.
  • Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) Learning Resource Center – YouthLearn staff played key roles in project leadership, technical assistance, materials development, and outreach for the ITEST LRC, funded by the National Science Foundation.
  • dot-EDU – With support from the US Agency for International Development, YouthLearn designed teacher training and materials incorporating technology and project-based learning for community centers in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • YouthLearn Guide – The YouthLearn Guide documents best practices and lessons learned and shares comprehensive programming resources developed in the pilot with diverse community-based organizations in Washington, DC. Sponsored by the Morino Institute, the goal was to build capacity to plan for and apply technology to strengthen youth development and after-school programs. This original collaboration informs and inspires the YouthLearn approach to educational change.