As learning opportunities continue to be needed outside of the physical classroom, the need for customized, locally tailored content is greater than ever. Mobile applications hold great promise for both achieving extensive reach while delivering interactive learning for students around the world in a range of languages.

Stepping Stone is an app-authoring platform that enables users to design and export their own mobile learning (m-learning) apps without sacrificing rich, interactive content. It is designed for use by government education systems and local organizations that want to harness and control the power of m-learning. Stepping Stone is built on an open-source code base and is free for end users. No coding skills are required. Non-technical staff can create m-learning apps in the field using locally produced media content.

Key Activities

  • Zambia: EDC partnered with Johns Hopkins University to develop a Stepping Stone app to train laypersons on providing mental health counseling. The app contained videos, textual instructions for role-play scenarios, interactive audio instructions, and conceptual diagrams for use in both didactic training presentations and small group activities.
  • Zambia: EDC partnered with Zambia’s Ministry of Education to implement Let’s Read, a new SteppingStone app. Let’s Read will be rolled out to over 2,000 schools in 2021.


  • Mali: Stepping Stone was rolled out to an initial cohort of over 5,000 youth in 2011.
  • Philippines: A Stepping Stone app was implemented in a pilot study to help students boost their phonics, spelling, and reading comprehension skills. This study involved approximately 60 third-grade teachers and 1,655 pupils. Students responded positively, and the app helped to boost engagement.
  • Zambia:
    • Across 2,000 community schools, the use of a Stepping Stone teacher training app by volunteer teachers resulted in students’ reading scores doubling in three different language groups.
    • A randomized control trial demonstrated that using a Stepping Stone early-grade reading app proved to be more cost effective than using worksheets.

Learn More

U.S. Agency for International Development, Johns Hopkins University, EDC