How To Choose The Right Online Instructional Design Certificate Program

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Summary: 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. 

Without a doubt, the eLearning industry is showing no signs of slowing in terms of overall growth (Top 10 eLearning Stats for 2014). More and more organizations are utilizing eLearning Software to deliver employee training, while individual learners are turning to eLearning courses to build upon and acquire new skills. As a result, Instructional Designers are increasingly in demand, in both professional and educational environments.

What's Involved In An Instructional Design Certification Program?

A variety of schools now offer online instructional design certificate programs that typically include 15 credit hours (but this may vary from school to school). Given that many of these online Instructional Design Certification programs allow you to go at your own pace, you can usually complete the courses at your own discretion and the time it takes you to obtain the certification greatly depends upon your own availability (and commitment to learning the concepts, of course). The information offered in each Online Instructional Design Certification program typically varies, but there are a number of concepts and ideas that are usually covered. For example, many online instructional design certificate programs offer information on how to effectively develop eLearning courses, how to use instructional technology to develop a curriculum that motivates and engages the learner, as well as how to apply instructional design theories or models.

7 Tips For Choosing The Right Instructional Design Certificate Program. 

When searching for the ID certification program that's a good fit for you, it may be helpful to keep the following tips in mind:

1. Research the topics that are going to be covered and how the information will be delivered.

Read the syllabus carefully and research the school's offerings via their site. Do they offer the tools and information you're looking for? Will they provide you with the resources you're going to need? How do they provide coursework and lessons? Is it through online modules, software, live chats?

2. Look for a program that offers exactly what you need and helps you to achieve your ultimate goal.

Take the time to go over your personal and professional objectives in order to determine if the school's a good match. To do this, you must first ask yourself what you really want to do once you receive your certificate. Do you want to teach, design courses, or carry out educational research? You may want to read the Top 10 Instructional Designer Skills and/or What An Instructional Designer Does?

3. Consider which type of design theory the school utilizes.

Different programs focus on different design theories. For example, while one school may take a behaviorist approach, another may rely upon the cognitive theory. Knowing this will allow you to select a program that enables you to design and instruct more effectively. In essence, it provides you with the opportunity to learn about instructional design theories that you are actually going to use in the real world to create meaningful and high-quality educational experiences for learners. I highly encourage you to check the Instructional Design Models and Theories.

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4. Make sure the school offers real-world experience.

A vast majority of the time, employers won't necessarily be focusing on a certificate or degree, but what you actually learned. They'll want to know if you know how to apply your instructional design knowledge in the real world. So, be sure to ask whether the school offers real-life scenarios or course work that will enable you to gather experience that you will put to good use when designing courses or teaching. You may want to read How To Get A Job As An Instructional Designer.

5. Research the faculty and/or staff.

When trying to find instructional design programs that may be right for you, you'll also want to look at who will be teaching you or designing the courses you will be using. See if the school's staff has written any articles or books or look online to get an idea of their qualifications. In many cases, it's their experience you'll be benefiting from, so you'll want to find a program that offers the most experience for your money.

6. Cost of courses and learning materials.

Though cost shouldn't be the most important factor, it is definitely something that impacts your decision. As such, you should ask about any fees that are associated with the program and what those fees cover. Will there be any books that you need to purchase? Are there add-on modules that you can buy in order to get more out of your educational experience?

7. Look at reviews for the school's ID program.

There are so many instructional design certification programs online today that it may be a bit overwhelming to choose the school that's a good fit for you. However, one of the best ways to determine if a school is on the “up-and-up” or if it is worth the investment is to look for online reviews or to check its status. Do they have a good reputation? Have past students been pleased with the education they received?

