Instructional systems design (ISD) is an term used interchangeably with the term instructional design. This graduate program may be a good option for those who enjoy working with learners in a technology-based environment whether face-to-face or virtually. It is the “process of designing and developing instructional courses or materials that bring greater efficiency and effectiveness to acquiring knowledge or skills for learners.” While graduate certificate programs at also available by college, undergraduate degree programs are less common.
ISD Training and Education
It is important to get your degree from an accredited program because it enhances your career mobility and provides greater flexibility in the types of jobs that you can apply for. Many employers require a degree from an accredited university.
It is important to enroll in an accredited program for the purposes of transferring credits or joining another degree, for example a Ph.D. Again, most schools will not accept credits from an unaccredited institution and you will have wasted your money and time. Some colleges and universities offer Masters in Instructional Design while others offer a PhD in Instructional Design and other related degrees.
Prospective students in masters in instructional design and technology degree programs should consider several factors when choosing between different instructional design degree programs. For example, future career plans, interest and expertise in various specializations, geographic mobility, distance learning opportunities, and financial resources. These guidelines suggest some information gathering techniques to assist prospective students in choosing a program. Different schools use different names for their programs, for example:
- Computer Education and Technology
- Educational Technology
- Educational Multimedia
- Educational Technology
- Instructional Design and Development
- Instructional Technology
- Instructional Systems
- Instructional Systems Technology
- Instructional Design, Development and Evaluation
- Instructional Design and Technology
- Instructional and Performance Technology
- Learning Technologies
Related to degrees in instructional design are Adult Education and Training and Performance Improvement degrees and concentrations, as well as instructional design certification programs. Below is a summary that is intended to help you figure out the options that best suite your needs. Contact individual universities you may be interested for in-depth information regarding their programs, course offerings, distance education programs, admissions, financial aid, and degrees.
If possible, visiting the schools that offer the instructional design degree program, and/or talking to faculty members can help you select the program that best meets your goals. Also take time to examine facilities such as computer and library resources, affordability, housing, and extra-curricular activities, possibilities of employments and internships are some issues that you should examine.
Generally, instructional design masters degree programs require a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (often higher) on a 4.0 scale (or equivalent, e.g., B average). Many programs in the United States require the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)Test scores. Some accept the Miller Analogies Test (MAT). Some instructional design programs have no entry test requirements.
Students from outside the United States may be required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Most programs request that students provide letters of recommendation and a statement of educational and professional objectives. Some programs, especially Ph.D. programs may also require a personal interview. In some programs, new students may be required to demonstrate computer skills early in the program.
Instructional Systems Masters Programs
Given the areas of emphasis listed above, there may be considerable variations in the curricula offered by the programs, such as the number and types of required courses. The number of academic credit hours required for a master’s degree averages about 36 semester hours or 72 quarter hours. Some programs offer full-time programs, while others may have more students attending on a part time basis. For this reason, many instructional design degree programs that have on-campus courses offer evening classes. Depending on the school you may work toward a Master of Science (M. Sc.), Master of Arts (M.A.), or Master of Education (M.Ed).
Examples of Instructional Design Courses
While these may vary from program to program common I.D. courses include: Educational psychlogy, instructional design foundations, learner analysis, adult learning theory, Analysis of Performance Systems, Project Management, and Evaluation of Instructional Systems. Of course the names of the courses will vary by school but in essence, the goal is to cover various aspects of ADDIE (Analysis Design Develop Implement, Evaluate).
Difference Between Instructional Design PhD and Ed.D Degrees
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and Doctor of Education (Ed .D) degrees both take longer to complete. Although these also vary from program to program, the main difference between major Ph.D. and Ed .D degrees is the design and intent of the programs.
An EdD instructional design degree program generally prepares practitioners. A program would include coursework, internships, and independent work in learning and direction, staff development, supervising, evaluation, and research synthesis. After graduating from instructional design degree programs, many people chose to work in school settings and universities. The Ph.D. program is a research degree and includes coursework, internships, and independent work in research designing, data analysis, and instructional theory.
Ph.D. graduates tend to work in universities and research-based environments. Therefore a Ph.D. is based on original research while a Ed .D is practice oriented. Even with full time studies few people complete a program of study in less than four years, and part time students can take up to seven years. As with the masters degree be sure not to take too long to or you will start to lose credit hours. Doctorate programs require the completion of residency requirements (each school will define their residency requirements). Candidates are also required to work on a dissertation after completion of the coursework. This phase of the program is often referred to as ABD (all but dissertation.
Plan a program of study based on an assessment of your past experiences, education, personal strengths and interests, geographic mobility, intended career path, and future plans. During your time in the instructional design degree programs, you should be aware of job market opportunities but you should not necessarily let them dictate your choice to specialize.
Faculty advisors in instructional design degree programs can help you in the process of developing a program of study that fits your needs. The programs have required courses to provide general preparation to practice in the profession. Some programs also offer specialized tracks or courses that permit or encourage concentration in a specific area as listed above. The opportunity to specialize in instructional design degree programs depends on the availability of relevant courses, on focused class projects. If you are interested in a certificate in instructional technology.
Instructional Systems Careers
Graduates work in a variety of different settings in corporations, schools, universities, government, military, and non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) just to name a few areas.
Areas of Specialization
Programs offer different areas of specialization to prepare their students. Instructional designers, instructional technologist, or e-learning specialists work in a variety of different settings in corporations, schools, universities, government, military, non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) and in the medical professions. Many students enter a master’s program knowing what they want to do when they graduate, some have not made a decision, and some see their interests shift once they are exposed to the wide variety of types and settings in which they can work.
Instructional Design and Related Programs
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If education is your passion, Concordia University-Portland is your university. One of the most respected names in learning today, Concordia offers several fully online Master of Education (MEd) programs—most of which can completed in one year—and a fully online Doctorate of Education (EdD) program. Our graduates stand out with the skills, integrity, and compassion necessary to meet the ever-changing needs of students today. Together, we're all making an impact in education.
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