@curious, thanks for the feedback. As @ben_bain says, we're taking all of it into account while working on the next revision of the guidelines. And while we do try to specify the problem but not the solution, some assumptions about the solution are of necessity incorporated into the definition of the problem. In part that's to constrain the solutions to ones that are readily comparable to one another so we can have a fair competition. After all, specifying that entries have to be apps that run on smartphones is clearly making very fundamental assumptions about the solutions!
In general, we believe that collaboration, cooperation, and social support networks are valuable for all sorts of learning. We think it's so valuable, in fact, that requiring or prohibiting it would make a substantive difference in the competition. The solutions developed for the Global Learning XPRIZE need to be deployable in places where Internet access does not yet exist or is too expensive to be affordable for children. Therefore, we prohibited Internet access for that competition.
That constraint doesn't exist for solutions developed for adults in the United States, and in fact the opposite is true. A very substantial majority of low-literacy adults in the US have free wifi access available at a reasonably accessible location (not always at home). Creating connected communities of literacy learners is an important goal of the Adult Literacy XPRIZE, and several adult literacy professionals have emphasized (here and elsewhere) the importance of those support networks and communities.
That's the background for the incorporation of that requirement as the Adult Literacy XPRIZE was being developed; it's part of the definition of the goal we're trying to achieve. We'll certainly consider the feedback - I just wanted to explain XPRIZE's reasoning behind the different requirements for the two prizes.