How and Where to Obtain an Instructional Design Master’s Degree Online

Instructional design is a rapidly growing field that combines education, technology, and psychology to create effective and engaging learning experiences.

As the demand for skilled instructional designers continues to rise, more and more professionals are considering pursuing a master’s degree in instructional design to enhance their career prospects.

In this article, we will explore the benefits of obtaining a master’s degree in instructional design, the key elements to consider when choosing an online program, and some of the top institutions offering online instructional design master’s degrees.

Why Pursue a Master’s Degree in Instructional Design?

Before we delve into the details of obtaining an instructional design master’s degree online, it’s essential to understand why pursuing this advanced degree can be advantageous for your career:

1. Career Advancement and Job Opportunities

An instructional design master’s degree can open doors to various career opportunities. As companies and educational institutions increasingly prioritize e-learning and digital training solutions, the demand for qualified instructional designers has surged. With a master’s degree, you’ll be better positioned for leadership roles and higher-paying positions in the instructional design field.

2. In-Depth Knowledge and Skill Development

Through a master’s program in instructional design, you will gain a deep understanding of learning theories, instructional strategies, and the effective use of technology in education. This knowledge will enable you to design and implement innovative and impactful learning experiences for diverse learners.

3. Networking and Collaboration

An online master’s program in instructional design allows you to interact with professionals from various backgrounds and locations. This networking opportunity can be invaluable for exchanging ideas, collaborating on projects, and building a strong professional network.

4. Flexibility and Convenience

Online master’s programs in instructional design offer flexibility in terms of schedule and location. This convenience allows working professionals to balance their job commitments while pursuing advanced education.

5. Staying Current in the Field

The instructional design field evolves rapidly due to technological advancements and changes in educational trends. Pursuing a master’s degree can help you stay current with the latest research, best practices, and emerging technologies in instructional design.

Key Considerations for Choosing an Online Program

When selecting an online instructional design master’s program, several essential factors should be taken into account to ensure a high-quality and rewarding educational experience:

1. Accreditation

Accreditation is crucial to ensure that the degree you earn holds value and is recognized by employers and other institutions. Look for programs accredited by reputable regional or national accrediting agencies. Accredited programs meet rigorous academic standards, ensuring a quality education.

2. Curriculum and Specializations

Review the program’s curriculum and the available specializations or concentrations. A well-rounded curriculum should cover instructional design principles, learning theories, technology integration, assessment strategies, and project management. Consider your interests and career goals when choosing a specialization.

3. Faculty Expertise

Experienced and knowledgeable faculty can significantly impact the quality of education you receive. Research the faculty’s credentials, industry experience, and contributions to the field of instructional design.

4. Technological Tools and Resources

As an online learner, you’ll rely on digital tools and resources to access course materials, collaborate with peers, and engage in various activities. Ensure that the program provides a user-friendly online learning platform and adequate technical support.

5. Internship or Capstone Project Opportunities

Practical experience is vital in instructional design. Look for programs that offer internships, practicums, or capstone projects that allow you to apply your knowledge in real-world settings.

6. Alumni Success and Reviews

Research the program’s alumni success stories and read reviews from current and past students. This information can give you insights into the program’s reputation and potential outcomes.

7. Financial Aid and Tuition Costs

Compare tuition costs and explore available financial aid options, such as scholarships, grants, and employer tuition reimbursement programs. Be mindful of hidden fees or additional expenses related to the online program.

8. Flexibility and Course Delivery

Evaluate the program’s flexibility in terms of course delivery and scheduling. Some programs may offer asynchronous courses, allowing you to access materials at your convenience, while others may have synchronous components that require real-time participation.

9. Support Services

Online learners may require additional support services, such as academic advising, career counseling, and technical assistance. Ensure that the program provides comprehensive support to help you succeed academically and professionally.

Top Institutions Offering Online Instructional Design Master’s Degrees

Now that you understand the benefits of pursuing an instructional design master’s degree and the key factors to consider, let’s explore some of the top institutions that offer online programs in this field:

(Note: The following list is not exhaustive and may be subject to change over time. Always verify the program’s availability and offerings before applying.)

1. University of Georgia – Athens, Georgia, USA

– Program: Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Learning, Design, and Technology
– Specializations: Instructional Design and Development, Game-Based Learning, and more.
– Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

2. Purdue University – West Lafayette, Indiana, USA

– Program: Master of Science (MS) in Learning Design and Technology
– Specializations: Instructional Design and Development, eLearning Design and Development, and more.
– Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

3. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – Illinois, USA

– Program: Master of Education (Ed.M.) in Learning Design and Leadership
– Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

4. Walden University – Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

– Program: Master of Science (MS) in Instructional Design and Technology
– Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

5. University of Maryland Global Campus – Adelphi, Maryland, USA

– Program: Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Instructional Technology
– Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

6. Athabasca University – Athabasca, Alberta, Canada

– Program: Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Distance Education
– Accreditation: Alberta Ministry of Advanced Education

7. University of New England – Armidale, New South Wales, Australia

– Program: Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Instructional Design and Technology
– Accreditation: Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA)

8. University of Manchester – Manchester, United Kingdom

– Program: MSc in Digital Education
– Accreditation: The University of Manchester is a member of the prestigious Russell Group, ensuring high academic standards.

Remember to verify the program’s accreditation and admission requirements before applying. Additionally, research each program thoroughly to find the one that best aligns with your interests, career goals, and preferred learning style.


Earning a master’s degree in instructional design online can be a transformative step in your career journey.

The program you choose should provide a well-rounded education, practical experience opportunities, and a supportive learning environment. By considering key factors such as accreditation, curriculum, faculty expertise, and alumni success, you can confidently select a program that best suits your needs and aspirations.

Take the time to research and compare various online instructional design master’s programs to make an informed decision that will shape your future in the field of instructional design.

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