Programs and Courses for the Instructional Designer

The OLC Institute for Professional Development offers a variety of online courses and programs for instructional designers that can help you develop and advance your instructional design and course development skills in the online environment.

PLEASE NOTE: To register for any of the below offerings, go to the Institute Schedule page and use the “Search” area to find the offering you are interested in.

List of programs and courses:

  • Instructional Designer Certificate Program 
  • Instructional Design Mastery Series 
  • Data Stories: An Introduction to Data Visualization 
  • Getting Started with Research
  • Project Management for Instructional Designers
  • Applying the Neuro, Cognitive, and Learning Sciences to Instructional Design

Instructional Design-Themed Programs:

INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN CERTIFICATE PROGRAMThe Instructional Designer Certificate Program 
The goal of the Instructional Designer Certificate Program is to help current instructional designers build or refine their skills in working with faculty during the course design and development process. Throughout the four 4-week courses, you will learn strategies and gain resources for guiding faculty through the course design/development process, analyze learning/instructional theories and instructional methods, assess needs for online course resources, identify ways to stay current with emerging best practices, and become qualified in applying the OSCQR rubric and process.

The courses in this program can be taken together for the overall PDF certificate and digital badge, or taken as separate professional development offerings. The four courses part of this program include:

  • Professional Foundations: Researching, Collaborating, and Networking (ID1)
  • Helping Faculty with New Course Development (ID2)
  • Curating and Evaluating Resources for Faculty (ID3)
  • Course Quality Review (OSCQR) (ID4)


INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN - MASTERY SERIESThe Instructional Design Mastery Series

The Instructional Design Mastery Series is a series of three, 1-week modules with breaks in-between focusing on learning outcomes and assessment, instructional strategies, and course management and evaluation of courses that may take place in various learning environments (i.e., web-enhanced, blended, and/or online). Throughout each of the modules, you will explore common instructional design techniques (based on relevant research) and use such strategies to help you design an effective learning unit.

This Mastery Series program is aimed at eLearning professionals who wish to learn how to effectively redesign an online course or those who teach/assist faculty in designing online courses.

If you are unsure which program is right for you, read more about the differences between the Instructional Designer Certificate Program and the Instructional Designer Mastery Series.

Instructional Design-Themed Courses:

Complete all four of these courses and earn the Advanced Instructional Designer badge!

Data Visualization - Storytelling with Data - Infographics-01Data Stories: An Introduction to Data Visualization
Presenting data visually enables us not only to explore and identify patterns in the data but also to analyze and make sense of those patterns and communicate our findings. This will be a hands-on, project-based course in which you will apply key data visualization strategies to various data sets to tell specific data stories using Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. 


Research Methods for the Instructional Designer Community-01Getting Started with Research 
Have you ever wanted to conduct research to answer key questions in your work (i.e., does this learning technology or teaching strategy impact student learning?), but didn’t know how to get started? This four-week course will provide you with the building blocks to uncover prior research, apply prior research to your areas of interest, create effective research questions, collect data using a variety of approaches, and analyze information you collect in a way that is useful for your audience. During this course you will have the opportunity to apply what you are learning each step of the way, building a mini-study to get hands-on experience conducting research..


Project Management for Instructional DesignersProject Management for Instructional Designers  

Project management skills are essential for instructional designers to ensure project success and to provide leadership throughout the process. This course introduces you to the life cycle of a project, from concept to completion and evaluation, including strategies for working successfully within a team environment to achieve project goals. Upon completion of this course, you will have developed key skills in project management by exploring best practices, tools, and techniques associated with process groups and knowledge areas. Additionally, participants will be able to utilize skills and strategies that can be adapted to the needs of a variety of projects.

While this course is targeted towards instructional designers, it is relevant to anyone working in eLearning who manages or contributes to projects in the field of online learning.


Neuro Cognitive & Learning SciencesApplying the Neuro, Cognitive, and Learning Sciences to Instructional Design

This course provides instructional designers and eLearning professionals with an introduction to the neuro, cognitive, and learning sciences and how they can be applied to instructional design. Throughout the course, participants will discuss the connection between instructional design and cognitive load, and explore strategies for aligning course content, activities, and assignments with principles from the neuro, cognitive, and learning sciences. Participants will also examine methods for applying theory to practice, including formative and summative assessment, multi-modality feedback, metacognitive skills, and real-world transfer. At the conclusion of the course, participants will have redesigned a current or planned course, workshop, or program using the principles of the neuro, cognitive, and learning sciences learned in each week of the course.

This course is aimed at the instructional designer or those involved in course development who are interested in applying the learning sciences to instructional design.


Still not sure which program is right for you? Contact and one of our staff members will help you choose.


"This course was supremely helpful for someone starting from ground zero when it comes to research. It covers the basics and gives you information that you can then take back to your job to do your own research. I highly recommend it for other Instructional Designers who are new to research."

Karin Brown, Instructional Designer, University of St. Thomas (Research Methods for the Instructional Designer Community)