What degree/certificate programs exist?

Feb 10, 2011

Got this question from a blog reader:

"As part of our development, a few of us in the OD department are looking into programs/certifications that will help us as we move from producing on-demand learning events to creating learning that is part of a learning plan.  Can you recommend any programs"

152 Replies
Edward MacDougall

As a Boise State graduate, I can also vouch for the quality of the Instructional & Performance Technology program. I did the entire program online over the course of four years (roughly one class per semester) and was very pleased with the faculty, and just as important, my fellow classmates. I would certainly recommend looking at it and would be happy to correspond with anyone who has specific questions about the experience.


P.S. I just joined this forum the other day and this is my first post... I'm looking forward to reading and contributing more, this looks like a great resource!

Edward MacDougall

Rachel Reed said:

I looked at the Boise State site, and maybe this is a silly question (or maybe i'm looking in the wrong place) but it lists a Masters of Educational Technology and a Masters of Science in Ed. Tech.  Is this there version of Instructional Design...or does the fact it mentions Technology mean something more? 

I guess what I'm trying to ask is...does the "technology" in the name just mean it focuses on e-learning and learning using technology as mediums...or does it mean you actually become a guru on the technical aspects of the technology?

Hi Rachel,

The use of the word "technology" might be a little confusing... It comes from the dictionary definition of technology and is used fairly commonly in the training and instructional design industry... So Instructional Technology really means (paraphrasing) applying scientific principles and knowledge to design, develop, evaluate, etc. instructional materials.  It does not mean the use of computers, specialized software, etc, although these tools are often used. Does that help?


Kris Talynn


Boise State's instructional design program is different from the education program.  Here's the website for the instruction design program (http://ipt.boisestate.edu/).  You'll see that they have a masters in Instructional and Performance Technology and three graduate certificates, two that focus on instructional design/e-learning and one that focuses on human performance analysis.  All of the graduate certificate classes count towards the masters so you could get a certificate before you get your masters and then just continue on.  It just adds more credentials to your resume.  I've actually done that, so by the time I'm done in Spring 2012, I'll have my masters plus a graduate certificate in Human Performance Technology and one in Workplace e-Learning Performance Support.

The program is available on campus as well as online.  I'm in UT and the school is in ID.  All my classes thus far have been online using either Lotus Notes or Blackboard.  The program is really good!

Lesli Woodruff

I am in the Instructional Design Master's Program at UMass Boston (http://uc.umb.edu/id/). Almost 1/2-way through, and I find it to be a strong and relevant program with course offerings and material that I can use immediately in my work as a corporate trainer. There is a good mix of ID theory and practical application, with 2 different tracks, one being a certificate program in Instructional Technology Design and the other being a Master of Education in Instructional Design. The courses are offered online and on-campus, so you can plan out a program that works for you. For long-distance students, there is a 2-week intensive on Nantucket Island each summer that enables you to do two core courses and meet fellow classmates, which is really cool! There are students in the program from all over the US and around the world.

I'd be glad to answer any questions about the program...I was the Graduate Assistant for 6 months, and had to resign because the program gave me the skills to land a new full-time job!!

Lorraine Zank


I have to agree with everyone about Boise State's MS IPT program--it's wonderful, Kris above has given lots of good, accurate information (Kris, we're in a class together this summer). Someone asked about tuition. Out-of-state is slightly more than in-state but, since it's online, the cost difference isn't much. Basically, it's $415 per credit, and the MS program is 36 credits. The certificates (for those who don't want to take the whole MS) are 15-18 credits. It's comparable in price to other good courses and less expensive than some. I was going to go somewhere else that would have cost less, but I'm really glad I went with BSU instead. Patrik, coming from Europe, this may seem expensive to you, but you could look at it as an investment. At first I enrolled in a certificate program, but have found the classes so worthwhile that I've now signed on for the MS.

Kris Talynn

Lorraine, good to see you outside of class!  I'm absolutely loving IPT523 thus far!  I'm also taking IPT584 Dreamweaver.  I would second your comments about tuition.  I've got a friend in an MBA program and it's almost double what we are paying.  I think bottom line in finding a school is references from students, reputation, cost, convenience and availability of program, and overall program emphasis. 

Imogen Cunningham

I am considering a certificate in Instructional & Performance Technology. Looking for advice about whether or not this would be right for me.

I recently completed my MA in College Student Affairs. My thesis was a documentary film about service-learning and how essential empirical learning is. I've worked for over 10 years at colleges; advising, career counseling, outreach. But I'd like to some day make more than 20K per year. Even with the MA, it is bleak and colleges today won't even pay for my gas to come to a job interview or they expect me to fly out of state for a day long interview with my own money, and not even pay for lunch.

My BA is in Liberal Arts; Visual and Performing Arts. I received a post- bac certificate in Documentary Studies from Duke U. When not working in higher education, I have always had a second life as a writer, producer, director of films where I seldom make any money and these jobs are always either self-funded or temporary freelance. It is more like an expensive hobby.

