2022 Best Online Learning Design and Technology Masters Programs

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A learning design and technology masters program can help you advance your professional development in this growing field.

Best Online Learning Design and Technology Masters Programs

The growth of online learning has prompted a high demand for instructional designers to enhance performance outcomes for distance learners. Instructional design professionals can also impact learning environments and educational materials for traditional classrooms, school systems, and companies of various industries.

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Let’s take a look at the potential coursework and career outcomes associated with a Master of Education in Learning Design and Technology online degree.

Online Masters in Learning Design and Technology Programs

Designer getting Masters in Learning Design and Technology online

Much like an on-campus or online masters in curriculum and instruction, a masters in learning design and technology aims to equip educational professionals with the skills and knowledge to create, develop, implement, and evaluate learning programs and environments.

With a growing number of corporations and businesses across different sectors shifting to remote and online learning environments, there’s an increase in demand for instructional designers. These professionals typically evaluate learning needs and create training materials to provide optimal, experience-based learning.

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Some instructional designers specialize in implementing technological advancements into in-person and online education environments. Common careers in instructional design include:

  • Instructional coordinator
  • Training and development manager
  • Curriculum developer
  • Educational technologist
  • E-learning developer

When pursuing a master’s in learning design and technology degree online, you can develop a strong foundation in various knowledge areas related to designing and operating learning platforms, such as:

  • Learning theory
  • Analytics
  • Instructional design
  • Innovative educational practices with technology

With this online degree in education, these knowledge areas can enable you to create digital media and online interactive resources and to integrate them into educational programs. Overall, you can learn how to develop, implement, and review educational structures to enhance effectiveness and student outcomes.

Schools tend to offer this degree either as a Master of Education (MEd) or as a Master of Science (MS), though some schools do offer a Master of Arts in Technology and Learning Design. In general, learning design and technology graduate programs aim to teach you how to:

  • Implement technology in developing learning environments and material
  • Lead digital learning programs
  • Identify and apply learning analytics, theory, and current research
  • Design and implement personalized courses based on specific industries
  • Create assessment strategies and analyze learning data
  • Cultivate relationships and lead collaboration among education stakeholders

The skills learned in these programs can be applied in traditional classroom settings as well as corporate training departments, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations, among others.

Learning Design & Technology Careers & Salaries

Learning Design & Technology Careers & Salaries

A masters in learning design and tech can help develop educators, trainers, and instructional designers with the skills to research, design, and implement both in-person and online training strategies.

Many graduates go on to become instructional designers and developers for both government and private industry. Those who work for school systems are often known as instructional coordinators or curriculum developers. Those in the business world often work as training and development specialists or managers.

Many graduates also pursue work as classroom teachers, e-learning developers, and educational technology specialists. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here’s a list of some of the possible career options in and related to the field of learning design and technology.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Training and Development Managers $120,130
Web and Digital Interface Designers $79,890
Web Developers $77,030
Instructional Coordinators $63,740
High School Teachers $61,820
Special Education Teachers $61,820
Training and Development Specialists $61,570
Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers $61,350
Middle School Teachers $61,320
Preschool and Childcare Center Directors $47,310

The salaries of instructional designers and related careers vary greatly based on a professional’s level of experience, the type of organization they work at, and the position they hold. Those in the field of learning design and technology can work in a wide range of industries.

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Common work sectors include K-12 schools, colleges, universities, nonprofit organizations, the military, corporate learning environments, and telecommunication companies, among others.

Learning Design and Technology Master’s Curriculum & Courses

Professor and student of Learning Design and Technology Master's Degree

A learning design and technology masters program will typically explore various learning strategies as well as the different technologies used in instructional design to enhance learning outcomes.

Here are some of the courses you may come across when pursuing a master’s in learning design and technology degree online:

  • Introduction to Instructional and Learning Designs: In this course, you’ll learn the history and basics of instructional and learning design.
  • Program Design, Assessment, and Evaluation: You’ll learn about the different theories and techniques used in evaluating training and educational programs.
  • Introduction to Learning Technologies: You’ll be introduced to research-based principles of effective multimedia design and to educational materials that conform to the set standards.
  • Advanced Learning Theory and Design: You’ll learn about the advanced concepts in instructional design, including learner characteristics, instructional challenges, and needs assessment.
  • Leadership in Virtual Learning: This course gives you a strong foundation in virtual learning leadership by developing your communication skills and knowledge of data analysis, regulatory bodies, project plans, and more.
  • Emerging Technologies and Design Approaches: You’ll learn to evaluate, apply, and integrate emerging media technologies in learning programs.
  • Assets and Artifacts: This course looks at the different laws applicable to education and training with a specific focus on digital assets and artifact curation.
  • Educational Research Methods: In this course, you’ll learn how to use data to inform learning programs and instructional design decisions.
  • Educational Psychology: You’ll learn different concepts on how individuals learn and retain knowledge so that you can design and implement effective learning programs.
  • Integrating Technology in Learning Environments: You’ll learn about the different technologies that can be integrated into learning environments to enhance learning experiences.

Depending on the institution, the curriculum may integrate practical sessions where students can apply theoretical concepts in real-world situations.

