If you’re new to the field of instructional design, you might be overwhelmed with all the course options out there. How can you choose the best one for you? What will you learn? Will it be worth the investment? Check out my list below for all the information on the nine best courses out there today.

Nine best instructional design courses:

  1. Instructional Design MasterTrack™ Certificate (Coursera)
  2. Instructional Design Pro Part 1 (Udemy)
  3. Create Your First Course in Articulate Storyline 3 (Udemy)
  4. Adobe Captivate Courses (Udemy)
  5. Instructional Design and Technology MicroMasters (edX)
  6. Introduction to Instructional Design (Harvard)
  7. Instructional Design Video Series (YouTube)
  8. Become an Instructional Designer (inLearning by LinkedIn)
  9. Become an Instructional Developer (inLearning by LinkedIn)

Happy reading 🙂

1. Instructional Design MasterTrack™ Certificate (Coursera)

Instructional Design MasterTrack™ Certificate

Price: $2,316
Duration: 4-5 months to complete

This training program will help you gain in-demand skills and launch your instructional design career. You’ll complete two graduate-level courses with readings, videos, graded assignments, real-world applied projects, and live global classroom sessions. I like the ability to earn graduate credits from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Master of Education in Education Policy, Organization & Leadership. If you want to pursue a Master’s Degree, you can apply the credits you earn to a degree program. It’s taught by multiple professors from the University of Illinois.

You will learn:

  • Ways to conduct in-depth learner analysis to identify learning objectives
  • Methods for developing well-crafted learning assessments and evaluations
  • Strategies for using cutting-edge technologies to design engaging and meaningful learning activities
  • How to make data-informed decisions to improve existing learning programs
  • Strategies for using learning theories and technologies to create innovative learning solutions

Learner feedback:

This course gave me very useful insights into the world of instructional design. Although I am not an Instructional Designer, I am involved extensively in the activities of the Analysis phase to plan training programs in the organization I work with. In other terms I am a general L&D professional, and was at a career crossroad. I am now very sure that I would like to specialize in the field of Instructional Design and this course is an absolute first step in my journey.

A huge thanks to University of Illinois and Coursera for designing such insightful programs. I particularly loved the options for scholarships. Please keep doing the good work! Look forward to my next course.

Best for: People with a bachelor’s degree who are ready to try graduate-level coursework, intermediate designers who want to move beyond the basics

2. Instructional Design Pro Part 1 (Udemy)

Instructional Design Pro Part 1 (Udemy)

Price: $199
Duration: 28 lectures, 6.5 hours of video total

This self-paced, on-demand class is the first in a three part series. It focuses on the initial steps in the instructional design process, including how to do a needs analysis and understanding your audience. It’s taught by Jason Teteak, the founder and CEO of Rule the Room Train the Trainer. Rather than spending a lot of time on theories and models, he focuses on transferring training skills via practical, simple, universal and immediately actionable techniques. When you’ve finished this course, check out Jason’s other two courses to learn about course design and curriculum production.

You will learn:

  • Identify with your audience and learn more about them
  • Identify what they do and organize it in a way that makes sense
  • Determine what to teach and how to organize it
  • Determine the initial class structure

Learner feedback:

I thought the course was insightful and there was a lot of food for thought in terms of research, planning, designing and delivering a course. The layers of design structure felt a bit cumbersome but that may be because it is coming from a completely different frame of reference to my own. I liked the activities and the trainer’s engagement with the trainees. The resources available are really good. There was quite a lot of material to get through and sometimes it felt a little crammed. It was really positive having activities throughout and again having resources like the spreadsheet templates to facilitate that. Thank you!

Best for: Trainers who develop their own materials, people who want an introduction to needs analysis, designers who are looking for practical tips they can implement right away

3. Create Your First Course in Articulate Storyline 3 (Udemy)

Create Your First Course in Articulate Storyline 3

Price: $99
Duration: 28 lectures, 2.5 hours of video total

This course covers the basics of getting started with Articulate Storyline 3. Radu Velcea, a graphic design instructor for the past 7 years, walks you through the creation of a Storyline eLearning project. He shows you how to start a project from scratch and add interactive elements. He also covers how to assess a learner’s retention of the content by creating quizzes and a result page. You’ll need Storyline 3 (full or trial version) to get the most out of this course.

You will learn:

  • Setting up global preferences
  • Starting a new project from scratch
  • Adding animation, transitions, custom buttons, and images to a project
  • Making sure your course meets accessibility requirements
  • Creating a basic assessment
  • Publishing your project

Learner feedback:

The course was very helpful and gave me a very descriptive and step by step guidance in creating a course with interactive elements, such as animations, buttons, hotspots, and audio narration, use of triggers to create animation paths and a lot more. Radu Velcea was very clear with a detailed and clear guidance of the use of the various tools required.

Best for: People who are new to Articulate Storyline 3, designers who want to make their eLearning courses more interactive and effective

4. Adobe Captivate Courses (Udemy)

Adobe Captivate Courses

Price: $19.99 per course
Duration: About 2 hours per course

Udemy offers three Adobe Captivate courses: Responsive Custom Quiz Questions, Focus on Simulations, and Focus on Demonstrations. These courses teach you how to use the more advanced features of Adobe Captivate eLearning software. If you’ve been wondering how to use variables, advanced actions, and multi-state objects, I recommend checking out all three. Note that this series doesn’t provide an introduction to Captivate. Instead, it uses sample projects to show you how to use Captivate to go beyond the basics.

