Education, Degree, Major???

Sep 29, 2011

Please help me out here! I have been designing e-learning courses for about 2 years now and desperately want a permanant job. I have been temporary with my current position for 2 years and am self-taught for e-learning development. I want to go to college and get a degree because not having one is holding me back. I am unable to even apply for positions in which I am already doing the work ebcause I do not have a bachelors degree. What did any of you major in? I do not believe a certificate program will help me. I need to attend a university or state college. Please, any advice or correct wording would help me as I have an appointment with admissions on Monday and am at a total loss right now.

15 Replies
David Anderson

Hi Patricia and welcome to E-learning Heroes!

Great question--it's definitely one of the more popular questions! In your case, I would want to know which area of e-learning and instructional design you most enjoy? Is it the analysis and design of training? Project management? Graphics and visual design of learning graphics? You'll want to learn a little of each, but recommendations will likely be based on what you most enjoy.

Here are a few resources and comments users have shared in the past:



David Anderson

That's a good point, because schools will categorize things a little differently.

In this forum thread on available programs, you'll find some high-level categories and programs.

  • Educational Technology
  • Educational Psychology
  • Instructional Design
  • Instructional Technology
  • Instructional Systems
  • Learning Technology

I would search the Education program first and then drill down to specific areas of focus.

But don't discount adding some journalism, communication and graphic design queries, too

David Anderson

You're welcome. Hopefully some other folks will chime in around your specific question.

Do you have a feel for what you're most interested in doing around e-learning? You mentioned building courses for around two years. What would you say your strengths are? What do you like least about building courses?

Do you get to write and build the courses?

Patricia Pratt

Right now i'm basically being given blank powerpoint screens with words and audio/ video files and asked to make them look presentable.  I am building online tutorials and engage interactions. I am the administrator for our lms system of about 600 users. I build monthly quizes as well. I'd like to study curriculum writing and possibly sound/ video editing as well as graphic design. I had no prior experience besides a self-taught artwork background, this job kind of fell into my lap while I was doing an internship as an administrative assistant. I've been able to take a few workshops through the UC  Davis extension and the 2 day articulte course (the thrid i can take in November!) But once again, I really enjoy what I am doing and want to broaden my horizon and experience.

Carrie Ballone

I would tweak your trainings so that they are generic - but demonstrate your skills. You could also create a printed portfolio so that you can talk through your development process. If you list your techinical skills at the top of your resume they are more likely to get picked up with companies that use recruiting software to screen.

I haven't used the free website builders for a while, but will do a little research.  Any ideas out there?

Cindy Plunkett

Hi Patricia,

Another course area you may want to explore is a certificate in Teaching and Training Adults - they often come bundled with courses around instructional design and development.  If you're at all interested in completing a degree online, Athabasca University is an accredited University out of Alberta, Canada and has a very wide range of completely online degrees.  I know a lot of people in the industry from Canada that have completed degrees through there as well as taking their Masters in Distance Education program.

Eric Nalian

Hi Patricia,

I do not know where you are located at, but in the Detroit area, Oakland University has a Bachelors of Human Resource Development that offers a minor in Training and Development, and they also have a Masters in Training and Development.

You can also find out the names of professors in your area that teach HR related courses, and see which programs they would recommend.

Simon Perkins

Hi Patricia

You can't go far wrong with a hosted WordPress site running a custom theme.  Sure, some people see it as 'bloggy', but that's because that's where its roots are.  Nowadays it's much more of a CMS - and a flexible and funky one at that.  Check out some $30-40 themes here

+1 for creating a portfolio.  If you can't show any demos because of NDAs etc, then at least have a bunch of slides that showcase what you bring to the table.  

Good luck..

Natalia Mueller

Patricia- Good for you for pursuing a degree! You are in a nice position where you actually know what you want to do BEFORE you go to college. Many of us did not and you will find that this field has members with incredibly diverse backgrounds. Choosing a major can be overwhelming. (At least it was for me and I changed it many many times.) So it may be helpful for you to know that just having a degree in general, coupled with experience and a portfolio will get you quite far. I've actually never had an employer even ask me what my degree is. Just that I have one.

When you talk to admissions, let them know you have been developing elearning. Stress the areas you enjoy the most or where you want to expand your skills. They will be able to help you find a course path that contains more of the areas you're genuinely interested in.

Best of luck to you!

Victoria Karr

Patricia, I received my Masters in Learning and Teaching with Technology from Ashford University (and it is Accredited, they are located in Clinton Iowa) ; they also offer a Bachelors in Instructional Design.   It is fast paced, 5 week for each course and you really need to focus but with your background could be a great, fast way to go.  I was offered a position 2 months after graduating, with no experience. 

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