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Best Instructional Design Certificate Programs and Courses

Sanju Kumari
8 Mar 2024
18 min read
Blob Cover Page of Best Instructional Design Certificate Programs and Courses

Poised for growth. Meant to rise. The instructional design industry in North America is anticipated to advance at a considerable rate between 2023 and 2030.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 6% job growth for instructional designers through 2029.

Have you learned the art yet? Let’s see some of the best instructional design certificate programs and courses to pursue in 2024.

Instructional designer's employment opportunities

The demand for instructional designers is not limited to the education sector but extends to industries such as:

  • Software & tech development
  • Banking & financial services (BFSI)
  • Social media
  • Consulting services
  • Government agencies
  • Healthcare, and
  • Non-profit organizations.

But why is there such a tremendous demand for instructional designers? 

This growth is fueled by advances in digital communication and instructional technology. 2024 is an opportune time to gain instructional design certification due to its increasing importance in enhancing learning outcomes.

What is Instructional Design?

Instructional design is the systematic process of creating educational experiences. It facilitates learning and improves performance. 

The Process

Some Key Principles and Theories in Instructional Design

Instructional designers play a critical role in designing effective learning experiences. They often use principles and theories of instructional design to create impactful instructional materials. Most instructional design certificate programs are based on them. 

Read the table below to explore some key principles and theories like the ADDIE Model, the Blooms Taxonomy, and many more:

Let’s explore some Instructional Design Theories:

1. ADDIE Model

It provides a systematic approach to designing effective instructional materials and is divided into five phases:

2. Constructivism

This theory emphasizes:

                    a. Active learning 

                    b. Knowledge construction

Using this theory, instructional designers often incorporate activities and resources that promote meaningful learning experiences.

3. Cognitive Load Theory

This theory focuses on managing the cognitive load placed on learners during instruction. Following this, instructional designers aim to optimize learning by:

  1. Presenting information in manageable chunks and
  2. Minimizing extraneous cognitive load.

4. Blooms Taxonomy

It is a hierarchical framework that categorizes learning objectives into cognitive domains, such as:

  1. Remembering
  2. Understanding
  3. Applying
  4. Analyzing
  5. Evaluating and Creating

Instructional designers use Bloom's Taxonomy to design learning activities that target specific levels of cognitive complexity.

5. Socio-cultural Theory

This theory emphasizes the role of:

                   a. Social interactions and Cultural context in learning

Instructional designers incorporate culturally relevant content in their learning materials to promote deeper understanding and engagement.

24 Best Instructional Design Certifications in 2024

Whether you're an educator looking to enhance your skills or a professional aiming to enter the field, obtaining an instructional design certification is a significant step toward achieving your goals. 

Currently, in the hyper-competitive education market, there are numerous certification options. Particularly, free and online instructional design courses are highly popular. 

However, selecting the right program not only enhances your knowledge but also makes you stand out in the job market.

Following are the 24 best instructional design certificate programs and courses worth doing in 2024:

1. Instructional Design Certificate Program Offered by the University of California, Irvine

Course Fees:$4,265

Duration: 12–18 Months

Check the course schedule here.

Key Highlights

  • Plan e-learning projects, engage stakeholders and experts, and manage the scope.
  • Analyze management and cost issues in online instruction deployment.
  • Develop and deploy online lessons, integrating e-learning technology.
  • Explore rapid authoring and media tools and assess their pros and cons.
  • Gain hands-on experience by building an e-learning module.

2. Certificate in E-Learning Instructional Design Offered by the University of Washington

Course Fees: $4,250

Duration: 7-8 months

Key Highlights

  • Four-course certificate program immerses you in e-learning and instructional design.
  • Covers e-learning essentials, course development, and program management techniques.
  • Explores methods to assess program quality and effectiveness.
  • Culminates in a final special project for your professional portfolio.

