Online Asynchronous Training Modules for the Iowa Nursery and Landscape Association (INLA)

Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension
Iowa State University

Extension Lead(s)
(name, position, counties served, contact information)

Ann Marie VanDerZanden
141 Horticulture Hall, Ames, IA  50014; 515 294 5075

Your Position


POW # and Team

 ­­­­­_____100 Corn and Soybean Production and Protection
­­­­­_____ 110 Dairy
­­­­­_____ 120 Farm and Business Management
­­­­­_XX__ 130 Horticulture: Commercial and Consumer
­­­­­_____ 140 Iowa Beef Center
­­­­­_____ 150 Iowa Pork Industry Center
­­­­­_____ 160 Natural Resources and Stewardship

ANR Priority (select all that apply)

­­­­­_____Global Food Security and Hunger
­­­­­_____Regional Food Systems
­­­­­_XX__Natural Resources & Environmental Stewardship
­­­­­_____Food Safety
­­­­­_____Sustainable Energy – Biofuels & Biobased Products
­­­­­_____Climate Change

Title of Success Story

Online Asynchronous Training Modules for the Iowa Nursery and Landscape Association (INLA)

Continuing Story

_____ No                ___xx_  Yes (If continuing, what story?) 2009-2010 ANR Campus Success Story (POW 2009-2010)

Knowledge Areas: (USDA categories)

Knowledge Area II: Plants and Their Systems (201-216)
Specifically: 205: Plant Management Systems

Desired Changes


(Why is it important to address this issue with education?  What are the desired changes?)

The Iowa Nursery and Landscape Association provides an Iowa Certified Nursery Professional designation for members who successfully complete a certification exam. This differentiates these professionals from other members of Iowa’s green industry. ISU Extension Horticulture has developed the training materials to support this certification program. The end result of people seeking certification is that they have improved their knowledge and skills related to nursery and landscape production and management.

(Outputs: activities, numbers reached, publications, products)

Twenty online training modules are available for INLA members. The modules replaced the printed training manuals which were used prior to 2007. Additionally, all INLA members have access to the modules and each company can use them to meet their own educational needs such as individual professional development or new employee training. 

RESULTS (Outcomes:  specific changes that occurred in Learning, Actions, Conditions; how outcomes were measured)

Participants who took the Iowa Certified Nursery Professional exam in January 2009 and 2010 completed a 19-question survey about the modules. A Likert-type scale (where 1=excellent; 5=poor) was used in combination with open ended questions. The question “My overall rating of these online training modules is:” received a 1.8 rating. As well the percent of participant who pass the exam has increased from 54% before the online modules were used; to 92% the past two years. This suggests the modules are helping people better prepare for the certification exam.

Public Value (now or future)
(Impact:  Who benefits beyond participants and how?  What conditions changed?)

A well-educated nursery and landscape workforce is a essential in creating residential and commercial landscapes that are sustainable and of benefit to the larger environment.  There will be a long term benefit to the property owners as well as the local environment and ecosystem as best landscape management practices are incorporated.

Major Partners or Collaborators

Iowa Nursery and Landscape Association
Iowa Nurserymen’s Research Corporation

Where story took place
(Region, campus, multi-regional)

Modules developed on campus; but accessed across the state

Fiscal Year


Multi-state or Integrated (Ext + Research)


Funding Source

Iowa Nurserymen’s Research Corporation ($16,100 to date)
ISU Excellence in Extension ($1,600 to date)
Total: $17,700


Landscape, nursery, green industry, online training, certification



Page last updated: July 8, 2011
Page maintained by Julie Honeick,