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
Bruce Graham

Just to offer another perspective....

I feel that a lot of people/courses are jumping on the "ID Bandwagon".

I have seldom if ever heard 2 x commercially-based IDs ever agree on anything, and if they do, it's usually something that has been said or written by Tom and/or Cathy Moore

There was a recent thread on these boards with someone wanting an instructional designer, and it said (paraphrased...), "...I do not want to know your college or qualifications, just show me what you can do...".

That seems to me to be the most important thing to getting on in this business.

The original post on this thread said "...a few of us in theOD department are looking into programs/certifications that will help usas we move from producing on-demand learning events to creating learning thatis part of a learning plan...". I would still maintain that the major part of being able to do that is understanding the business, being able to talk in the language of business, and to be able to make the connection between business, business objectives and metrics, and training. Few of those things will be talked about in any "Training" qualifications - you would be better taking a Masters in Business and Business Operations.

Just my 2p worth - from a UK perspective.


Garry Hargreaves

Hi Guys,

My 2 cents worth.

I think the bottom line is you need both.  If you are working for yourself or a smaller organisation than qualifications are not that important.  If you’re working for or applying to a large enterprise you’ll get interviewed by HR folk who do not have a clue about all this new media stuff – they just use a traditional approach and that means asking, “do you have any formal qualifications”.

I have more degrees than a thermometer so I can put my foot into any door, but I learnt the most from self-funded professional development and as Phil says the ‘sweat on the collar’.

So you need both to give yourself the best opportunities across the broadest employment spectrum options.

PS: If I ever got a PhD, it would be kinda kool make everyone at work call me doctor…

Jen Cycle

I completed and highly recommend the Master of Educational Technology program at the University of British Columbia (in Canada).  I really enjoyed it - plus it was all online so I worked while I was taking my courses.  They have a final "capstone" course where you synthesize everything you've learned during the program in a website which I found especially helpful.  You can have a look at mine here, if you are interested.

Wendy Bouchard

For both Canada and US - Certificate and Diploma

Langevin Learning Services - http://www.langevin.com/

In Canada

St. Francis Xavier - both certificate and diploma - http://sites.stfx.ca/adult_education_diploma/

Both are good - with Langevin you are given intensive training that you can apply immediately on the job without the long-term commitment of attending school.

Linda Ross

You might also consider PSYCHOLOGY programs, particularly those that emphasis learning, cognition, and neuroscience. You can learn the practical skills by DOING it, as Tom and others suggest, but nothing replaces direct scientific experience in determining whether or not something works.

PS - I designed several of the courses in the UW Distance Learning Design and Development program, and taught them online from 1999 to about 2002 or so.

Mary Ann Kowalczyk (Hagemann)

Tess, great list!  

I went to Roosevelt University for my Master of Arts in Training and Development.  The link you have is broken so here is the new link: http://www.roosevelt.edu/ETS/Programs/TrainingDevelopment.aspx.

In addition to a M.A. in Training and Development, there is a M.A. in Human Performance Improvement.  There are also various Certificates/Graduate Credentials available.  Roosevelt offers ground (in-person), online, and blended learning... AND the MATD (Master of Arts in Training and Development) is aligned to the ASTD Competencies.  They have locations in Schaumburg, IL and Chicago, IL.   Hope this helps!

Here is the list: 

Nathan Chambers

I too am a graduate of Boise State University's M.S. in Instructional and Performance Technology program...it's a great program and provides you with the critical skills you need to be successful.

Additionally, Capella University's master's or doctorate program in Education - Instructional Design for Online Learning is equally fantastic as is their specialization in Training and Performance Improvement.

Justin M

I completed an online graduate certificate in Instructional Design from the University of Wisconsin – Stout in 2013 and can recommend the program.  I’ve finally (almost) convinced my employer to buy Storyline so I hope to get started with it soon.

A graduate certificate is an excellent way to gain some formal education without committing the time and money to a master’s program.  After completing the certificate, I created a list of over 65 online graduate certificates in instructional design, online teaching, e-learning, and related fields that includes credit hours required, costs, application requirements, and related master’s programs.  You can even sort the columns (see the least expensive programs, etc.).  I hope this will help people easily compare certificates at a glance.  

You can see the list at http://idhunter.com/search-programs/.



