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Modern learning platforms for adult education practitioners

U.S. Department of Education

We streamlined a mix of legacy federal websites into a modern, secure platform to support the adult education community — and now we provide ongoing support and improvements.

Modernized LINCS homepage displayed on laptop and mobileEducators and learners have a better user experience on the modernized LINCS websites, so they can find needed resources faster.

40,000 +

practitioners using these sites for professional development

18,000 +

helpdesk tickets resolved to improve user experience

53

commits made to the Drupal community on behalf of the agency

“I’m truly impressed with [CivicActions'] customer care and the emotional intelligence evident in your approach to helpdesk support. Thank you!”

Education practitioner in the LINCS community

The challenge

When we first engaged with the Department of Education, they needed help consolidating and updating their collection of websites for the Literacy and Information Communication System (LINCS), which supports adult education practitioners in their goal of helping adult learners transition to post-secondary education and 21st-century jobs.

LINCS gives educators and learners access to resource libraries, discussion groups, and self-guided courses — but these were located on various websites that were outdated and confusing to navigate. LINCS needed to be restructured with modern, secure technical architecture. LINCS users also needed reliable, friendly support to resolve technical and login issues and get back to helping adult learners.

Client goal

To provide a valuable and secure learning platform for thousands of education practitioners, the Department of Education needed to:

  • Update numerous LINCS websites and resources
  • Provide prompt helpdesk support for the large user community
  • Improve site navigation with user-centered design
  • Maintain a secure and reliable platform

Expertise

  • Information Architecture
  • Learning Management Systems
  • Open-Source Software
  • Systems Administration
  • Cybersecurity Requirements Compliance
  • UX User Support, Research, & Design
  • Customer Support
  • Federal IT Requirements Compliance
  • Online Communities of Practice
  • Usability & Design
  • Cloud Migration & Hosting
  • Continuous Improvement
  • DevOps
  • Project Management

Tools and technologies

  • Drupal 7 / 8
  • Moodle
  • Apache Solr
  • GitLab CI
  • AWS
  • Ansible
  • RHEL
  • Shibboleth
  • Jira
  • GitLab
  • U.S. Web Design System

Our approach

We transitioned the LINCS website hosting to secure Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud servers, then used a modern Drupal content management system to consolidate the overabundance of outdated websites LINCS had inherited from other departments. We used the U.S. Web Design System to make the updated websites easy to navigate and mobile friendly.

Our partnership with LINCS is ongoing — we now provide continuous improvements to their platforms using Information Technology Agile Development methods. We work closely with program managers to help them get the most business value from their IT applications. This includes the maintenance and enhancement of LINCS websites, web-based tools, databases, search engines, streaming media, content management, and learning management systems.

Provide a seamless experience

The main LINCS website serves as a central hub and brand for the Division of Adult Education and Literacy’s (DAEL) national leadership investments. To create a unified look-and-feel among the disparate supplementary LINCS websites, we did a visual redesign based on user research — creating a seamless experience for practitioners to access the resources they need.

Education practitioner using the LINCS community portal on a laptop
Educators can access resources and discussion groups through the LINCS online community.

Use helpdesk feedback for iterative improvement

Our support team provides fast, friendly resolution of technical and login issues for LINCS users, so they can get back to work quickly. Since our improvement of LINCS products is user-focused, we tie the helpdesk into the agile development process through daily communication between support staff and development teams. This ensures that system improvements are prioritized based on real user needs.

Four CivicActions helpdesk specialists smiling on a video call
Our friendly helpdesk team provides timely user support — and participate in the agile process to inform improvements to LINCS systems.

Key outcomes

Empowered educators

The core LINCS community is a passionate group of educators committed to making a difference for adult learners. These web platforms help them access high-quality information and free professional development opportunities.

User-centered improvements

LINCS is constantly improved through user feedback via our helpdesk support services. The agency can rest assured that they are prioritizing the right things through an agile and user-informed process.

Secure web platforms

By migrating LINCS to secure AWS cloud servers, we can safeguard the privacy of data, accounts, and workloads for thousands of users and agency staff — while ensuring compliance with federal IT security requirements.

Technical fluidity

Improvements to technical architecture and the implementation of DevOps practices have provided more flexibility for the LINCS systems. This results in rapid improvements and fewer limitations for the user community.

Streamlined content

Multiple, outdated websites are consolidated into a modern and streamlined experience for users. Practitioners can quickly find what they need among the vast resources provided by the Department of Education through LINCS.

Valuable partnership

Our ongoing work with the Department of Education is a model of true agile partnership. We collaborate with an active and engaged Product Owner who advocates for the agency’s priorities as we work to make them a reality.

Meet the team

Let’s build a public success story.

Get in touch to start.