Certification in Instructional Designing

May 03, 2014


can someone suggest a good online certification program for instructional designing. I do the research and there seem to be a whole lot of colleges and universities offering this program and it's just very confusing to choose which one.

also, I can't afford to pay a lot for the tuition fee and looking for a real short program not something that stretches fora year.

i've got a good amount of experience in designing and creating courses. Just looking to substantiate my experience with a recognized certificationprogram.

any help in this regard will be much appreciated  

18 Replies
Jackie Van Nice

Hi Gayathri!

You'll get loads of advice about this. I wasn't looking for more degrees , just best practices, when I transitioned from instructional design for ILT to instructional design for e-learning. I took the online versions of ASTD's two certificate courses - their E-Learning Instructional Design Certificate and their Advanced E-Learning Instructional Design Certificate. Both fantastic, and largely based on Michael Allen's work. They take just a few weeks each and I highly recommend them.

For a multitude of other angles and advice, Connie Malamed is always answering questions about this. Here's a post she wrote very recently where she answers the same question for people in a variety of situations: Answers to Instructional Design Career Questions. She includes links to a variety of online and offline instructional design programs, too.

Good luck to you!

Brian Swisher

I'm in the ISD Masters program at University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC).  Aside from the Masters Program they also offer several certificate programs.  The school is well known in ISD and people attend from all over the world.  All classes are offered online.  I've been in the field for 7 years and just started my program last year.  I can't believe all of the new things I am learning!


John Nixdorf

If you're looking for a credential to wave around, consider ASTD's (sorry, ATD's) Certified Professional in Learning and Performance Certification (CPLP).

Personally, I would be very careful about more degree work, you could end up spending a lot of time and money for not much return.

Build a business case for yourself that weighs the time and money cost of whatever it is you're thinking about doing versus the return you reasonably expect to get from it.

Candidly, if I were going to be hiring an instructional designer, I'd be more interested in seeing work samples and satisfying myself that the person can actually get things done.

I was once asked in a job interview the difference between formative and summative evaluation, and my response was "I used to know the answer to that, but I'm a doer, not a theoretician, so I'm sorry I'd have to look the terms up" I then discussed different methods of developing and evaluating training and ended up getting the job anyway.

Gayathri Kumar

That's an interesting story you got there John . I've been there too.

I believe instructional designing is more common sense than theory. For instance, while the audience and task analysis will give an insight into what kind of a course design will help the learner as well as the organization achieve their respective goals, I've never been able to directly perform a tangible application of the ID theories. Yes, the models and theories behind them help us understand many concepts associated with writing or creating course material such as what andragogy and pedagogy are etc. But hanging on to them for dear life has never worked for me.

But, I want a certification to substantiate my experience or in your words "wave around" :).

Thanks for the link.

Gayathri Kumar

I agree Bruce. Unfortunately for me I've always been associated with a company as an ID. So access to courses I've created is restricted because of NDA. So, if I have to build a portfolio I won't have much that I can include in it. They won't allow me to take samples to showcase. But I can certainly talk about them.

Jackie Van Nice

Bruce Graham said:


I understand, and the only thing I can suggest is to get a Free Trial version of the software, and try to create a few screenshots and concept pieces.

And of course if we're back to talking about creating your own zippy little portfolio pieces, one way to find some motivation, structure, inspiration, and variety to show off your skills is to check out the weekly challenges on David's blog: http://community.articulate.com/blogs/david/

I feel like I'm always saying this, but it's a great way to add to your portfolio. I've had people offer work just because they stumble across my challenge pieces - and it's happened for many others, too. These are the ones I've done and posted, but many other participants have done the same and I'm sure they'd share with you, too: http://www.jackievannice.com/?page_id=175061258

Bruce Graham

+1 for Jackie's post - 100%.

If people are looking for Articulate people - they come here and look around at some point.

They may not always openly advertise it, but clients/customers come here and then contact people because they like their understanding on a subject, they like the "output", (such as the challenges), they like the advice that people give, they like someone's "style", or whatever.

Never underestimate the power of this Forum.

Nancy P. Hemenway

I would suggest you look at James Madison University. I am in the middle of a master's degree program in Ed Tech but I started out getting a certificate in E-Learning and decided to go for a second master's degree. It's all online but the access to professors and support from professors is amazing. There are a number of options as well - it just depends on what you want to do.
My advanced video production class is currently working on two videos for JMU on the ed tech program. 
I have a master's degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from George Mason University - they also have an instructional design program that I am accepted in but I decided to go JMU. Aside from the stellar professors and really well-designed courses, it is the most economical I've seen.  I will be 75% complete by next summer when I plan on an international internship in the UK (virtual internship as part of the program). 

If you have questions, feel free to email me. Nancy (hemenwnp@dukes, jmu.edu 
And take a look at their E-Learning certificate.