Coming from such a humble low-income background, I've always been intimidated by the corporate world. But I'm wondering if I were to get a certificate in Instructional & Performance Technology it might help me to turn my MA into something more useful that can help me escape from the art / education world, at least long enough to make some money.

I feel I am a good problem solver and strategic planner. Successfully producing a movie, requires these skills.

Having worked as a college advisor, I know if I contact the schools for advice, they will just try to sell me the program. So I was hoping someone could give me some insight. I live in NC, do not want to move, but I learn much better in a classroom than I do on-line so ideally I'd like to find a certificate program that offers weekend workshops or very short term classes.

Peter Fong

San Francisco State University has a Instructional Technologies program that offers both a MA degree program and a Certificate.


I am a recent graduate with a MA degree from program and the faculty and courses covers a wide variety of topics including learning theory to e-learning design. The experiences that I have received from the program along with the connections I have made are very well worth the time I have invested in it.

Kevin Dowd

I really appreciate this conversation, and am sure that I'm not the only one!  My foundation offers some tution assistance, so I was recently browsing through the options and had a hard time sifting through it all.  I seemed to find a lot of programs that at first glance looked like they were focused on adult education / instructional design, but when I actually started looking at the course offerings it was clear that the programs were more geared towards grade school and post secondary school teachers.

Kelley Miller

I also agree with everyone about Boise State's IPT program. I graduated in 2005, and it was a fantastic program. I also recommend ASTD's Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) program. There are many options for preparing for the exam and the work product requirements with ASTD materials, local ASTD chapter study groups, college CPLP prep classes, etc. It covers the nine areas of expertise as identified in ASTD's workplace learning competency model and includes OD. I completed the CPLP about a year after I finished my masters at BSU, and it was a great confirmation of everything I learned at BSU in addition to about 10 years of experience in the field at the time.

Dean Vella

I am currently enrolled at the University of San Francisco's internet marketing masters certificate program. I find the information to be up to date, relevant and challenging. And so you know, I am working in the program as well. I am doing the program to get a students perspective and of coarse to learn more about internet marketing.

And one more University to add to your list - The University of Notre Dame.

Kristen Struss

I'll be graduating from Florida State University in December. I definitely recommend this program. I work full time but had absolutely no problem completing the Masters degree in about 2 years (I took classes in the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters).

They offer both Masters degrees and Certificates. You can do both the degree and certificate programs online and we do have students from all over as well.

 As a Master's student you can focus simply on Instructional Systems or be more specific by focusing on Open and Distance Learning or Performance Improvement and Human Resource Development. Certificate programs are available in Human Performance Technology and Online Instructional Development. They continually add new courses in response to current trends (for example, in Spring they will be offering a Mobile Learning class) which is really nice.

If anyone has any questions about FSU's program please don't hesitate to contact me!

Kathy Snyder

I am taking my first class in the IPT program at Boise State. I have been very impressed with the experience so far. The instructor is responsive and a good facilitator. The coursework is very focused on building understanding and skills to apply in the workplace. We also receive lots of optional information and activities to go even farther with our learning if we desire.

Nancy Smith

I attended the U. of Washinton's E-learning Design and Development certificate program in 2009-10. The program has been extremely helpful as my agency dived into e-learning as part of its education plan. I am an experienced teacher and discovered through the program how to apply good teaching to eleanring.  I now do most of my agency's e-learning, both synchronous and asynchronous. The program is entirely virtual and I had fellow students from private industry, government, and non-profit agencies from whom I learned a great deal.  I found the program to be very interactive and highly encouraging of collaboration and sharing. The final piece was a practicum that I eventually published at work---useful to combine learning with an actual work project.  I now sit on the Advisory Board for the program as an alum, and know that continuing improvement occurs and that many K-12 teachers are also taking the course. While most learners are from Washington State and the west coast, a significant number come from around the country and some are international students. Great for novices and any others who wish to apply solid learning theory in a new modality.

Shawn Stiles

I'm currently enrolled in the grad certficate program at the University of Wisconsin - Stout and so far it is very good. The school interface is very easy to use and is well organized.  One of the most interesting aspects of the program so far is that you have to create a project that will be used through the entire certficate program, which is a great way to reinforce what we are learning.


Natalie MacConnell

I am currently looking into starting a certificate program online with the option for a Masters degree as well.  I had narrowed my options down to one of the certificates at Boise in the IPT program or the Instructional Design certificate at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.  I had finally decided on Wisconsin and planned to start in January, but I see so much good feedback on Boise (although I'm glad that Shawn just posted some Wisconsin feedback too!).  If anyone else has Wisconsin experience, please share.  I am looking to complete a certificate to gain knowledge and experience to use for a career change.  I have a computer science / e-marketing / project management background and want to have an official credential to help me move into the field.


Belinda Scarth-Johnson

Ali Ahmed said:

Can anyone tell me what degree/certificate programs are available in Australia?

Hi Ali,

I have almost completed a Post Graduate Certificate in eLearning at the University of New England. Like previous community members have mentioned this course is run completely online. I have found it to be challenging but also rewarding. I have attached the link for you to have a look at http://www.une.edu.au/courses/courses/GCEL



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