18 Online Instructional Design Certificate Programs to Consider

There are a number of instructional design certificate programs online today. Here are just a few that you may want to add to your list of schools to consider:

  1. Boise State University - Workplace eLearning and Performance Support
  2. Boise State University - Workplace Instructional Design
  3. Colorado State University - Global Campus - Organizational Training and Instructional Design Graduate Certificate of Completion
  4. Florida State University - Certificate in Online Instructional Development
  5. George Mason University - E-Learning Graduate Certificate
  6. George Washington University - E-Learning Graduate Certificate
  7. George Washington University - Instructional Design Graduate Certificate
  8. George Washington University - Training and Educational Technology Graduate Certificate
  9. Indiana University - Instructional Systems Technology Certificate
  10. Jones International University - e-Learning Technology and Design: Instructional Design ibstpi®
  11. Kaplan University - Graduate Certificate in Instructional Design for Organizations
  12. La Salle University - Instructional Technology Management Certificate
  13. North Carolina State University - Graduate Certificate in E-Learning
  14. Rio Salado College - eLearning Design Specialist Certificate
  15. The University of Arizona South - Graduate Certificate in Instructional Design and Technology
  16. University of California, Irvine - eLearning Instructional Design Certificate
  17. University of Wisconsin Stout - Online Instructional Design Certificate
  18. Walden University - Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Instructional Design and Technology

Instructional Design Bachelor Degree Programs To Consider

There is a variety of Instructional Design Bachelor Degree programs available today, so you definitely need to make your own research. Here are just a few that you may want to consider during your search:

  1. Ashford University - Bachelor of Arts in Instructional Design
    This program covers eLearning design principles and how they apply to educational instruction, eLearning technologies and tool applications, educational trend and research analysis, and course development for varied learners.
  2. California State University, Chico - Bachelor of Science in Instructional Design and Technology
    Required courses for this program include design and development of instructional programs and products, writing for online (electronic) media, digital imaging, digital audio media, video editing (and/or production), learning and media, eLearning performance analysis, and Instructional Technology theory and practical application.
  3. Post University - Bachelor of Science in Instructional Design and Technology
    Students enrolled in this program will receive instruction on how to develop training modules and eLearning courses for both the private and corporate sectors. The core curriculum includes writing, communications, computing, instructional design ethics, eLearning processes, instructional delivery methods, application design, computer graphics, and visual literacy.
  4. Texas A&M University-Commerce - Bachelor of Science Degree in Instructional Training and Design
    Ideally suited for instructional content developers, teachers, and facilitators in both the private and corporate sectors. Courses include HR for educators, instructional techniques, managing instructional settings, leadership, technical education history and principles, and evaluation of curriculum. Students will learn how to deliver, effectively design, and implement training courses and eLearning modules during the 122-hour semester program. Classes may be completed either full or part-time, and evening classes are also available.
  5. The University of Arizona South - Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Educational Technology
    This ID Bachelor's degree program offers both practical and hands-on training in Instructional Design. Required courses include web design, integrative technologies, principles of distance education, statistics, application of technology in the educational sector, game design, and human-computer interaction principles. There is also an internship and independent study requirement for the Instructional Design program.
  6. The University of Southern Mississippi - Bachelor of Science in Instructional Technology and Design
    The program offers courses centered around technology systems, digital multimedia, online course creation, and electronic communications. The primary goal of the program is to equip learners with the skill sets and knowledge that they will need to apply in private education or corporate training environments.
  7. Walden University - Bachelor of Science in Instructional Design and Technology
    This instructional design undergrad program will equip students with knowledge on how to identify the educational or training needs of organizations, how to effectively utilize technology and theory to design courses, and how to utilize practical experience to create skill sets and knowledge development programs.
  8. Western Illinois University - Bachelor of Science in Instructional Design and Technology
    The curriculum is focused on web design, course creation, instructional multimedia tools, and interactive multimedia development. It also covers technological applications, virtual reality and game applications in the educational sector, instructional design theories and strategies, and instructional material development.

In Conclusion

Wrapping up, I strongly suggest you take a look at our Instructional Design Career Resources as well as the following articles:

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 master's 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 Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. program for you.

7 Steps To Become An Instructional Designer

In this article, you will find an analysis of the steps you should follow to become an Instructional Designer, regardless of whether you are entering into the private education or corporate training sector.