Partnering for Progress: IET Digital Resources presented at the 2024 COABE Annual Conference

Partnering for Progress: IET Digital Resources presented at the 2024 COABE Annual Conference

The recent COABE presentation, delivered by Iowa Workforce Development and Atomic Jolt, shared key insights into enhancing education through partnerships and the strategic use of digital tools. Led by education specialists Mike Williams, Laura Grell, and myself, the session showcased the effective implementation of Integrated Education and Training (IET) digital resources and their benefits.

Vision and Execution
Mike Williams discussed Iowa's vision for integrating education and training to develop robust career pathways. He emphasized the alignment of adult education with state content standards and the incorporation of workforce development activities to enhance participant outcomes.

Comprehensive Development and Engagement
The first area of focus was the IET Needs Exploration process. This informed the development of materials for educational courses. The course design and feedback processes were detailed in our presentation, highlighting the creation of the IET CNA Supplemental Course. We outlined the steps involved, including:

  • Initial Surveys and Stakeholder Meetings: These were used to identify the needs and gather information at both state and community college levels.
  • Course Development: The design phase involved creating digital materials that were iteratively refined through pilot testing and feedback involving three AEL Providers throughout the state.
  • Implementation Strategies: The use of Canvas LMS to organize and deliver these open educational materials effectively across various educational settings.
  • Feedback and Adjustments: The continuous improvement process based on feedback from instructors and students was discussed, which led to modifications like adding more quizzes and printable resources to the courses.

Practical Implementation and Challenges

Laura Grell offered an in-depth look at the practical application of digital resources at Western Iowa Tech Community College (WITCC)  She shared challenges and practical approaches to integrating digital resources within the classroom setting. Laura highlighted:

  • HyFlex Model and Student Flexibility: Laura emphasized the benefits of the HyFlex model, a hybrid flexible format where class sessions and activities are offered both in-person, synchronously online via Zoom and asynchronously online. This model has allowed for significant flexibility, accommodating students' varying schedules and unforeseen circumstances such as transportation issues. For example, students could switch from face-to-face attendance to joining via Zoom if their car broke down or they couldn’t find a babysitter, ensuring continuous access to education without disruption.
  • Engagement and Retention: The ability to adapt to different learning modalities under the HyFlex model has been crucial for retaining students. Laura shared examples of students joining classes from their workplace or needing extra help with course materials, which could be seamlessly provided through Zoom or in-person, based on detailed progress tracking enabled by the LMS.
  • Collaboration and Infrastructure: Implementing the HyFlex model required collaboration across various departments within the college, linking the state reporting system with the Canvas LMS to streamline processes and enhance instructional delivery. Laura noted the extensive effort involved in setting up these systems but highlighted the rewarding outcome of meeting students' diverse needs in previously unachievable ways.

Future Directions
The presentation also looked forward to expanding the use of IET models, emphasizing the importance of collaboration among educators to share resources and improve curriculum design. The creation of a state initiative library of open educational resources was highlighted as a crucial step toward improving educational quality.

The COABE presentation by Iowa Workforce Development and Atomic Jolt highlighted how digital tools and collaboration are essential in modernizing education. Mike and I shared specific examples of how IET programs are being effectively implemented to meet diverse educational needs and improve student success. These initiatives demonstrate digital innovation's vital role in developing adaptable, inclusive, and impactful educational strategies.

Access the free IET CNA Supplemental Resources:

Do you have digital IET resources to share? Or are you looking for further information on how to set up tracking student progress within the course? Reach out to me at

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