How To Choose The Right Instructional Design Master’s Program

Instructional Design Masters Program
Summary: In this article I'll share some top tips that can help you to select the ideal instructional design masters program. Additionally, I will highlight a number of universities that offer Instructional Design master's degrees.

Obtaining a master's degree in Instructional Design offers you a variety of benefits. Though it may come with a higher price tag than Instructional Design Certificates or Instructional Design bachelor degree programs, it will make your resume more attractive to potential employers. Not to mention that Master's degrees allow you to gain a more in depth understanding of ID concepts, principles, and design theories. Given that there are so many ID master’s programs available today, choosing just the right one for you seems a quite daunting task.

4 Key Factors to Consider Prior Selecting your Instructional Design Masters Program

Here are a few things that you'll want to keep in mind when searching for the ideal instructional design masters program:

  1. Curriculum
    What curriculum is being offered and how are the courses structured? Does the school offer online education, or will you be required to attend in-person classes? How many credits are required for the degree itself? How long does it take to complete the program?
  2. Faculty
    Is the faculty experienced? Is the faculty active and supportive? Will you be able to get in touch with your instructors should the need arise? What methods of student-instructor communication are offered (i.e. email, live chat)?
  3. Costs
    What are the costs involved? Are learning materials covered with the cost of tuition, or will you have to pay for those separately? What is the cost of each credit? What are the financing options involved (i.e. grants, scholarships)?
  4. Career goals
    Will the program enable you to achieve your career goals? Are the subjects being taught going to provide you with the practical and theoretical knowledge you're looking for?

Instructional Design Masters Degree Programs To Consider

There are a myriad of instructional design masters programs offered today. Here are a few that you may want to consider and review prior your final selection:

  1. Boise State University - Online Master of Science Degree in Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning
    Boise State University’s Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning Department (formerly Instructional & Performance Technology) offers master’s degrees and certificates through an entirely online program. Students gain from communicating and collaborating with fellow professionals from around the globe, and from participating as members of virtual teams to work on actual instructional design, needs assessment, evaluation and research projects for real clients. Learning to effectively and respectively collaborate with others from around the globe helps to build the skills necessary to improve workplace performance in ways that organizations value. Online delivery is not new to Boise State University. They have offered online courses since 1989!​
  2. California State University, Fullerton - Master of Science in Instructional Design and Technology
    This program focuses on both private and corporate sector instructional design. It is designed for those who wish to learn about emerging technologies, course creation, and the technological applications for curriculum development.
  3. Capella University - Master's in Instructional Design for Online Learning Specialization (Online)
    This program equips students with the knowledge to utilize instructional design models, resources, and strategies to create training and eLearning courses for diverse student groups. Courses include: principles of instructional design, instructional media design, ID assessment and evaluation, and distance education delivery.
  4. Franklin University - Master of Science in Instructional Design and Performance Technology (Online)
    This ID master's degree program allows students to gain an in depth understanding of educational technology, eLearning development, and performance improvement. Principles of learning theory, performance analysis, improving eLearning through technology, and Principles of human performance are just some of the classes included in the list of course requirements.
  5. Harrisburg University - Master of Science in Learning Technologies
    This program focuses on learner engagement, collaborative applications, media design, and content creation. You can also choose from a range of ID specialties, including: Instructional Technology Specialist, Instructional Development, and Games & Simulations.
  6. James Madison University - Master of Education degree with a concentration in Educational Technology (Online)
    This program offers students the opportunity to learn about emerging technologies within the eLearning industry, and how to apply those technologies in both private and corporate educational settings. Courses include: learning theory, principles of ID, developing visual literacy, and curriculum theory.
  7. Purdue University - Master of Science in Education in Learning Design and Technology (Online)
    This program is ideal for professionals who want to develop meaningful and effective corporate training experiences, as well as those who wish to pursue a career in technology-based school instruction design. Courses include: learning theories, foundations of learning design, learning systems’ design, and instructional development practicum.
  8. University of Arkansas - Master of Education in Educational Technology (Online)
    This non-thesis ID Master's degree program consists of 8 core curriculum classes and four electives. Foundations of educational technology, educational media, ID theories and models, and web design, are just a few of the courses that are offered through the online program.
  9. University of Massachusetts -Master of Education in Instructional Design (Online)
    Program focuses on the educational design process, primarily in regards to adult education. Emphasis is placed upon communication, technology, media, and learning theories. There are 12 required courses, 10 of which are being offered online.
  10. University of North Dakota - Master's Degree in Instructional Design & Technology (Online)
    This degree takes roughly 2 years to complete and is offered online. Courses include: Survey of Instructional Design, Instructional systems analysis, psychological foundations of education, and education research. The program also features an ID internship which offers practical experience for its students.
  11. Virginia Tech - Master of Arts in Instructional Design and Technology (Online)
    This online degree program offers a wide range of specialized courses, including: Educational applications of microcomputers, audio and visual uses in instructional technology, instructional technology policy issues, and ID tools and methods. An internship course is also part of the required curriculum.
  12. Walden University - M.S. in Instructional Design and Technology (Online)
    This online degree program can be completed in about 24 months. Learning theories and instruction, multimedia design, foundations of research, distance learning, and program evaluation are just some of the required courses.
  13. Western Governors University - M.Ed. in Instructional Design (Online)
    This regionally accredited online program is ideal for licensed teachers, educational content developers, corporate training facilitators, and education specialists. It can be completed in 2 to 2 1/2 years, with each term lasting 6 months. The course is based upon "competency units", rather than credits, and a degree can be earned upon completion of 30 units.
  14. Western Oregon University - Master of Science in Education: Information Technology (Online)
    This program can be completed online and offline, and can be completed in five terms. Courses include: theories of learning and teaching, instructional design, communication theory, and research and writing. There are also a variety of electives to choose from, such as: designing and teaching online courses, web 2.0 tools for teaching, writing grants for technology, creating an internet website, and mobile technologies in education.
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Instructional Design Career Resources

  • How to Choose the Right Online Instructional Design Certificate Program
    If you have been considering an online instructional design certificate program, then you've come to the right place. In this post, I will go over the basics of Instructional Design certificate programs; share 7 tips for choosing the right Instructional Design program, and even highlight 18 Online Instructional Design Certificate Programs that you may want to consider.
  • How to Choose the Right Instructional Design Bachelor Program
    In this article, I'll delve into the significant factors you need to consider prior selecting the right Instructional Design bachelor degree program. At the same time, I will highlight some of the Top Instructional Design Bachelor degree schools that you may want to think carefully about during your search.
  • How to Choose the Right Instructional Design Master’s Program
    In this article I'll share some top tips that can help you to select the ideal instructional design masters program. Additionally, I will highlight a number of universities that offer Instructional Design master's degrees.
  • How to Choose the Right Instructional Design PhD Program
    If you're interested in Instructional Design at the University level, or if you want to expand your instructional design knowledge base even further, then you may want to consider an instructional design PhD program. These programs are ideally suited for those who have prior experience in the educational sector and want to gain a more comprehensive understanding of Instructional Design technologies, theories, and models. In this guide I'll highlight some Universities that you may want to consider, but first I'll share some tips that will help you choose the right instructional design PhD program for you.