Master of Science in Learning Design and Technology


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Master of Science in Learning Design and Technology

Learn Instructional Design Skills Sought by Employers in All Industries

The University of San Diego’s online Master of Science in Learning Design and Technology (LDT) program is a one-of-a-kind experience for degree candidates who are motivated to work as learning designers and instructional designers — career roles that are in high demand amid the widespread shift to online education.

The need for learning designers has increased dramatically since the start of COVID-19. The public health crisis accelerated an ongoing trend toward educational institutions pivoting to online learning and toward companies of all types and sizes investing in online training.

The curriculum for our innovative, online LDT degree program is thoughtfully crafted to prepare graduates for positions that involve creating educational programs, online courses and training materials for educational institutions, organizations and corporations.

Innovative Curriculum Tailored to the Needs of Learning Designers

The Master of Science in Learning Design and Technology is a 30-unit, project-based program that is offered 100% online using the Blackboard learning management system. Students will develop a comprehensive understanding of the science of how people learn, as well as proficiency in the leading technology tools currently used in instructional and learning design.

To prepare students for the requirements of the profession, most courses will include practical application of theoretical concepts, with students producing learning artifacts such as eLearning modules, program plans or online courses that they can add to their portfolio.

Designed to be completed in 20 months over five semesters, the program requires students to take two seven-week-long courses each semester, including a Capstone course that synthesizes the topics covered in the preceding courses. In the Capstone project, students build a peer-evaluated portfolio that showcases their technology and design skills and can be shared with prospective employers.

In addition to accessing instruction through the Blackboard LMS, students will be exposed to various educational technologies that become part of their technology toolbox for career development opportunities. For example, students will be able to explore rapid eLearning software such as Articulate 360 (including Storyline 360).

At a Glance

Earn a career-building master’s degree in instructional design in just 20 months.

20 Months
30 Units
May 9
April 10


Students take two courses each semester, focusing intensively on one seven-week course at a time. The curriculum is enhanced by a focus on student-centered education including topics such as:

  • Learning experience design
  • Digital literacy skills
  • Emerging technologies
  • Leadership
  • Facilitating high-impact teaching practices in digital environments
  • Implementing best practices in learning design

The courses offered in the Master of Science in Learning Design and Technology include:

Course Units

This course focuses on the basics of instructional and learning design, with special attention to the history of the field and a thorough re…

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This course introduces students to research-based principles of effective multimedia design and creation of original media that conforms to …

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This course examines advanced topics in instructional design, including needs assessment, instructional challenges, learner characteristics,…

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This course explores artistic and technical aspects of creating engaging and accessible digital media to convey information. Instructors dis…

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This course focuses on digital asset and artifact curation. It explores laws applicable to education and training, including provisions of t…

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This course establishes a strong foundation for ethical leadership in the field of virtual learning. It focuses on developing knowledge of r…

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This course focuses on the use of data to inform program and instructional design decisions. Students will review both quantitative and qual…

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This course examines theories and techniques for evaluating educational and training programs. Students apply methodologies used to identify…

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This course emphasizes the evaluation, application and integration of emerging learning programs and media technologies. Students will exami…

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This culminating Capstone course synthesizes topics discussed in all previous program courses. Students demonstrate achievement of all progr…

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Course Calendar

Program Goals and Learner Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, MS-LDT graduates will be able to:

  1. Integrate foundational models and professional practices in learning design and instructional technology. Graduates will be able to apply knowledge of adult learning theory, online pedagogy and andragogy, and social justice principles to design, develop and deliver sound and equitable learning experiences and construct appropriate technology solutions in education and training contexts.
  2. Employ sound practices in program planning, data collection and data analysis. Graduates will be able to accurately and reliably assess the needs of diverse learner populations by applying ethical and objective data collection methods and employing appropriate data analysis techniques to use in learning design evaluation.
  3. Critically evaluate trends, issues, practices and methodologies that impact the field of instructional design. Graduates will recognize historical social disparities in education and training contexts and engage in discourse that challenges the current perspectives in learning design to drive the discipline forward.
  4. Critically examine educational technology trends and apply empirical rationale in the development of instructional multimedia that supports the needs of a diverse audience, enhances cultural understanding and increases global awareness. Graduates will employ principles of media design in the creation of end-to-end learning objects to deepen learning and reduce elements that impede cognitive processing. Students will be well-versed in Universal Design for Learning (UDL) strategies and be able to utilize digital tools that integrate with adaptive and assistive technologies.
  5. Engage learning project stakeholders in achieving the optimal student experience and meeting organizational goals. Graduates will be able to effectively oversee the development of a learning project by applying project management techniques and frameworks. Graduates will recognize and exhibit high ethical standards in project leadership, consultation, negotiation, collaboration and management.
  6. Ensure quality of instructional design and technology implementation. Graduates will be able to define and apply information literacy and ethical use of content, and discuss the implications of quality management in educational product design and evaluation of learning technologies.

The Master of Science in Learning Design and Technology program has been developed in collaboration with a world-class faculty team that possesses expertise in teaching, training, curriculum design, learner experience design, digital media and graphics design, educational technology and corporate training, as well as leadership in a variety of educational settings.

Each instructor is engaged in working closely with students to make the LDT learning experience one that you can use to transform your career and achieve your most important goals.

The program has been excellent. I appreciate every professor, and everyone’s been so helpful. I can immediately apply the information I’m learning in class in my work environment. The program has boosted my confidence, so much so that I’ve started applying for instructional designer positions and I’ve had a few successful interviews. I can’t say enough good things about the program. It has truly been life-changing.

USD’s MS-LDT program is a bold, innovative, and fulfilling environment that fosters lively exchange between the world of academia and the demands of corporate learning. Dr. Evans is a true champion of change who inspires you to step out into the Learning space, empowered. Her support and teaching presence is admirably dynamic even amidst an asynchronous program. Your growth is her only focus.

I enrolled in the MSLDT program because I wanted to start a new career as an instructional designer. This program is amazing because within the first semester I already felt like I had gained invaluable foundational knowledge and skills in the field. It gave me the confidence to apply for an instructional design job with a large consulting firm, and I was offered the position! The interviewers specifically said I had an impressive fundamental understanding of the instructional design process. This is all thanks to the immersive and purposeful design of the courses in this program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I get experience working with an LMS such as Canvas or Blackboard?

Yes, MSLDT students experience developing courses, integrating instructional materials and various technology tools, and delivering eLearning content using a learning management system (LMS).