Making quality distance and blended learning possible for adult learners
The IDEAL Consortium helps member states establish quality innovative distance and blended learning programs by offering professional development, providing technical support, and facilitating a network of education leaders from across the country. We aim to ensure that all learners have access to quality learning opportunities beyond the classroom.
IDEAL Consortium Milestones
How IDEAL Works
IDEAL Consortium members can customize their memberships from a list of professional development and networking options.
Mentoring and networking enable IDEAL members to improve blended and distance programming by learning from the experiences, triumphs and challenges of other teachers, PD leaders, and program administrators. Facilitated support is provided by subject matter experts and peer leaders across the country. To sustain the connections made between member states, the IDEAL Consortium hosts a Community of Practice and the annual IDEAL Institute.
Annual IDEAL Consortium Summer Institute
Each August, the IDEAL Consortium hosts a multi-day institute for representatives from member states. Participants have an opportunity to share information and learn from one another, see presentations, and discuss innovative instructional strategies, important policy considerations, and administrative practices. The goal of Institute activities is to help members plan for the upcoming distance/blended education programming in their states. The 2017 Institute took place August 22-23 in Minneapolis, MN.
The 2017 Institute was sponsored by Aztec, Essential Education, McGraw-Hill, Northstar Digital Literacy Assessment, and Odysseyware. Contact us for information about sponsorship opportunities.
Institute 2016: Read the report on the 2016 IDEAL Institute including sections on what member states were up to, policy highlights, and featured presentations.
Community of Practice
Connections made at the IDEAL Institute are strengthened through continuous online discussion throughout the year. IDEAL members post questions to support just-in-time learning. Additionally, EdTech staff facilitate discussions based on technical support issues raised in communication with member states. Topics have included:
- Checklists for developing blended learning lessons
- Lending WiFi hotspots and devices to learners
- Models for providing distance learning (at local programs or at a centralized hub)
Professional Development for ABE Teachers and Administrators
Online professional development helps both teachers and program administrators understand what it’s like to be an online learner. Course participants can organize their learning to match their busy schedules. Adam from Minnesota notes that IDEAL 101 provides an exceptional opportunity for colleagues within a program to partner with others from around their state for in-depth study on the fundamentals of distance and blended learning programs, including research and best practices, supported by knowledgeable facilitators and engaging discussions.
Online courses are available in both facilitated and self-paced formats. Facilitation can be provided by IDEAL or from a state trainer. New courses will be developed based on members’ needs.
Spotlight on Member States
- Arizona: Growing blended learning across the state
- California: Drawing on IDEAL PD to support a Digital Leadership Academy; relying on innovation in other states to improve California’s programs
- Illinois: Making use of IDEAL PD to support a train the trainer approach to improving learning options
- Maine: Relying on IDEAL PD to provide equitable and quality programming across the state
- Massachusetts: Drawing on IDEAL PD content to support customized teacher education
- Minnesota: Focusing on building participation of English language learners in blended learning
- Pennsylvania: Looking to IDEAL membership to support expansion of blended learning opportunities across the state
- Rhode Island: Leading a conversation about use of blended learning to support Competency Based Models in education
- Texas: Networking with IDEAL colleagues for guidance on policy, professional development approaches and distance learning models
- *NEW MEMBERS* Maryland, Michigan (NW Region), Welcome!
Become a Member
Membership ensures opportunities for education leaders from different states to meet and learn from each other, gain new insight into what works, and access professional development materials. Technical support is available to members on data collection and analysis, reporting, educational program design, instructional strategies, and selection and use of online curricula. IDEAL Consortium workshop topics and ongoing discussion are shaped in response to the needs and interests of consortium membership.
In addition to the following membership levels, customized professional development packages are also available. If your state does not permit purchase of memberships, we can provide alternative technical assistance plans. We look forward to hearing from you about your membership.
Membership Fees and Benefits
Basic PD Level: $4,500
- Up to 10 hours of mentoring to support state education and professional development leaders
- Two-day, annual summer institute for two people *
- Access to a virtual Community of Practice for distance/blended education leaders
- Access to all professional development courses: individual self-paced and group courses. Course facilitation is available from IDEAL at the following rates:
- IDEAL 101: 9 months of facilitation for up to 20 participants $3,000
- IDEAL 102: 4 months of facilitation for up to 20 participants $1,500
- Special Topics Course facilitation for up to 20 participants $1,000
Community of Practice Level: $2,000
- Up to five hours of mentoring to support state education and PD leaders
- Two-day, annual summer institute for two people*
- Access to a virtual Community of Practice for DE leaders
* There is a $500 fee for each additional Institute participant. States/Institutions arrange and cover the costs of travel and lodging for all participants.