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Adult Education


The Iowa Association of Community College Presidents formed a work group to research and explore expanding online learning for adult education and literacy students. Their charge? To address the needs of adult learners and increase access and opportunities to adult education instruction.

The recommendations that came from the work group are compiled in the Adult Education and Literacy Online Education and Recruitment report. The initiative was named Iowa Distance Education Adult Literacy (IDEAL) and reinforces a systemic and technology-rich opportunity for learners to build future ready workplace skills while simultaneously building basic academic skills.

The vision of the IDEAL initiative is to support online learning with high-quality, standards-driven courses. The courses can be delivered entirely online and customized to add area-specific content to address regional demands and the needs of the participants. Each community college will continue to offer face-to-face classes as usual and will use IDEAL to expand services while providing accessibility for participants who may struggle with attending in-person classes.


Iowa Adult Education staff and instructors can gain access to Canvas by contacting their local Canvas Designee. The Canvas Designee will assist them in completing the process of creating a canvas user account and creating a course shell.


Who needs training?

IDEAL is set up to include all educational functioning levels as well as each subject for high school equivalency completion. IDEAL is building the process by which a participant may engage with adult education services from registration to completion entirely remote if preferred. Programs may use any part of IDEAL and the courses and modules for synchronous and asynchronous learning. Program coordinators, instructors, data specialists will need to know how best to incorporate IDEAL into their delivery of services, each role may have required and recommended training.

How will adult education programs be trained to use IDEAL?

A variety of methods will be used to train users. This includes instructor resources, how-to videos, webinars, E-Learnings, and peer groups from experienced staff. In Summer 2022, the IDEAL initiative kicked-off the IDEAL Certification course.

What is the IDEAL Certification course?

The IDEAL Certification course will be an introduction to IDEAL and assist course participants to complete the following:

  • Gain access as a teacher to the IDEAL course.
  • Create any required accounts and/or complete any registration requirements that your course requires.
  • Complete the Getting Started Checklist in your course.
  • Navigate the Atomic Assessment in your course.
  • Know where to go in your course to monitor student progress.
  • Preview assignments to your course.
  • Know the process to enroll students at your college.

It is estimated to take around three to six hours to complete this course, but participants could complete it in more or less time depending on their prior experience working with Canvas and prior knowledge of the materials used in the course.

How can I gain access to the IDEAL Certification course?

Iowa Adult Education staff and instructors can gain access to the IDEAL Certification course by contacting their local Canvas Designee.


Timeline for the IDEAL course development.