3. Instructional Design & Technology, Graduate Certificate Offered by Florida State University

Course Fees: $16,134

Duration: Complete within 5 years

Key Highlights

  • Get an online instructional development certificate.
  • Complete within five years; flexible learning for diverse settings.
  • Ideal for professionals seeking advanced skills in online instructional design.

4. Instructional Systems Technology Certificate Offered by Indiana University

Course Fees: For Indiana Residents: $529.60

For Non-Indiana residents: $627.66

Duration: 15-hour certificate program

Key Highlights

  • GRE is not required for admission to this program.
  • Prepares you for career advancement or higher education in Instructional Systems Technology.
  • A 15-hour program covers instructional technology concepts.
  • Topics include evaluation, writing, and computer-mediated learning strategies.

5. Graduate Certificate in eLearning Design Offered by the University of Georgia

Course Fees: $9,435

Duration: 15-hour certificate program (five 3-credit hour classes)

Key Highlights

  • Earn the University of Georgia’s eLearning Design graduate certificate from Mary Frances Early College of Education.
  • Prepares for eLearning design across industries.
  • Accredited by SACSCOC for various degree awards.
  • Develop qualifications for career advancement or transition.

6. Instructional Design Certificate Offered by University of Wisconsin-Stout

Course Fees: $5,712

Duration: Complete the certificate in 9 months or Within 3 years

Key Highlights

  • Prepare for roles like Instructional Designer, Elearning Designer, Project Manager, and more.
  • Courses start thrice annually: spring, summer, and fall, with the flexibility to begin studies at convenient times.
  • Complete the certificate in 9 months or within 3 years.
  • Credits are applicable to UW-Stout's Master of Science programs.

7. Graduate Certificate in Online Teaching Offered by Boise State University

Course Fees: $4,302  ( Total 9 credits at $478 per credit)

Duration: Self-paced

Key Highlights

  • A specialized graduate certificate program for educators enhancing online teaching skills.
  • Covers course design, instructional technology, online communication, and assessment.
  • Equips graduates to create engaging online learning experiences.
  • Valuable credential for career advancement or transitioning to online teaching.

8. Graduate Certificate in e-Learning Design Offered by Penn State World Campus

Course Fees: $12,204 (Total 12 credits at $1,017 per credit)

Duration: Self-paced

Key Highlights

  • Understand instructional design principles per industry best practices.
  • Create engaging e-learning content:
  • Focus on learner-centered material.
  • Utilize learning management system features.
  • Include interactive multimedia elements.
  • Design intuitive user interfaces.
  • It consists of 4 courses, totaling 12 credits.
  • All courses are transferable to the M.Ed. in Learning, Design, and Technology program.

9. Graduate Certificate in Instructional Design Offered by George Washington University

Course Fees: $11,400 (Total 12 credits at $950 per credit hour)

Duration: Self-paced

Key Highlights

  • Gain foundational knowledge and skills for instructional design projects.
  • Learn to assess needs and analyze learning objectives.
  • Apply design theories, principles, models, tools, and techniques.
  • Develop, implement, evaluate, and manage instructional programs effectively.

10. Instructional & Learning Design Certificate Program Offered by University of Massachusetts Boston

Course Fees: $8,625 (Total 15 credits at $575 per credit)

Duration: Minimum 9 months

Key Highlights

  • Focuses on creating education and training programs for adult learners.
  • Designed for educational professionals, corporate trainers, librarians, etc.
  • You get to explore:
  • Learning Technologies
  • Design theories, and
  • Evaluation methods.
  • Applicable across various fields; option to pursue a MEd in Instructional Design.
  • Emphasizes design, assessment, evaluation, and adult learning theory.
  • Equips professionals with skills to design and assess learning interventions.