Mohammad  Hassam

Linda Ross said:

You might also consider PSYCHOLOGY programs, particularly those that emphasis learning, cognition, and neuroscience. You can learn the practical skills by DOING it, as Tom and others suggest, but nothing replaces direct scientific experience in determining whether or not something works.

PS - I designed several of the courses in the UW Distance Learning Design and Development program, and taught them online from 1999 to about 2002 or so.

True. I agree with Linda that we should consider PSYCHOLOGY programs which have a deep emphasis on learning, cognition, and neuroscience. 

Cary Glenn

In western Canada there is a consortium of universities that offer a Certificate in Adult and Continuing and Education. The schools include University of Victoria, University of Calgary, University of Alberta (they no longer are part of the consortium but do have their own program still) and University of Saskatchewan. The program is a mix of very practical courses and more educational theory courses.

Gangotri Patwardhan

Hi Everyone,

This is my first post but I have been following e-learning heroes for ages and this community has helped me get out of a lot of tight spots in my previous job. I just shifted my base to the San Francisco Bay Area and I want to enroll to a good university here for a degree course in Instructional Design with an overlay of Project Management. I have a work experience of 2 years as an Associate Project Manager. I have a hands on experience on authoring tools like Storyline, Captivate, Articulate Studio - Presenter, Engage and Quiz Maker. I have done a fair bit of storyboarding too. But my core competency lies in client servicing. I couldn't find an entry in the list mentioned above that covers the Bay area. Could you please help me choose the right course?

Traci P

The learning design and technology degree through Purdue is very good, but definitely an investment (as are most graduate programs).

This is an online certificate program that I was interested in before I ultimately decided on a graduate degree. The staff and professors are able to answer questions about the program. 


Karen Whitford

Do you have any other suggestions for Canada?I'm looking for something I can do totally online and because I'm looking foran "Elearning" certificate program that I can do through an "elearning" program it's hard to find what I'm looking for through searchengines.  Also, there are so many courses out there that aren't ascreditable as others, it would be nice to hear from people with real knowledgeabout the courses. I want to get the most out of my money that employers willvalue. Some of the courses I've tried to take online through the colleges end up just being basic PowerPointcourses. It would be nice to have a course online that's engaging, interestingand informative so I can get some real value for my money. 

Annie Louden

Has anyone here heard of or enrolled in the program at Franklin University? It's an MS in Instructional Design and Performance Technology. I began taking classes in 2012; I've completed 4, but I'm not really happy with the program. I'm trying to decide if I should transfer, finish the degree at Franklin anyway, or just forget about getting a degree for now.

Laura Avery

@Karen (and anyone else looking for Canadian programs): I'm currently taking my third of three courses in Athabasca University's Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Instructional Design and I highly recommend it.

Athabasca is an international leader in distance education so the professors are highly engaged in the scholarship of online teaching and learning. The program is 100% online and the courses you take for the certificate also count for credit towards Athabasca's Post-Bac Diploma and Master of Education in Distance Education. The only downside to the program is cost, but that's not as much of an issue if you have access to employer funding!

The CSTD has a list of recognized programs available here that may also be of interest to you. (Note: some of the programs cover adult education rather than ID, and they may not all be 100% online.) You can see that Athabasca's MEd is on the list, although they haven't separated out the Post-Bac Certificate and Diploma.

Hope this helps,


Kirsten Morton

I graduated in 2008 from the UC Denver masters program listed above.  It was set up so that by the end of the first year, you completed the graduate certificate program, then one more year for the masters.  The program was all online and absolutely amazing!  Very practical - we covered the theory stuff that Phil mentions above but spent more time on Michael Allen, Ruth Clark, etc.  The focus was on eLearning design and development, but it also covered some project management and other related skills that have come in very useful in my one-person shop.  The instructors were excellent and the course, though entirely online, was remarkably collaborative - lots of well-designed small group work.  The program has likely changed in the last six years, but may be even better now!

Annie Warmbrodt

I graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia Educational Technology program with an emphasis in Learning Systems Design and Development. Personally, I feel this program is a perfect blend of pedagogy and application courses. I was a humanities major as an undergraduate and I lacked technical skills when I entered this program. I learned not only about adult learner methodolgies, but also how to use popular programs including Photoshop, how to write basic code including CSS and HTML, and how to teach and design online courses. The beauty of this program is the tuition is the same for in-state and out-of-state students as the courses are 100% online. I met students from around the country which provided me unique opportunities to learn what other regions are currently doing with eLearning.

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