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Best Online Master’s Degrees in: Instructional Design

Editor’s Picks: Online Schools for Instructional Design

Value
California State Fullerton wins best online master’s degree program in instructional design for value. PayScale.com reports that California State University — Fullerton provides a 7l7% return on investment without financial aid and a 9.4% return on investment with financial aid. Students may find financial aid information and financial service information for California State Fullerton’s online master’s degree in instructional design on Fullerton’s financial services website.

Flexibility
Capella University wins best online master’s degree program in instructional design for flexibility. Capella University’s courses are asynchronous and usually require 13 hours of work per week per course, according to Capella’s website. Capella University course materials may be accessed from tablet computers and through a mobile application compatible with iPhone and Android phones. Courses are usually 10 weeks long with 2- to 3-week breaks between quarters, and they typically start at the beginning of every month.

Career Support
Online students at Saint Leo University have 24/7 access to career assessment tools, internship opportunity resources, and resume builder software starting from the first day of enrollment. Students may also benefit from tutorials on job search, interviewing, networking, and resume writing skills. Saint Leo University graduates have access to job tutorials and career service resources after graduation as well.

Financial Support
Walden University wins best online master’s degree program in instructional design for financial support. The Online Education Database reports that 84% of Walden University’s students receive financial aid. Walden University provides scholarships and other funding options in addition to federal financial aid. Prospective students may visit Walden University’s financial aid website to access a net price calculator and view tuition and fees by college and school.

Technology Support
California State Fullerton wins best online master’s degree program for technology support. California State University — Fullerton provides course compatibility for Apple, PC, Unix, and Linux computers. Courses are delivered in live and recorded video formats, and are accessible on tablet computers and smart phones. Cal State Fullerton also provides online bulletin boards, simulations, live tutoring, and technical support.

Disability Support
Capella University wins best online master’s degree program in instructional design for disability support. Capella provides academic accommodations for students with disabilities, determined by access to the course and services or whether or not the course is compromised by accommodations. Accommodations include technological or program, course, or service modification to enable students with disabilities to have equal opportunities to benefit from the provided education. More information about Capella University’s learns with disabilities accommodations may be found on Capella’s website.

Library Support
California State Fullerton wins best online master’s degree program in instructional design for library support. The Pollack Library at Cal State Fullerton provides research opportunities for online students, including books, articles, databases, and journals. Online students also have access to research guides, as well as library research FAQs and online research assistance.

Learning Support
California State Fullerton wins best online instructional design master’s degree program for learning support. California State University — Fullerton provides mentoring, live tutoring, and writing workshops for its online students. Online students also have access to academic advising, online chat with a live librarian for research, and online bulletin boards and simulations.

Faculty Credentials
Walden University wins best online master’s degree program in instructional design for faculty credentials. Walden University’s online courses are designed in-house by certified instruction designers. Instructors at Walden University have an average of two years’ experience teach online courses, and instructors are required to take online instructional training, which Walden University finances.

Faculty Accessibility and Involvement
Capella University wins best online instructional design master’s degree program for faculty accessibility and involvement. Online students may expect e-mail response from their instructors within 48 hours of inquiry, and may access an academic advisor by e-mail or phone through the Capella University instructional design program.

Alumni Engagement
California State Fullerton wins best online master’s degree program in instructional design for alumni engagement. California State University — Fullerton alumni have access to alumni events and chapters. Alumni may also access career services to view online job postings, utilize the career resource library, and gain resume, interview, and career guidance information.

Prior Learning Options
Walden University provides credit for professional experience, some transfer credit, and military credit. Walden University may also provide credit for professional certification and prior learning assessment. Walden University wins best online master’s degree program in instructional design for prior learning options.

New Student Orientation
Capella University wins best online master’s degree program in new student orientation. Capella University provides a free mini-course overview of online learning at Capella University. The online orientation course provides information about Capella’s programs, support services, the application process and financial advising and aid.

Explore a Master’s Degree in Instructional Design

Instructional design is a field of study focused on making educational and training experiences more effective, efficient, and enjoyable. This includes the analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation of curriculums. Online master’s degree programs in instructional design seek to help students develop strong analytical skills, as well as a deeper understanding of concepts in education administration and learning psychology. With the growing prevalence of online colleges, workplace training, and continuing education programs, there is a growing demand for instructional designers in a variety of industries. Employment opportunities as instructional coordinators or training and development managers are often found at schools, private corporations, or even government agencies.

Online students may opt to enroll either full or part time while still maintaining their current work schedule. Since the number of courses a student elects to take each term can vary, the estimated time to completion for a master’s degree program in instructional design is one to two years. Please note, other factors such as applicable credits a student is able to transfer and whether or not they remain continuously enrolled in the program can also impact time to completion.

Class Curriculum

Students enrolled in an online master’s degree program in instructional design can expect a mixture of survey and research courses. Core classes will focus on fundamentals in learning psychology, education, communication, and media technology. Some specific course examples students may be required to complete include:

  • Learning Theories and Instruction. This type of course will introduce students to the learning process, including behaviorist, cognitive, constructivist, and social learning theories. Students will then examine the practical applications of these concepts as they pertain to curriculum design.
  • Multimedia Design and Development. Courses like this will combine concepts in instructional strategy with principles of Web design, visual literacy, and multimedia design. Students can expect to create and manage interactive learning systems as part of their course work.
  • Foundations of Research. Students will learn about the principles of the research process, including research methodologies, statistical analysis, literature reviews, research problems and questions, and research critiques and evaluation. This is designed to prepare students for the advanced research projects they will be expected to complete as graduate students.

Typical course work may include reading assignments, written papers and reports, individual and group projects, and presentations. At the master’s degree level, students should also be prepared to both analyze and conduct their own research projects. In fact, many programs include a capstone project, based on original field research, as a requirement for graduation.

Building a Career

Graduates with a master’s degree in instructional design possess the knowledge and skills necessary to construct and evaluate school curriculums, continuing education, and workplace training programs. Their understanding of learning psychology, education administration, and multimedia platforms make them ideal candidates for positions as instructional coordinators, training and development managers, and human resources specialists, to name a few options. Despite the economic downturn, opportunities are favorable for instructional design graduates.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for instructional coordinators is expected to increase by 20% from 2010 to 2020. This is faster than the average of 14% growth expected for jobs overall. Job opportunities for training and development managers are expected to increase by 15% over the same time period. In 2010, the median annual salary for instructional coordinators was $58,830. Those who worked for elementary and secondary schools earned the highest salaries at a median of $63,210. The median wage for training and development mangers was $89,170 that same year, with the majority of openings at private companies and enterprises. Please note, however, actual starting salaries and job opportunities can vary based on level of experience, education, location, the industry and type of employer, and the general economic climate.

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