11. Graduate Certificate in Educational Technology Offered by Michigan State University

Course Fees: $7,803-$8,397 (Total 9 credits at $867-$933 per credit)

Duration: Maximum 3 years

Key Highlights

  • Designed for educators to enhance instructional practice with new technologies.
  • Focuses on transforming teaching to inculcate digital-age thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • Let's you acquire foundational knowledge and skills in technology integration.
  • Re-evaluates teaching practices and beliefs, exploring new perspectives.
  • The 9-credit program can be completed stand-alone or as part of a degree program.
  • Offers online, hybrid, and overseas learning options.

12. Instructional Technology Design Certificate Offered by the University of Maryland Global Campus

Course Fees: $5,760–$7,908 (Total 12 credits at $480–$659 per credit)

Duration: Self-paced

Key Highlights

  • Gain expertise in technology integration for online learning.
  • Develop advanced skills in curriculum development and instruction.
  • Prepare to lead technology-rich learning environments.
  • This course covers the following:
  • Mobile learning
  • Blended learning
  • Tool selection
  • Media integration and Standards-based course design

13. Online Instructional Design Certificate Offered by University of Colorado Denver

Course Fees: $395 (includes a $35 transaction fee)

Duration: 8 weeks (self-paced)

Key Highlights

  • Deep dive into instructional design theories and practices.
  • Gain tools to design engaging instruction for:
  • Educators
  • E-learning developers, and
  • Skill development enthusiasts.
  • Learn instructional design methodologies, strategies, and industry trends.
  • Apply principles to various educational settings, from schools to corporate training.

14. Instructional Design Certificate Program Offered by California State University, Fullerton

Course Fees: 

Open University Cost: $366 per unit*

Part-time Graduate Students: $396 per unit

Duration: Self-paced

**Additional fees include

  • $30.62 consolidated course fee (once per semester/term) and 
  • $4.89 Student ID Card fee (once per semester/term)

Key Highlights

  • Earn the Instructional Design Certificate Level 1 with three online courses.
  • Required courses cover:
  • Web authoring tools
  • E-learning design issues and advanced implementation.
  • Develop skills in online training design with web authoring software.
  • Certificate courses transfer to the Master of Science in Instructional Design and Technology at CSUF.

15. Non-degree Graduate Certificate in Educational Technology Offered by Rutgers University, Camden

Course Fees*

NJ Residents: $441 per credit

Out-of-state residents: $1,054 per credit

Duration: 12 months

**For complete details, please refer to the official document.

Key Highlights

  • 9-credit non-degree graduate certificate in Educational Technology.
  • Designed to integrate technologies into various learning environments.
  • Intended for teachers, instructors, administrators, and others interested in web-based technologies in education.
  • Develop an understanding of technology integration's intellectual and research basis.

16. Foundation of Instructional Design Certificate Offered by the University of Toronto

Course Fees: CAD 639

Duration: 24-hour certificate course

Key Highlights

  • The course covers adult learning principles and instructional design models.
  • Develops skills to design and analyze professional learning resources.
  • Learn to create measurable instructional programs informed by learning theories.
  • Apply ADDIE model techniques from needs assessment to evaluation.
  • Gain an understanding of the learning design process and its implications for instructional strategies.

17. Professional Certificate in Learning Design and Technology Offered by Harvard University

Course Fees: $12,880

Duration: Complete the course within 3 years

Key Highlights

  • Enhance career prospects in diverse educational sectors.
  • Develop expertise in instructional design theories for digital learning experiences.
  • Acquire skills in:
  • Technology
  • Interactive media
  • Video editing and Digital design
  • Specialize in areas like website development and content management systems.
  • Ideal for those aspiring to roles in K–12, higher education, corporate training, and more.

18. Master Track Certificate in Instructional Design Offered by the University of Illinois

Course Fees: $2,384

Duration: Self-paced online course

Key Highlights

  • Address real-world educational challenges and integrate technology into learning environments.
  • Gain credit towards a full degree while mastering instructional system design and learning technologies.
  • Upon completion, participants can:
  • Identify and apply systematic instructional design processes
  • Understand relevant terminology, and
  • Analyze and apply design models and theories.
  • Designed for professionals in instructional design or those aspiring to enter the field.

