With the launch of LRNG in October, the evolution of learning is underway. Cities of LRNG will scale up to 10 to 15 cities in 2016. As the year draws to a close, here’s a look back at the pilot cities where a great idea took root, blossomed and grew.


Launched in summer 2013 and anchored by DePaul University’s Digital Youth Network, Chicago’s City of Learning effort has been a national model for other sites. Chicago’s network has engaged nearly 60,000 youth through partnerships with over 100 youth-serving institutions and organizations, such as the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and Mikva Challenge. In addition to face-to-face programs, Chicago’s City of Learning has provided youth with access to hundreds of online challenges on a diverse range of topics, including poetry, coding, and sound production.


Led by the DC Trust, the “District of Learning” fully launched in early 2015 and now over 40 organizations are involved in this year-round ecosystem for anytime-anywhere learning. Collaborators include afterschool programs, youth-development nonprofits, schools, arts organizations, environmental organizations, libraries, museums, local government, higher education institutions, and employers. Over 2000 youth have participated in activities with the opportunity to earn digital badges, and now District of Learning is working with the Mayor’s office to expand participation to thousands more in 2016.


Anchored by the Mayor’s Office and a local nonprofit called Big Thought, the Dallas City of Learning brings together a network of 200 partner organizations. Last summer, the initiative provided more than 34,000 young people with opportunities to earn digital badges via activities such as visiting the International Museum of Cultures, attending a storytelling workshop at a local writer’s center, and playing educational games online, including the Mission US series about American history. The network was launched in summer 2014 and now operates year-round.


The Pittsburgh City of Learning launched in summer 2014. During summer 2015, Pittsburgh’s City of Learning network featured opportunities for students to earn 300 different digital micro-credentials offered by 40 different organizations. Among them: the “junior naturalist” badge from the acclaimed Carnegie Museum of Natural History.