Back to Blog Instructional Designers Bring Expertise to Blended and Online Learning Programs Blog Share Share on FacebookFollow us on LinkedInShare on PinterestShare via Email Online learning has been a part of our lives for so long now that it’s commonplace to see online programs that run the gamut from one-day classes and certificates to master’s and doctoral degrees. Even with online education and training being mainstream, some organizations and educators choose a blended learning delivery method to train their employees and students. And while it’s no surprise we’re big fans of online education (every certificate, undergrad and graduate degree we offer is 100% online), we’re also proponents of meeting people’s educational needs in ways that make the most sense for instructors, their curriculum and the audience. Blended Learning Defined Blended learning is a training model that’s a mix of online (often called “e-learning”) and traditional face-to-face education. This hybrid approach incorporates the best of e-learning — the virtual tools, technologies and techniques — and combines it with long-held best practices of in-person education found in a classroom with an instructor and learners. A blended learning scenario is ideal for many situations. It can meet a broad set of requirements, ensuring individuals’ needs and unique learning styles are met, helps instructors effectively deliver information and makes training customizable. Role of Instructional Design Professionals As seamlessly as these teaching disciplines appear to sync up, moving from the online environment over to in-person and then sometimes back again, means the two disciplines must work in harmony. This demand for a synergistic approach, coupled with the pandemic and its seismic impact on education and training, moved the specialty area of instructional design and its supporting technologies to the forefront. Instructional design technologists, people who develop training for both online and blended learning environments, bring their expertise to a variety of settings, including the workplace, at school and in the world of nonprofits. You’ll find instructional designers with titles that include online instructor, e-learning consultant, corporate online trainer and professional development coordinator. Their salaries vary, as well, and are dependent on where the instructional designer does their work, their educational background and how long they’ve been in the field. According to Salary.com, the average salary for positions that require blended learning skills is $143,056/year, with some senior-level positions paying close to six figures, including an instructional designer making $87k/year and a learning and development specialist making $81k annually. (To learn more about career opportunities and average salaries, read A Career and Degree in Instructional Design.) Blended Learning Courses in Online Master of IDT Program If you’re an instructional designer who wants to grow your understanding of blended learning techniques — or if you want to better position yourself for a job in this growing and in-demand field — enrolling in a master’s program could be right for you. University of Cincinnati (UC) Online’s Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Instructional Design and Technology (IDT) is a well-rounded, interdisciplinary educational program that includes a mix of online and blended learning courses. It’s capturing students’ attention across the country because they can attend an accredited university and study online while working their day job. The fully online graduate program, which you can attend full- or part-time, taps into the diverse fields of cognitive science, education, design, information technology and computer science. When you graduate from UC Online’s IDT master’s program, you’ll be a more competent and confident content creator. With expertise in online and blended learning environments, you’ll be a highly marketable instructional technologist across many industries. Our world-class faculty, leaders in instructional design and technology, teach the 30 credit-hour program, with several courses that include an emphasis on blended learning: Universal Design for Learning – In this course, you study principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and how they are best used to design online and blended learning experiences. (UDL’s focus is on meeting the diverse needs of learners, including those who are accelerated and others who struggle.) Design of Blended and Online Learning Environments – Here, you work through the process of designing and developing successful online learning. You explore a variety of learning environments and learn how to effectively incorporate instructional models and strategies and digital media into the design process to create a complete instructional unit that promotes learner engagement and motivation. Applications and Issues of Teaching with Technology – Because technology is integral to an instructional designer’s work, our program exposes you to the increasingly complex array of digital media and technology-based resources used in blended and online environments. Here, you apply theory to practice to truly redefine lessons to enhance learning through technology, facilitation and other core skills needed to manage a technology-based class and troubleshoot technical problems. What IDT Program Students Have to Say About UC Online By now, we hope you’re more strongly considering the value of getting your M.Ed. in IDT degree. Before you click away from this article, we want you to hear from three IDT program students who agreed to let us tell you about their experiences. First there’s Alexander, who chose an instructional design career in education. He said, “Being in the IDT program at UC helped me build on my undergrad degree and opened so many doors for me that I never thought possible. Because of the UC IDT program, I now am working full-time and have a career where I know I am making an impact on thousands of students every year.” Mitchell’s involvement in the program expanded his career options. “The Instructional Design and Technology program granted me enormous freedom to pursue my interests with hands-on, project-based assignments,” he said. “This flexibility allowed me to tailor my work and resume according to my interests in the IDT field.” Emily, also working in education, had this to say about the program: “I am aware of so many schools in our area that for all intents and purposes virtually closed doors because instructors did not have the technology skills to make the conversion to online. I am very grateful for this program because I had the tools at the ready to make such a conversion at a moment’s notice.” Take the Next Step to Learn More Now that you know more about what we offer instructional design pros in our online graduate study program that you can complete in less than two years, studying full-time, why not connect with an enrollment advisor or call UC at 833-556-7600? You can ask our team about upcoming start dates, tuition assistance and our resources for active-duty service members, veterans and their dependents and whatever else is on your mind. Our IDT master’s program instructors and student support team look forward to helping you get more from your instructional design career!