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A First Look at the New Degree Transforming Online Education

Join us for a free webinar “Online Learning for Professional Development” on Wednesday, June 25th and learn more about Brandeis University’s Division of Graduate Professional Studies’ brand new Masters of Science in Online Instructional Design and Technology program at the Virtual Open House Thursday, June 26th

Education does not look the same as it did ten – or even five – years ago. Rapid technological innovation combined with evolving economy has made online learning much more prevalent. In many ways, the internet has democratized education, making it possible to learn anywhere, anytime and at a much more affordable price point.

By unlocking greater access to education, online learning has exploded. There is a massive demand for the convenience of web-based learning, and especially for high-quality programs that can match the rich experience of classroom learning.

The result is a tremendous expansion in the field of instructional design and technology, or the creation of dynamic learning content for online delivery. Organizations desire skilled professionals able to translate classroom curriculum into an engaging, instructive online education. They need instructional designers who understand how users interact with these online portals and how to optimize their learning experience.

But developing digital courses requires a dynamic skill set, not easily acquired from any single educational program or work experience.

Until now.

Brandeis University’s Division of Graduate Professional Studies has launched an innovative new program transforming the landscape of online learning: Master of Science in Online Instructional Design & Technology. Students will develop extensive knowledge of the theory and practice involved in bringing cutting-edge quality learning experiences to the web. From conception to execution, graduates will have the skills they need to design and develop industry-best learning environments and experiences.

Interested in innovating the next frontier of education? Here are six reasons you should pursue a career in instructional design.

Industry Demand

Industry Demand

The popularity of online learning has skyrocketed in recent years. The convenience of the web makes it possible for working professionals to advance their careers or update their skill set without having to put their job on hold.

 “As public and private interest and money flow into this space, the need for highly trained professionals versed in the art and science of instructional design has almost certainly never been higher,” said Jason Gorman, a member of the professional advisory board for Brandeis’ master of science in online instructional design.

The total job postings for employees with instructional design skills and graduate degrees has increased by 63 percent between 2010 to 2013, according to Brandeis’ Advisory Board, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects above average growth as high as twenty percent for instructional design jobs between 2010 and 2020.

Opportunity for the pros: over 36,000 jobs will be created in just the next four years, according to the Bureau.

Dynamic Day-to-Day

Dynamic Day-to-Day

One of the most appealing aspects of instructional design is it is a dynamic field in which professionals are able to wear multiple hats in their quest to deliver cutting-edge educational experiences. Instructional design is about so much more than building cookie-cutter programs. It’s about understanding how we learn, harnessing technology to improve learning, and creating engaging and effective content to support educational objectives.

Instructional design is a multistage process that calls for a diverse of set of skills. Designers analyze past learning outcomes, and leverage that knowledge to design and develop enhanced instructional programs. They also partner with industry experts or professors to design the curriculum and produce content. They must even act as project managers to oversee how content, instructional tools, and technology integrate to create a dynamic learning environment.

Brandeis’ M.S. in Online Instructional Design & Technology equips students with an extensive and impressive skill set preparing them to meet the diverse demands of instructional design. Glance below to see a preview of promised program outcomes:

  • Apply evidence-based learning science and online pedagogical principles to the design, development, facilitation, and assessment of online courses and programs.

  • Design dynamic, adaptive, and interactive online multimedia-based instructional content and courseware.

  • Evaluate and integrate instructional technologies, platforms, and collaborative tools for use in diverse instructional settings and applications.

  • Demonstrate creativity and innovation in the application of instructional design principles and technologies to respond to instructional challenges and emerging trends.

Collaboration & Creativity

Collaboration & Creativity

Far from a mundane profession, instructional design involves considerable collaboration and creativity. Instructional designers partner with industry professionals or academic professors who are experts on topics to to create optimal eLearning experiences. Together, they brainstorm ways to improve upon past programs, add interactive elements, and other measures to make the educational experience more engaging and effective. They also partner in content creation and management to ensure the best possible learning materials are integrated in the curriculum. The wealth of opportunities to get creative and collaborate with others makes instructional design exciting field.

Bridging Theory & Practice

Bridging Theory & Practice

Instructional designers exercise both sides of their brain to translate theory into practice. They must possess the soft skills needed to nurture a sophisticated understanding of how people learn. There is a theoretical science behind learning that should guide and inform the creation of online educational programs. Educational models like ADDIE and other pedagogical principles must form the blueprint of online course design.

But professionals must step beyond theory and apply these principles to build a product. They must master the practice of utilizing technology to develop courseware solve challenges.

The opportunity to put theory into action and see the tangible results is a stimulating and satisfying part of an instructional design career.

Opportunity Across IndustriesOpportunity Across Industries

While educational institutions represent a large portion of the instructional design field, it is far from the only industry implementing web-based educational programs.

“Instructional design has become a crucial skill set for both educational institutions and training and development organizations across a variety of industries and sectors,” said Brian Salerno, who chairs Brandeis’ new master’s program.

Numerous organizations need educational, training, and professional development resources to maintain a productive workforce. Online materials are a cost-effective way to address onboarding, internal training, and various other instructional needs in private, governmental, and nonprofit industries.

From higher education to giant corporations, opportunities are wide open for instructional designers.

Be on the Cutting-Edge

Be on the Cutting-Edge

Instructional designers are on the forefront of technological evolutions. Because they often operate in the trenches of development, they have early access to cutting-edge new tools and softwares as they strive to build innovative, forward-thinking web experiences. Brandeis’ new master’s program will train students to effectively implement tools and technologies to build industry-leading courseware. Once in the field, however, this knowledge will only expand as more sophisticated technology emerges in the future.

 Brandeis University’s Division of Graduate Professional Studies

Brandeis University's Division of Graduate Professional Studies

Brandeis’ game-changing M.S. in Online Instructional Design & Technology prepares students to be on the forefront of the next frontier in education and training. Not only will they develop a crucial skill set coveted by many organization, but be able to do so on their schedule in small, interactive online courses.

join Brandeis’ Brian Salerno for free webinar “Online Learning for Professional Development” on Wednesday, June 25th and learn more at Brandeis University’s next  Virtual Open House on Thursday, June 26th. 

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  6. The continually improving reputation of online learning has also helped fuel its expansion, as initial skepticism has faltered in the face of evidence that shows that online learning can be just as effective as face-to-face education.

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