You will learn:

  • Build your own advanced actions for multiple choice questions
  • Create effective simulations and demonstrations using Adobe Captivate 8
  • Understand the Adobe Captivate screen recording process
  • Understand and configure the Mouse, Highlight Box and Text Caption objects
  • Choose the correct output type based on your audience

Learner feedback:

Excellent Course. Clearly explained the topic and the steps. Provided great resource files. Examples allowed us to see certain steps repeated to more clearly follow the instructions.

Also really appreciated the “best practices” segment in the middle. Saves a lot of frustration later and having to learn things the hard way when applying the lesson to real world work.

When the instructor explains the why behind the steps, it helps us to better understand the software and helps us to be able to think through and solve other challenges.

Best for: Designers with some experience using Captivate who want to learn more about the advanced features

5. Instructional Design and Technology MicroMasters (edX)

Instructional Design and Technology MicroMasters

Price: $796
Duration: 32 weeks

This program consists of four courses:

  • Learning Theory
  • Instructional Design Models
  • Digital Media, New Tools, and Technology
  • Course Evaluation and Capstone Project

Each course is instructor led with a set start and stop date and lasts for 8 weeks. The courses are offered by University of Maryland University College (UMUC) and taught by UMUC professors. Overall, the program focuses on understanding learning theory and shows you how to blend traditional instructional design models with rapid prototyping and data analytics to create online courses. You will gain hands-on experience developing and publishing online courses using the edX platform.

You will learn:

  • Understand contemporary learning theories to develop online learning experiences
  • Apply instructional design models to the development of online learning experiences
  • Select, evaluate or design digital media to support learning
  • Identify, evaluate, and integrate emerging technologies to support online learning
  • Design an implementation process for online learning experiences
  • Apply data mining techniques to the design and evaluation of learning experiences

Learner feedback:

I found the contents of this course very interesting. Being a research scholar in educational technology, I found this course very useful. Designing the course contents for a different combination of technology and pedagogy is what I am looking forward to.

Best for: People who want a more structured, instructor-driven program, designers who are thinking about a Master’s degree but aren’t sure it’s for them and want to try it out first, people interested in learning theories

6. Introduction to Instructional Design (Harvard)

Introduction to Instructional Design

Price: $1,700
Duration: 15 weeks

This is a college-level, instructor-led course with academic readings, group discussions, and six projects. You’ll study learning theories and frameworks, project planning, content expertise, communication, writing, and technology, and apply these theories to instructional design projects. Throughout the course, students work together to produce learning experiences using today’s media and technologies. Students submit a project every two weeks. You’ll want to plan ahead for this course; it is only offered certain semesters, and it’s not available on demand.

You will learn:

  • Good instructional design makes for better learning.
  • Everyone needs to be a lifelong learner in the 21st century.
  • Empathy is at the heart of instructional design.
  • Metacognition is an ongoing practice that makes you a better learner and instructional designer.

Best for: People looking for an academic experience, professionals who want to build their portfolio, designers who want to work with others on academic projects

7. Instructional Design Video Series (YouTube)


Cost: Free
Duration: 32 videos, 4.5 hours

This series consists of videos by Ray Pastore, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of the Instructional Technology Master’s Degree program at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. He covers a wide range of topics related to instructional design. The videos feature informal production values. Dr. Pastore narrates slides from his classes and shares his thoughts with the viewer. If you like learning from videos, I recommend giving this a try.

You will learn:

  • Instructional design analysis and objectives
  • Deliverables, software, and strategies
  • Working with students and clients
  • ADDIE and Gange’s 9 events
  • Instructional design certificates and careers

Best for: People looking for a free course option, designers who prefer informal, on-demand learning

8. Become an Instructional Designer (inLearning by LinkedIn)

Become an Instructional Designer

Cost: 1 month free trial, then $29.99/month to access
Length: 11 courses, 14 hours of content total

In these courses, you’ll learn instructional design basics from experts in the industry. Each course features high production value. Each topic is broken down into short chunks, making it easy to fit learning into your schedule. Earn a badge of completion for your LinkedIn profile when you finish all the courses. This certificate is focused on on corporate business settings and practical techniques.

You will learn:

  • Neuroscience of learning and adult learners
  • Instructional design models
  • Needs analysis and storyboarding
  • Writing learning objectives
  • Creating video training
  • Working with SMEs
  • Measuring learning effectiveness

Learner feedback:

I just finished my first course and felt like I was finally getting somewhere. I started and finished the course on Models of ID. It was a great course and just gave me a brief overview of some of the popular models that many IDs use.

Best for: People who have an inLearning subscription and are active on LinkedIn, designers who want to learn from industry experts, corporate instructional designers

9. Become an Instructional Developer (inLearning by LinkedIn)

Become an Instructional Developer

Cost: 1 month free trial, then $29.99/month to access
Length: 10 courses, 24 hours of content total

These courses focus on the more technical aspects of curriculum creation. They teach you how to combine instructional design principles with technical skills to create effective eLearning modules. Topics range from SCORM and Tin Can API to the fundamentals of screencasting and learning management systems. Each course is taught by industry experts and features high production values.

You will learn:

  • Working with a Learning Management System (LMS)
  • SCORM and Tin Can API
  • Gamification of learning
  • Multimedia and blended learning
  • Software: Captivate, Storyline, and Camtasia

Best for: People who want to learn the more technical aspects of instructional design, beginning eLearning developers

Conclusion

If you want to learn about instructional design, you have more options than ever before. Your learning style, your goals, and your budget should all be part of your decision-making process. Think about how much time you have to devote to your learning. I also recommend previewing the courses and materials if you can. This will go a long way toward showing you whether the course is worth the investment. Never stop learning, and enjoy the journey!

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