Note: This certificate is undergoing review
and we are no longer taking registrations.

Design Effective Adult eLearning Experiences

Get ready to work as an instructional designer in a changing technology landscape. Through self-paced, guided activities, you’ll:

  • learn relevant theories of adult learning, interaction design, and multimedia learning.
  • study both traditional and contemporary instructional design models.
  • gain hands-on experience with real-world design challenges.

Who should take this program?

The Instructional Design for eLearning Certificate program is intended for entry-level trainers, mid-career instructional design professionals looking to skill up, and teachers seeking a career pivot.

After completing the certificate program, you’ll have a new understanding of how to create instructionally sound elearning materials. You’ll be able to describe how instructional designers incorporate learning theory into their work. And you’ll have a portfolio piece to use in your job hunt, using the industry-standard authoring tools that are most commonly asked for by hiring managers. 

"I am in an entirely new, exciting world that I never thought I’d have the opportunity to get to. I make more money, I’m happier, I’m doing things that I love. I’m surrounded by a ton of experts who will help me continue my own education. The sky's the limit in my new position.”
—Conner Wesby, Instructional Designer

    With this Instructional Design for eLearning certificate, you will be equipped to:

    • describe instructional design models and learning theories and frameworks, and be able to apply learning theories and principles in instructional designs.
    • evaluate digital technologies and methods for distance learning, including contemporary trends in elearning design.
    • design inclusive, accessible, effective online training experiences that align with business and learning outcomes.
    • reimagine existing face-to-face training for fully online delivery.

    Career Outlook

    Instructional Design Program Outline

    Online Certificate Program Overview (72 contact hours) Schedule
    Introduction to eLearning Week 1
    How Learning Works Week 2
    Distance Learning and Adults Week 3
    User Experience and digital learning environments Week 4
    Writing for ID Week 5
    Structuring instructional content Week 6
    Multimedia Learning Theory Week 7
    Assessment and Evaluation Week 8
    Learner motivation and gamification Week 9
    eModule intensive (dedicated work week) Week 10
    Project Management Week 11
    Leadership and emotional Intelligence Week 12


    Note: This certificate is undergoing review and we are no longer taking registrations.

    E-Learning Certificate Course Format

    This is an asynchronous 12-week certificate program with an instructor guiding you through each week of the course. There are deadlines each week of the course to keep you on track. Some of the benefits of this format include:

    • flexibility to access the course and complete assignments based on your schedule.
    • interaction with your instructor and fellow students in asynchronous course discussions.
    • Instructor availability to answer questions and provide feedback and direction on assignments and projects.
    • new modules opening each week to keep you on track and engaged with new content.

    Technology and Time Requirements


    • Time & Technology: While primarily asynchronous, two group projects will require synchronous scheduling with groupmates; therefore, students will need to have some flexibility in scheduling during the 12 weeks of the certificate, but the times are negotiable.
    • Newer computer: Students must have a working computer that is able to run modern software applications. Typically, this means a computer that is not more than 3 years old. It will be difficult to complete this certificate with just a tablet or with an older computer. 
    • Webcam/Microphone - Headset: Students must have a functional webcam and microphone that allow them to interact fluidly with others online.

    Funding and Discounts

    The U's professional development programs are affordable because they can be completed in relatively short order—sometimes within a few months—which can save you both time and money. What's more, there are other opportunities you can explore to potentially bring the cost down even further.


    • CCAPS offers scholarships of $500 to $2,500 to Minnesota residents who meet eligibility requirements.
    • If you're not employed, you may be able to take advantage of federal or state funding. Contact your CareerForce center to inquire.
    • Your organization may have funds set aside for employee education. Read about the benefits of employer investment in career development.


    • When you register and pay for all courses in the certificate at once, you'll receive up to a 10% discount.
    • University of Minnesota Alumni Association members receive a 10% discount.
    • U of M staff get 50% off most professional development programs.

    See Discounts, Scholarships, and Other Funding for more information and possible exclusions to discounts.

    Enrollment Advisor

    Shanta Bhoelai, enrollment advisor


    Shanta Bhoelai

    I can help you choose which professional development programs are the best fit to meet your career goals. I am here to answer your questions regarding specific programs, courses, or other career topics you have on your mind. 

    Don’t hesitate to send me an email or schedule an online appointment. I'm here for YOU!

    Student Testimonial

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How should I register for the certificate?

    Participants should register themselves in online registration.

    How do I log in to the online program?

    A week before the start date, you'll receive a username and password that will give you access to the site and tools.

    How long does it take to complete this certificate program?

    You have twelve weeks from the listed start date to complete this certificate. Program content is broken into week-long segments, identified in the program outline above.

    What is instructional design?

    Instructional design means planning accessible, interactive learning experiences to support learning objectives. Instructional designers make decisions about sequencing, format, and presentation of the material.

    Instructional designers play an integral role in education, training, and change management contexts. They find a place in all employment sectors: academia, business, nonprofit, or government.

    What is elearning?

    eLearning can mean many things: a instructor-led online course, an independent study program, an interactive, topic-specific module.

    What will you learn in the Instructional Design for eLearning Certificate program?

    Instructional Design for eLearning teaches you to create an instructionally sound eLearning module. This is an individual learning artifact, like a slide deck, with back/next buttons for learner navigation and interactive elements like quiz questions. You’ll use an industry-standard authoring tool like Adobe Captivate or Articulate Rise to create your module. You’ll learn how to arrange material, choose appropriate images or video, and write engaging text for your target learner audience. You’ll be able to design a quiz that will help the learner remember the information. You'll compose an evaluation plan to help you track how effective your eLearning module is.

    What is the role of an Instructional Designer in the design of an eLearning module?

    The role of the Instructional designer is to identify the business need for training (in a corporate setting) or to work with the educator to understand the learning outcomes (in an academic setting). The instructional designer then determines the best way to deliver that knowledge.

    They are not the subject matter expert, but they help the subject matter expert—an instructor or manager, for example—organize their ideas, knowledge, and materials in a way that will help the learner understand, remember, and apply the information. Instructional designers:

    • work with SMEs to understand the learning goal and identify learning objectives.
    • decide which tool and content format are most appropriate for the content.
    • write assessments to help learners remember key information.
    • write program evaluations to measure the effectiveness of the learning experience.
    • gather data for continuous improvement.

    With the proper training, an instructional designer can:

    • apply learning theories and frameworks to create the most effective learning experiences.
    • determine the best technologies and formats for learning designs.
    • create learning materials for schools and businesses.
    • reimagine existing learning materials for online delivery.

    What can I do with an Instructional Design for eLearning Certificate?

    A certificate in Instructional Design can open up new employment opportunities for you by introducing you to the fundamentals of:

    • adult learning theory
    • instructional materials design
    • multimedia learning theory

    After completing the Instructional Design for eLearning Certificate program, you’ll have a new understanding of how to create instructionally sound eLearning materials. You’ll be able to describe how instructional designers incorporate learning theory into their work. You’ll have a portfolio piece to use as part of your job hunt, using the industry standard authoring tools commonly asked for by hiring managers.

    Instructional designers can find employment across many industries, from education to the military. They can also work freelance to develop elearning projects for others or create their own learning courses. Instructional design is valuable in every sector and applicable to many jobs, including:

    • Teacher
    • Course design developer
    • Curriculum developer
    • eLearning director
    • Employee trainer
    • Human resource manager

    In addition, your certificate will highlight the skills employers look for when hiring new people or considering current employees for management positions. It may be your best path to a new career or help you get a promotion.