The EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) is a strategic initiative of EDUCAUSE and a community of higher education institutions and organizations committed to the advancement of learning through the innovative application of technology.

Three Pillars of ELI


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Effective teaching and learning is, first and foremost, about the learner. ELI believes that its efforts begin with a consideration of the learner, whether a Net Generation student; an adult learner; or a faculty member, staff member, or administrator seeking to use technology to improve a student's success. Learn more >

Learning Principles and Practices

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Learning science research has identified a number of principles that can guide the selection of pedagogies and technologies to support successful learning. ELI emphasizes those principles, but goes a step farther by linking them to practices that work. Learn more >

Learning Technologies

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This term encompasses information and instructional technology, as well as telecommunications tools, applications, and systems that support learning. ELI explores the possible benefits and challenges of individual learning technologies, but also considers the potential impact their integration may have on advancing teaching and learning. Learn more >

ELI History

The EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) began as the National Learning Infrastructure Initiative, or NLII. The NLII started in 1994, at a time when most campuses had adopted IT for administrative purposes, but few viewed technology as central to a successful learning environment. NLII sought to drive systemic change in higher education by identifying how technology could best support effective teaching and learning.

The NLII initially focused on creating a technology infrastructure to improve higher education access and quality while reducing costs. In addition to new tools and standards, institutions needed principles, practices, and partnerships to ensure that the infrastructure appropriately supported high-quality, affordable education.

Recognizing that continuously anticipating and adjusting is the key to success, a strategic planning group met in 2005 to anticipate and adjust the direction of the NLII for the next 10 years of its operation. The resulting strategic plan moves beyond infrastructure to a mission of advancing learning through IT innovation, with learners and successful learning as the strategic focus. As part of this transition, the NLII became the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) to better reflect its emphasis on learning, learning principles and practices, and the use of learning technologies to support it.

In 2017, ELI was fully integrated with EDUCAUSE and no longer requires separate membership. Today, all of ELI's events and resources are available to all EDUCAUSE members.


Many of ELI's goals overlap with the interests of other organizations. Rather than duplicate efforts, ELI establishes partnerships that increase the ability of all parties to fulfill their missions and strategic objectives.

ELI values partnering with campuses and other organizations that share its values and directions. As we continue to pursue our strategic objectives, ELI will explore new partnerships and other relationships with organizations that share our interests and goals.

Interested in discovering more about EDUCAUSE and its other programs? Learn more.