19. M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction Offered by Texas A&M University

Course Fees: Use the university calculator to check your cost

Duration: 36 hours

Key Highlights

  • This course includes a paid internship as a classroom teacher and the ability to apply coursework towards a Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree.
  • Learners gain the degree of Master of Education (M.Ed.) with an emphasis on curriculum and instruction and Texas teacher certification.
  • Program delivery options include on-campus and online formats.
  • 51% of coursework is available through distance learning.
  • The program consists of 36 credit hours and does not require a thesis.

20. Online Teaching and Learning, Graduate Certificate Program Offered by Michigan State University

Course Fees: 

In-state Tuition: $867 per credit hour

Out-of-state Tuition: $1,111 per credit hour

Duration: 12 Months

Key Highlights

  • This course equips you to navigate emerging trends, address instructional design challenges, and leverage digital technologies for effective learning.
  • The certificate can stand alone or be integrated into the MAET degree program.
  • Graduates emerge as skilled online educators, ready to lead discussions and implement innovative approaches in online teaching and learning.

21. Online Learning Certificate in Instructional Design Offered by Duke University

Course Fees: $400

Duration: 5 months, self-paced

Key Highlights

  • Self-paced online certificate for individuals seeking an introduction to creating, administering, or teaching online learning programs.
  • Covers major models, tools, and techniques for creating and delivering online learning.
  • Includes a survey of technology, best practices for online teaching, strategies for integrating narrative learning, and the basics of developing accessible online content.
  • Completion awards 2.25 IACET CEUs, reflecting mastery of essential skills in online learning design and delivery.

22. Graduate Professional Certificate in Instructional Design in Online Learning

Offered by University of St. Francis 

Course Fees: $4,788  (Total 12 credit hours at $399 per credit hour)

Duration: Self-paced

Access the complete curriculum from here.

Key Highlights

  • Taught by experienced professors who are experts in design, evaluation, and online media
  • Learn evidence-based practices for:
  • Developing effective online courses.
  • Utilizing instructional technology to engage learners.
  • Gain skills in media design, assessment creation, and online training.
  • Affordable tuition is $399 per credit hour.
  • 24-hour flexible online classes.

23. Certificate in Instructional Design Offered by Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies

Course Fees: $4, 990


117 contact hours to be completed within 2 years

[A total of 11.7 Continuing Education Units (CEUs)]

Key Highlights

  • Learners complete eight required courses for a total of 11.7 CEUs, completed within two years.
  • Course topics include:
  1. Online Learning Design
  2. Content Integration
  3. Technology Integration
  4. Master Design Document creation
  5. Multimedia Strategy
  6. Course-Build Plan
  7. LMS Quality Review 
  8. Capstone Presentation
  • All courses prioritize creating supportive and inclusive environments.

24. Associate Certificate in Instructional Design Offered by The Digital Learning Institute

Course Fees: $958

Duration: 8 weeks

Download the latest brochure using this link.

Key Highlights

  • Provides essential instructional design skills.
  • Ideal for individuals considering digital learning design careers
  • Explore the fundamentals of digital learning design and understand the deep concepts of instructional design.
  • Gain insight into key tools and blueprints for designing, building, and implementing high-quality online learning experiences.

Why choose Calibr.AI?

Use our cutting-edge Learning Experience Platform to create personalized instructional design learning journeys. Calibr.ai can transform your course creation process through our modern, generative AI-powered authoring tool. 

Contact us today and instantly generate captivating microlearning courses in minutes. We offer highly affordable plans. Explore them now.

Sanju Kumari

Sanju has a wealth of experience and expertise in instructional design, bringing innovative ideas and a fresh perspective to e-learning content development. She is passionate about merging technology and creativity for dynamic e-learning. Her passion for creating engaging and effective learning experiences aligns perfectly with Calibr's commitment to excellence. She also enjoys writing about e-learning trends in the corporate world.