top of page

What is Online Learning?

Imagine getting connected with leaders in education throughout the world, access to thousands of ideas to implement in your classroom, and sequenced professional learning that builds your teaching skills. And then, imagine having all of that during passing time at school.

Or, at midnight in your bedroom.

Or, in the lobby of a hotel clear across the country.

With online learning, you can have all of it. Online learning provides a new way to gain access to professional development opportunities that were never possible before. It fits in your schedule, allowing you to go your speed and through many different paths for learning. It is on-demand and just-in-time. And what's more, it provides a range in the size of professional development opportunities that can meet all your needs.

Online learning uses the Internet for the learner to gain access to the teacher, other learners, instructional materials, and interactive digital lessons. It also comes in many forms.

Think of online learning in these three broad categories:

  • Facilitated: Teacher-led instruction, with a cohort of fellow learners and a set start and end date.

  • Self-Paced: Student-driven instruction, where students can start at any time and proceed at any pace

  • Personalized: Combination of many different learning opportunities, often in conjunction with online communities of practice

AEA Learning Online works to bring all of these to you:

  • Online courses tend to be what we think of first when we think of online learning. They feature an online instructor and the chance to earn credit. But online courses are not isolating experiences. Our online courses always feature a large amount of interaction between participants, through discussion forums, collaborative group work, peer-assessed activities, and other collective sharing repositories. Often, participants report they got to know their fellow participants better because of the way online courses are structured.

  • Our online courses are available throughout the year in anywhere from 1- to 3-credits. To see what current online courses are available, check out our course registration site.

  • Online trainings are self-paced modules that require no instructor. A participant can navigate through the self-paced instruction at her own pace. While online courses are required by code to be at least 15-hours of instruction per credit hour, online modules usually last about an hour, with the main purpose being a limited set of objectives to master in that time.


     We feature many different types of online modules. Our online training system contains mandated

     trainings for educators, such as the Mandatory Reporting of Child and Dependent Adult Abuse, as well as   

     OSHA required trainings like Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens.

  •  Self-paced courses are a very personalized form of self-paced learning.  Participants take a prepared sequence of online modules, which they can start at any time.  As they proceed, participants interact with a course instructor to complete assignments and interact with the content.  These courses are typically 1 license renewal credit (though there are some options for more credits or graduate credit).  Both our self-paced courses and our trainings can be found at our Training System.

For more information about these, please see our  Frequently Asked Questions.

AEA Learning Online Mission

  • To increase the amount of online professional learning opportunities for Iowa's teachers, including diversifying along subject areas, grade levels, and online format

  • To improve the quality of online professional learning for Iowa's teachers

  • To serve as an advocate for quality online professional learning by partnering with other state organizations

We're not just for teachers

In October of 2017, AEA Learning Online changed their original name of AEA PD Online, because for many years we had not been exclusively online professional development.  We also offer services for Iowa schools to deliver their own online and blended learning.  This includes:

Technology supports - Including free hosting of a learning management system as well as our one-of-its-kind personalized learning management system.

E-Curriculum - Including for facilitated learning, personalized learning, and OER resources.

Professional Learning - Including our popular Blending/Flipping Your Classroom and OLLIE series.

Vision Consultation - Helping your district craft its own vision for implementing an online learning program.

AEA Learning Online History

In 2007, seeing the future of teacher learning would include online professional development, the AEA Chief Administrators commissioned what would be known as the AEA Online Council (archived website). Composed of a representative from each AEA, the Online Council is a collection of expertise from license renewal programs, educational services, media services, and education technology.

In addition to several ex officio members, including from several partners, the AEA Online Council met monthly to discuss, prioritize, and plan professional development opportunities.

In the fall of 2009, the AEA Online Council recommended doing more than simply working collaboratively. They proposed a statewide system, where online professional development would be located in one place for educators across the state. This was the beginning of AEA Learning Online.

In the fall of 2010, the AEAs drafted a 28E agreement to govern the system, choosing one AEA to be the "host" for the statewide technology, while the planning continued with the work of the Online Council. To oversee an operational budget, the 28E agreement established a 5-person governance council.

In January 2011, AEA Learning Online received approval from the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners to offer license renewal credit. Currently, we partner with 3 institutions to deliver graduate credit: Drake University, Morningside College, and Viterbo University.

To help guide the work of AEA Learning Online's license renewal credit offerings, the AEA Online Advisory Council meets regularly. Meeting the requirements set in code, the Advisory Council is a mixture of stakeholders from LEAs, post-secondary institutions, statewide organizations, and the community.

AEA Learning Online Governance Council

Current members of the Governance Council include:

Bev Berns-Keystone AEA                       Kurt Subra-Heartland AEA

Julie Davies-Central Rivers AEA                 Katy Evenson/Judy Sweetman-Northwest AEA

Jeff Herzberg-Prairie Lakes AEA                 Lisa Jacobs-Great Prairie AEA

Kim Hofmann-Mississippi Bend AEA             Lane Plugge-Green Hills AEA

Joe Crozier-Grant Wood AEA

Please reload

bottom of page