Finding The Best Instructional Design Master’s Degree: 6 Selection Criteria

6 Selection Criteria To Consider When Searching For The Best Instructional Design Master’s Degree

Earning an Instructional Design Master’s degree gives you the opportunity to delve into the fields of educational psychology, eLearning technologies and instructional design theories and models that can help you create for your learners more immersive and effective online courses. It also opens up an entirely new realm of career prospects. In this article, I’ll share a number of tips that can help you find the ideal for you Instructional Design Master’s program.

  1. Ask about the orientation process.
    The most beneficial eLearning experiences are those that start off on the right foot. As such, when choosing the best Instructional Design Master’s program for you, ask about the new attendee orientation process. Even though you may be familiar with the overall process, thanks to the fact that you’ve already earned other Instructional Design degrees, orientation can give you the opportunity to ask any questions up front, learn more about the course structure and to acclimate yourself to the faculty, curriculum and layout. Ask your admissions coordinator about the orientation process and what, exactly, is involved. For example, will there be a new participant meet-up where you can all introduce yourself and meet your instructors? Does the program offer an overview of each class and what coursework is involved?
  2. Verify that the program’s focus is in-line with your goals.
    Given that you are already at the Master’s degree stage in your education, you probably already have an idea of what goals you hope to achieve by participating in the program. This applies to both career goals and learning goals. Therefore, you should ensure that the program you have in mind is going to focus on the key skills and information you need to succeed. While one Instructional Design program might concentrate on instructional tools and technologies for corporate training, another will center on K-12 curriculum design. By finding a program that is in-line with your objectives and goals, you have the opportunity to get the most out of the eLearning experience and earn a degree that allows you to pursue your desired instructional design career path.
  3. Analyze rankings and reviews.
    Researching the rankings and reviews of prospective universities not only enables you to find out if they offer the right program for your needs, but also whether future employers are going to place a high value on your degree. For example, if you attend an Instructional Design Master that is accredited and has a prestigious academic reputation, this lets employers know that the degree you earned is backed by a solid education and experience. You can learn a lot about academic institutions by looking for online reviews left by current program participants and those who have already earned their degrees. If a vast majority of the attendees state that they had a positive experience, then you may want to add the particular Instructional Design Master's program to your short list of candidates.
  4. Compare tuition costs and determine what is covered.
    Another important factor to consider has to do with tuition fees. Keep in mind that it’s also essential to determine what other expenses are involved. Support services and textbooks, for example, may or may not be included in the tuition fees, treated as supplemental expenses that you will have to cover separately. Ask the admissions coordinator about any additional fees that you are expected to pay and when you must pay them, as some academic institutions have specific deadlines for such additional fees. Also, consider comparing tuition costs for your top schools to determine which offers you the best value for your money. For example, if one may cost a bit more but is more in-line with your career goals, then you may want to move it up to the top of your list.
  5. Take online learning community and faculty into consideration.
    Both the faculty and the learning community, as a whole, have a direct impact upon your learning experience for the duration of the program. Do they have a strong sense of community? Do they place a strong emphasis upon eLearning technologies and tools to enrich the Instructional Design Master's program? You should also do some research on the faculty members to find out more about their background and experience level. Verify how long they have been teaching and search for student reviews to see whether they have offered the support and expertise you are looking for.
  6. Find out about support services.
    Student support services is a broad term that covers a great deal of things, from online libraries where you can supplement your online training to career counseling that can help you land a job that is ideally suited to your talents. Some Instructional Design Master’s degree programs include support services in their tuition costs, while others may charge an additional fee, so it may always be a good idea to check with the admissions coordinator in advance. Also, ask them about which particular services they offer and how you can access their help resources. Will you be able to email your tutors directly if there is a problem, or do they give you the opportunity to chat with them online if you need additional assistance? If there are tutoring services available, are they peer or instructor-based?

Keep these tips on hand when searching for the ideal Instructional Design Master’s degree program, so that you can find the university that offers you the best value for your money and lives up to your expectations.

If you’d like to learn more about how to choose the right Instructional Design Master’s program for your specific needs, read the article How To Choose The Right Instructional Design Master’s Program, which also highlights a number of universities that offer Instructional Design Master’s degrees.

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