Admissions Requirements

Woman preparing requirements for Learning Design and Technology Masters

The admission requirements for a master’s degree in learning design & technology can differ based on the school, but here are some common admission requirements for masters programs:

  • Official bachelor’s transcripts
  • Personal statement
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Resume or CV
  • GRE or GMAT scores (only some schools require this)

A growing number of schools no longer require GRE or GMAT scores for graduate admissions. Some schools put more emphasis on your professional history.

Accreditation

University offering Learning Design and Technology Masters Programs

When exploring learning design and technology masters programs, it’s essential to verify the accreditation status of prospective schools.

Regional accreditation is a mark of credibility for schools. A college or university with regional accreditation has been evaluated by an outside accrediting agency and has been found to meet predetermined standards of educational excellence.

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Credits that are earned from an accredited school have a higher chance of transferring to another program or institution. In addition, a masters degree from an accredited school is a common prerequisite for doctoral programs, and employers also tend to prefer or require applicants to have an accredited education.

You can visit the website of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) to verify the accreditation status of your prospective schools.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Learning Design and Technology Masters Programs Financial Aid

There are different financial aid opportunities available to graduate students who qualify. Most students qualify for federal student loans, which tend to have lower interest rates than private loans. You might also explore work-study programs as well as see what aid your state offers.

You can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see whether you’re eligible for government aid programs. You could also consider applying for scholarship opportunities. You can apply for scholarships from schools, local charities, or professional organizations. Some employers also offer tuition benefits to workers who are continuing their education.

What Is a Masters in Learning Design and Technology Program?

A masters in learning design and technology program is a graduate degree that prepares students for careers in instructional design, educational technology, and related fields.

You can learn about how to use technology to create engaging and effective learning experiences. You’ll also study how to assess the needs of learners and design instructional materials that meet those needs. In addition, students in these programs often have the opportunity to work with cutting-edge technology and software. You could develop advanced skill sets that help you stay up-to-date in this rapidly changing field.

What Can You Do with an MS in Learning Design and Technology?

Two Digital Interface Designers working together

An MS in Learning Design and Technology can lead to job applications in a wide range of industries. Graduates often find careers in education or corporate training.

Instructional designers who work in schools or school districts are often referred to as instructional coordinators. Those in the business world tend to work as training and development managers. Some graduates work as educational technologists or e-learning developers, focused on improving learning outcomes through the use of technology. Others work as school teachers or educational consultants.

Instructional design professionals can have various roles and responsibilities. They can develop instructional materials or design and implement training programs. They might also conduct research on educational technologies or evaluate the effectiveness of educational programs.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Learning Design and Technology Masters Online?

How long it takes to complete a master’s in learning design and technology degree online varies based on the institution, but many full-time students can complete a masters in 1 to 2 years.

Some online learning design and technology masters programs integrate practicum sessions or capstone courses and internship requirements, which could lengthen the time required for completion. A thesis component could lengthen your program as well.

Some students opt for an accelerated track, earning their degree more quickly by enrolling full-time and year-round, including during summer terms. Others opt for an online graduate certificate in instructional design, which may provide needed credentials but without earning a degree.

Is a Masters Degree in Learning Design and Technology Worth It?

Manager guiding the new instructional designer

Yes, a masters degree in learning design and technology is worth it for many students. The field of learning design and technology is growing faster than average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 10% job growth for instructional coordinators and 11% job growth for training and development managers over the next ten years.

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This growth may be partly driven by increasing demand for distance learning as well as educational software. Professionals with an advanced degree in this field often work in instructional design, educational media, and educational technology. Traditional classroom teachers can also benefit from graduate studies in learning design and technology.

Universities Offering Online Masters in Learning Design and Technology Degree Program

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University campus

Arizona State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

George Mason University

George Mason University

George Mason University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Georgetown University

Georgetown University campus

Georgetown University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Pennsylvania State University

Pennsylvania State University campus

The Pennsylvania State University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Purdue University

Purdue University campus

Purdue University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota

Saint Mary's University of Minnesota campus

The Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Texas A&M University

Texas A & M University - Commerce campus

Texas A&M University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

University of Maryland Global Campus

University of Maryland Global campus

The University of Maryland Global Campus is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

University of San Diego

University of San Diego campus

The University of San Diego is accredited by the Western Association and Schools and Colleges.

University of Southern California

University of Southern California campus

The University of Southern California is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the Senior College and University Commission.

Getting Your Master’s in Learning Design and Technology Online

Man getting Online Learning Design and Technology Masters degree

A masters degree in learning design and technology can teach you more about designing, developing, and delivering educational experiences to a range of audiences. You’ll also explore how technology can be better implemented in learning settings.

A graduate-level education can often help you qualify for senior or leadership roles. A masters is also an educational requirement for some positions in the instructional design sector. Many accredited universities offer programs entirely online so that you can complete your degree at a pace that works for you. Earning your master’s in learning design and technology online also allows you to experience distance learning firsthand.

If you’re ready to take the next step in your educational journey, why not start exploring accredited universities today?

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Ben Flynn
WRITTEN BY
Ben Flynn
Ben has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Northwestern University and is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Project Management from New York University. Ben's work focuses on the intersections of education, leadership, community college reform, and workplace training and development.