The Adult Learning Documentation and Information Network (ALADIN) pursues a vision of a global learning society in which information and knowledge on adult and lifelong learning is created, well documented and accessible to all.

The network strives to facilitate informed policy-making, research and programme development by improving global access to information and documentation on adult learning and serving as an information broker between researchers, practitioners and policy-makers. It does this by:

  • sharing relevant information on adult learning;
  • correcting the uneven distribution of adult learning documentation and information resources;
  • providing training in adult learning knowledge management.

This is supported by various ALADIN information services, such as the ALADIN Online Alert, which provides readers with the latest publications in the areas of adult learning, adult literacy, lifelong learning and technical and vocational education and training (TVET) on a bi-monthly basis; the annotated list of Adult Learning Links; and the ALADIN Toolkit for setting up basic documentation centres.

Over the last 20 years, 25 national, regional and global ALADIN workshops and meetings took place and various ALADIN projects were implemented.


Milestones of ALADIN


A workshop on the role of libraries in supporting lifelong literacy was held at the UIL in April 2016. It was co-organized by the ALADIN coordinator, members of the Literacy and Basic Skills team at UIL and the International Research and Exchanges Board’s Beyond Access project, with professional input from the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). Twenty-eight participants, including ALADIN members, representatives of public and community libraries, and literacy stakeholders from the government and civil society sectors, convened at UIL in Hamburg to discuss how public and community libraries can better support local and national literacy policies. The main goal of the meeting was to produce a set of policy recommendations that were incorporated later that year in an UIL policy brief: Using Libraries To Support National Literacy Efforts

In November 2014, the e-newsletter ALADIN Online Alert was launched. It is a joint initiative of the UIL Library and the Centre de documentation sur l'éducation des adultes et la condition féminine (CDÉACF), with additional input from ALADIN members from all over the world. It is published on a bi-monthly basis and includes recent online and full-text information and documentation on adult learning, adult literacy, lifelong learning and TVET, and on the role of libraries in these areas. In 2016, a mobile version of the Alert was developed to enable its distribution via mobile phones and tablet formats.

The Participatory Adult Learning Documentation and Information Networking (PALDIN) is a capacity-building online training resource created in 2006 by members of ALADIN-India and a team of experts and scholars, with the aim of providing professional development for those working in a variety of adult education settings. The course, which is available open access, comprises 31 innovative units covering issues relevant to adult learning, literacy and information management.

In 2009, the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU, New Delhi) launched a revised and expanded learning package based on PALDIN as a Postgraduate Diploma in Adult Education (PGDAE). The programme aims to promote professional development and capacity building within the adult education sector and emphasizes participatory adult learning documentation and information networking, both nationally and internationally. In 21 February 2017, four UIL-funded scholarships were awarded through the International Institute of Lifelong Education (IIALE, New Delhi) to those students who successfully completed the PGDAE course with the highest overall marks.

To download the first course on Participatory Lifelong Learning and Information and Communication Technologies please click here. For the second course on Documentation Dissemination and Networking click here.

In September 2004, an ALADIN Toolkit Workshop took place in Cape Town, South Africa, as part of which an online toolkit for setting up basic documentation centres on adult learning was developed. A year later, the ALADIN Toolkit page was launched to support adult learning organizations and community-based groups in establishing their information resources or in improving the efficiency of existing centres, and to support those whose staff have limited or no training in information management.

Nearly 200 annotated adult learning links were added to the ALADIN website in 2002, in order to make it a knowledge platform for information and research on adult learning. They are constantly updated and expanded.

Between 29 and 31 October 1998, a three-day expert seminar involving 25 participants took place in Hamburg. Participants shared their experiences and created an action plan founded on the free and global access to information and adult learning. The participants decided to call the network ALADIN, the Adult Learning Documentation and Information Network, and jointly developed a set of core objectives:

  • To create and promote awareness in adult education documentation and information at national, regional and international levels.
  • To establish linkages between stakeholders at national, regional and international levels.
  • To create and/or strengthen the capacity of adult learning documentation centres and information services at national, regional and international levels.
  • To develop a user-friendly adult learning source.
  • To develop a coherent picture of adult learning by linking/connecting the diverse documentation activities in order to facilitate the sharing of concepts, documents, information and experience.

ALADIN emerged in July 1997 from a CONFINTEA V workshop, which focused on adult learning documentation and information.

A group of people representing both the potential users and the most active adult learning documentation and information centres assessed the state of play in different world regions and concluded that the organization of an interactive knowledge management network was urgently needed in this domain. What emerged from the workshop was a clear need to:

  • correct the uneven distribution of documentation centres and networking;
  • promote the flow of information between industrialized and developing countries;
  • engage those centres that are not linked electronically.

The Head of the Documentation Centre of what was then the UNESCO Institute for Education (now UIL), Ursula Giere, initiated and planned the workshop and was asked by participants to lead and co-ordinate the initiative.