Legislation in the early 1990’s reflected renewed focus on the role adult education served in preparing adults for postsecondary education and the workforce and recognition that a professionalized system of teacher education and training was essential to achieve these ends.
The first PRO-NET was a three-year project that involved developing and operating a national network of adult education professional development specialists and practitioners in state departments, universities, and local programs. Project activities included developing professional development instructional packets, offering technical assistance, conducting professional development conferences, developing a national electronic bulletin board system for use by adult educators, and developing a database of professional development references, resources, and consultants in adult education, and developing competencies for adult education instructors. AIR conducted a literature review to identify effective instructional practices, surveyed states to identify existing competencies, and used the findings as a basis for developing instructor competencies.
PRO-NET 2000 focused on the development and dissemination of competencies for adult education administrators and professional development coordinators. Competencies were developed based on a review of the literature and field-based research. AIR developed and implemented a plan for dissemination along with several assessment instruments to facilitate use among adult educators. AIR also developed standards against which to evaluate the quality of professional development resources. A set of criteria and indicators were developed to assist state staff select and develop their own resources.