Finding The Best Instructional Design Certificate Program: 7 Selection Criteria

From eLearning Industry by Christopher Pappas

As instructional designers, by nature, we have a constant thirst for knowledge. We always want to know more about learning behaviors, methodologies and technologies that can make the online educational experience even more powerful and engaging for our audience. In this article, I’ll shed some light on how you can find the best instructional design certificate program, so that you can take your understanding of eLearning course design and development to new heights.

7 Selection Criteria To Consider When Searching For The Best Instructional Design Certificate Program

While there are a wide range of books, sites and other resources that can help us expand our instructional design knowledge, attending an online instructional design certificate program may be ideal for those who want to take it a step further. It can offer eLearning professionals more job opportunities and allow them to gain greater insight into instructional design principles, theories and models. In this article, I’ll give you some tips about the most significant factors to consider when searching for the ideal for you instructional design certificate program.

  1. Overall Cost.
    While the quality of the education you will be receiving is of the upmost importance, the cost is an important factor too. The issue that arises with many online programs, in general, is that the fees may be higher than what is stated on the website, as there are often other hidden expenses involved, for example, you may have to pay for textbooks. Furthermore, some programs offer payment plans, while others may require that you pay everything in advance. As such, finding the best instructional design certificate program for you often involves asking the admissions coordinator about the additional costs you will have to pay and how the payments will be made.
  2. Instructional design certificate program perspective.
    Every instructional design certificate program has its own curriculum and perspective. Is the focus practical or theoretical? Does it concentrate on corporate training design and development? For what type of audience it has been designed? You may also need to determine if the structure of the eLearning course and its components are what you are looking for. The ideal program will offer you a chance to get real world experience and teach you how to apply eLearning theories and tools when designing eLearning courses. Have a look at the online course description and syllabus to learn more about the format and curriculum involved.
  3. Admission requirements.
    It is essential to ask about the admission requirements when searching for the best instructional design certificate program for you. Find out which exact steps you will be expected to take in order to be accepted into the program, how long each of these steps will take to complete and if there are any deadlines that you have to meet.
  4. Program reputation.
    The reviews and reputations of the program you are considering can tell you a lot about whether it is the ideal choice for you. Look online to see if any current program participants have left reviews for the particular instructional design certificate program and see how they compare to other programs that are available. Do some research to find out when these programs were first introduced and their completion success rates. You may also benefit from finding out more about faculty members; learn more about their experience and if they have specific expertise that can help you pursue your professional goals.
  5. Program duration.
    For the most part, instructional design certificate programs have a set time frame in which all of the coursework will be completed, whether synchronous, asynchronous, or blended. However, there are others that are based on credits hours or classes, so you may have direct control over how long you will need to receive your certificate. For example, a program may require that you participate in 5 sessions in order to complete the online course, as well as to allow you to choose when you participate in each.  If you want an instructional design certificate program that enables you to go at your own pace and work around an already busy schedule, a less structured asynchronous program may be the ideal option.
  6. Career outlook.
    Ultimately, many eLearning professionals enroll in instructional design certificate programs in the hopes that they can pursue a particular career path. As such, it’s important to assess whether or not a particular program is going to prepare you for the career that you have in mind.
  7. Future educational endeavors.
    While some eLearning professionals may be just after any instructional design certificate, those who want to continue their education after this may also want to consider future educational endeavors among their selection criteria. Ideally, if you want to earn higher degrees, such as aMaster’s degree in Instructional Design, then you may want to consider institutions that also offer more advanced degree programs. This will enable you to stay in one institution, without having to worry about transferring credits. However, if you are planning to attend other institutions for further degrees, validation of the credits earned by the particular online instructional design certificate will be of value when you make the switch. Keep in mind that some programs may accept credits from other institutions but set a limit to the number of credits you can transfer.

Take these factors into account when choosing your ideal instructional design certificate program to find the one that will offer you the specific skill set development and information you need to achieve your professional goals.

Looking for more information on instructional design certificate programs? The article How To Choose The Right Online Instructional Design Certificate Program features tips to help you find the right program for you and highlights 18 online instructional design certificate programs that you may want to consider during your search.

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