IDEAL Consortium

Making quality distance, blended, and digital learning possible for adult learners

The Innovating Digital Education in Adult Learning (IDEAL) Consortium helps member states establish quality innovative distance, blended, and digital 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 within and beyond the classroom.

Distance Education Program Development Checklist

HyFlex Handbook


IDEAL Consortium members can customize their memberships from a list of professional development and networking options.

Technical Support

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.

2022 Institute Partners include:

IDEAL Consortium Awards

The IDEAL Consortium has two awards that get presented at the annual Institute: the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Advancing Adult Digital Learning Award.

Award recipients:

    • Silja Kallenbach, Impact Award, 2022
    • Penny Pearson, Lifetime Achievement Award, 2022
    • Heide Spruck Wrigley, Lifetime Achievement Award, 2019
    • Debra Hargrove, Lifetime Achievement Award, 2018
    • Steve Quann, Lifetime Achievement Award, 2017
    • Jere Johnston, Lifetime Achievement Award, 2016
    • David Rosen, Advancing Adult Digital Learning Award, 2016

Community of Practice

Connections made at the IDEAL Institute are strengthened through continuous online discussions 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. 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.

“With your help and guidance, we are helping programs learn how to incorporate more technology of all types into programming and reach more students. I heard many “ah-hahs!” as folks left the mini-institute.” – Heidi Silver-Pacuilla, Ph.D. Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, Virginia Department of Education

“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.” – Adam, Minnesota 

IDEAL Consortium attendees


  • Arizona: Maximizing student choice and flexibility through the addition of the HyFlex model of instruction
  • California: Leading adult education through support for and the effective application of technology
  • Colorado: Drawing on IDEAL PD resources to scale up distance education in their programs
  • Connecticut: Connecticut plans to increase the efficacy of virtual learning by the creation of consistent standards and improved delivery of virtual learning through effective support and professional learning for teachers and the creation of clear state policy guidelines. 
  • Delaware: Expanding remote options for adult learners in achieving their education and employment goals
  • District of Columbia: DC Providers Excel In Delivering Integrated Education & Training via Place-Based, Blended, and/or Distance Approaches! Thanks, IDEAL Consortium!
  • Illinois: Making use of IDEAL PD to support a train the trainer approach to improving learning options
  • Maine: Increasing the quality of distance and blended learning through the IDEAL PD content and expertise of our IDEAL colleagues
  • Maryland: Laying a new foundation for strong distance and blended learning statewide by establishing new policies and providing PD for teachers across the state
  • Massachusetts: ACLS envisions Virtual Learning and Service Delivery options where all Massachusetts adult residents in need of adult basic education will be able to access high-quality remote, hybrid or in-person instruction regardless of zip code, work schedule, or family responsibilities.
  • Michigan: Building techniques and resources to provide quality services to our distance learners
  • Minnesota: Expanded DL PD and options via the Teacher Verification Model; new online courses – Distance Learning and Blended Learning, and Using LMS to design teacher-created courses; and a new option for DL approval for teacher-created courses
  • New Hampshire: Shifting from surviving to thriving with the intentional use of technology to meet the new realities of learning
  • New Mexico: Embracing technology innovation to become a state leader in pandemic recovery
  • Pennsylvania: Continuing to expand distance learning opportunities beyond the pandemic; Improving digital literacy competency among staff and students
  • Rhode Island: Refining Distance/Blended/Hyflex Learning; delivering PD to Directors and AE Staff through Learning Circles: a peer-supported learning model
  • South Carolina: Harvesting diamonds –cultivating gems forged from an ever-evolving digital age
  • Tennessee: Expanding student access and teacher resources through a statewide LMS
  • Texas: Investing in the future of Distance Education
  • Virginia:  Strengthening the use of distance and blended learning in instruction by using IDEAL as a professional development resource

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 the selection and use of online curricula. IDEAL Consortium workshop topics and ongoing discussions 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 the purchase of memberships, we can provide alternative technical assistance plans. We look forward to hearing from you about your membership.


Professional Development (PD) Level: $5,000

  • 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 and blended education leaders, including an ongoing online discussion forum and periodic webinars
  • 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 $3,500;
    • IDEAL 102: 4 months of facilitation for up to 10 participants $1,750;
    • IDEAL 103: *cost/participant capacity based on state needs
    • Special Topics Course facilitation for up to 10 participants $1,500.

Community of Practice Level: $2,500

  • Up to five 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 and blended education leaders, including an ongoing online discussion forum and periodic webinars

* There is a $500 fee for each additional Institute participant. States/Institutions arrange and cover the costs of travel and lodging for all participants.