Online Course Teaches eLearning Design

Ann Fandrey

Think of the last course you took. Whether it was a day-long workshop or a multisession certificate program, online or on the job, someone designed it from concept to execution. That person probably was an instructional designer (ID), and their skills are in high demand in Minnesota and across the country.

A recent analysis of the field found that jobs for IDs are growing faster than the national job growth average, 11 percent compared to seven percent. That rise in demand could be due to the variety of industries—insurance, education, software, and medical, to name a few—seeking training and instructional design services.

Responding to this market need, the University of Minnesota College of Continuing and Professional Studies has teamed up with academic technologist Ann Fandrey on Instructional Design for eLearning, a certificate program to teach instructional design theory and application, including related practical skills in multimedia design, and accessibility and user experience analysis. The next 10-week round of this fully online course starts in March 2019.

“I wanted to create a comprehensive program that speaks directly to the needs of instructional designers who would like some more background in learning theory, as well as to people in other fields who are looking to move to an ID career,” says Fandrey, whose expertise includes graphic and information design, course website usability, online course design, accessible digital communication, and digital and visual literacies. “I also wanted to make sure the online course itself was exemplary of an effective environment for online teaching and learning best practices.”

This is a practical program with an emphasis on hands-on, authentic activities that help learners understand and apply learning theory to eLearning designs.

Fandrey says that anyone with a genuine interest in eLearning and what makes it effective would benefit from the program. “This is a practical program with an emphasis on hands-on, authentic activities that help learners understand and apply learning theory to eLearning designs.”

Xiong Xy

Technology and media specialist Xiong Xy, a recent course completer, agrees. He says he’d recommend the course to any working professional looking for a well-rounded and inclusive learning experience in the world of instructional design. “Seeing all the various components of the instructional design process, from start to finish, provided me appreciation for the multiskilled work of an instructional designer.”

Students who take the course should be prepared to finish within 10 weeks of starting and spend about six hours on coursework per week—more, if they are collaborating with peers on projects or seek individualized feedback from the instructor on their portfolio.

Sandra Brick, a curriculum designer who has also taken the course, said she’d take it again if she could.

Sandra Brick

“It was a lot of work but a lot of bang for the buck,” says Brick. “The course gave me the vocabulary to talk about what I had already been doing for over 20 years. A professional vocabulary can help me justify the need for a professional trainer. I can talk about what I do and why it works.”

Visit the Instructional Design for eLearning website for more information.