New Masters Program Designed to Merge Technology with Classroom Instruction

August 3, 2018

A new master’s degree program at Anderson University will help educators and professionals from healthcare and corporations better integrate technology into their instruction and training programs.

The Master of Science in Instructional Design and Learning Technology(MS-IDLT) launches this spring. Students receive an iPad during their first course.

The new master’s degree program is offered through a collaboration between the Center for Innovation and Digital Learning(CIDL) and AU’s College of Education. The 30-credit-hour program is offered entirely online and can be completed in as little as 12 months. 

Dr. Josh Herron, associate dean in the CIDL, expects students to come to the program from diverse backgrounds.

“Instructional design and learning technology students come from education, training, design or communication, among many other fields,” he said. “The program is designed to prepare professionals with various backgrounds to combine their strengths with instructional design processes and emerging technologies to create highly effective and engaging instruction.”

Anderson University Instructional Design Learning Technology Students who have participated in undergraduate programs at AU have always shown high interest in work being done by the CIDL. Many educators and trainers in the region already attend workshops at AU on mobile learning, technology integration and more.

“Now they have the ability to turn that interest into a credential that signifies they’re able to take the leading innovations of AU to their school or organization,” Dr. Herron said.

Graduates of the program will be ready for jobs with titles such as instructional designer, learning technologist or trainer. These professionals collaborate with subject matter experts and use learning theories, instructional design models and multimedia to develop meaningful learning experiences.

In recent years, there has been more of an effort to blend technology into K-12 classrooms. Dr. Veta New, an assistant superintendent with Anderson School District Five and member of the AU Board of Visitors, says it’s important that the work students do in the classroom matches the work they’ll do after graduation.

“It’s a moral imperative for us to incorporate technology into all our coursework,” she said. “It’s great that Anderson University is putting something together to address this.”

Students in the new program will develop instructional materials using design-based approaches and immersive, interactive multimedia in real-world learning situations. They’ll learn to integrate and evaluate emerging technologies and delivery modes to understand best approaches for any learning need.

Median salaries to range from $62,400 through $105,800
Salaries will vary for graduates of the program, since many will be adding this skill set to job duties that include administration or management. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics finds these skills in job categories such as “instructional coordinator” or “training and development manager.”

Nationally, the median pay is $62,460 per year for instructional coordinators and $105,830 per year for training and development managers. Between the two categories, more than 20,000 new jobs are expected to be created nationwide from 2016-26, and that doesn’t include openings in existing jobs due to the coming retirement wave of baby boomers.

“The demand is always going to be great,” New said.

Over the past decade, AU has committed itself to the innovative use of technology. Its Mobile Learning Initiative incorporates iPads and mobile applications into the education process. It has been recognized twice as an Apple Distinguished School and was the seventh “most innovative” regional university in the South in US News & World Report’s 2018 Best Colleges rankings.

“AU has become a leader in this area with a wealth of expertise to benefit students in the (Instructional Design and Learning Technology) program,” Dr. Herron said.