Performance Improvement Leadership EdD - Doctor of Education

Doctor of Education

Improve the Quality of Education

As an education professional, you understand the importance of great educators and administrators. A Capella University online Doctor of Education (EdD), Performance Improvement Leadership degree can help you evaluate human performance interventions to establish benchmarks for success. This specialization is designed to help prepare you for leadership roles such as chief learning officer, training director, professor, performance improvement specialist, or manager of learning and performance improvement. Lead with a broader understanding of applying research to develop strategies that improve the quality of education in a K-12, higher education, or corporate setting.

At a Glance

  • Online
  • 16 courses
  • Capstone

Classes Start September 14th

Ready to get started? We’re ready for you. Chat with an enrollment counselor or apply now to take the first step on the journey toward your future.

We’ve decided to waive all application fees until further notice.

EdD program highlights

Reduce your tuition by 30%

Enroll in an eligible program and apply for our Front Line Heroes Discount to save 30% on your doctoral degree.

Apply now »

Capstone with focus on real-world impact

A doctoral project provides the opportunity for you to apply action research to solve a real problem in your field.

Earn certification in ROI Methodology™

This specialization offers an opportunity to earn a valuable certification in ROI Methodology™ from the ROI Institute™.

Assess human performance systems

Develop advanced, innovative skills that can help you optimize performance and maintain efficiency.

Drive performance improvement

Select and design interventions that can help improve performance and increase workforce efficacy.

Designed for professional impact

This program is designed around International Society for Performance Improvement and the Association for Talent Development competency model.

Faculty & support

You’re never going it alone at Capella. Our dedicated faculty and support teams are waiting to guide, help, and advise you through every step of your educational journey.

Enrollment counselors

These experts will set you up for success. They’ll help you find the right degree and program, and answer all your questions about Capella.


Our courses are taught by distinguished faculty members who hold top credentials and have hands-on expertise in their fields. They know what you need to know today.

Writing support

Sharpen your writing skills with our free tutoring services and other resources.

Doctoral advising

Doctoral programs are specific and challenging. That’s why you’ll have access to expert support at every step along the road to your degree.

25 years of online doctoral experience

With over 25 years of experience in online doctoral education, we understand the unique needs of doctoral students, and have designed our programs to meet those needs. We've structured our programs to help you reach your goals and obtain critical skills—with our expert faculty, support teams, and online resources to help guide you every step of the way.

“Using Capella’s online platform as an adult learner, I was able to get a different perspective. It put me in the student’s seat, which is very valuable as we investigate ways to transform our district technologically.”

Read more about Jennifer »

Jennifer Hernandez*
Doctor of Education
*Actual Capella student who agreed to appear in our promotional materials.

Cost & learning format

Online education isn’t one-size-fits-all. We know you’re busy—you need a learning experience tailored to your life, not the other way around. Capella has learning and tuition formats to suit you, however you learn. 

A more structured learning format with an active peer community and faculty guidance. We’ll set the schedule, you meet the deadlines. 

  • Based on the quarter system; 1-3 courses per 10-week quarter
  • 1 semester credit = 1.5 quarter credits
  • Weekly assignments and courseroom discussions
  • Pay for what you take, price varies by courseload or term
$745 per credit, 64 total quarter credits, 0 max transfer credits

Get the details

Speak with an enrollment counselor to get a personalized cost estimate for what you can expect to pay.

Accredited & recognized

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Accreditation and recognitions provide the assurance we meet standards for quality of faculty, curriculum, learner services, and fiscal stability. See all of our accreditations and recognitions

Ways to save

At Capella, we believe your education is an investment in your future. It’s also an investment within your grasp. Your goals are achievable—there are more ways to save than you might think. 


There are a variety of need-based federal grants available to help pay for tuition and costs.

$20K toward your doctorate

Apply for a $20K Capella Progress Reward, a scholarship to help you fund your doctoral degree.

Federal work study

Part-time jobs sponsored by the U.S. government are available to help you reduce loan debt.

Sample courses

Throughout our EdD, Performance Improvement Leadership program, you’ll broaden and deepen your understanding of strategic and tactical issues that are important to the success of any performance improvement intervention.

Foundational coursework

Core coursework will help lay the foundation for your entire program, with a focus on research, critical thinking, and setting you up for success as a doctoral student.

Capstone: doctoral project

The culminating project of the entire program, the capstone focuses on applied research to solve a specific organizational problem, improve outcomes, or resolve a gap in the field.

Show course with description
Introduction to Training and Performance Systems

This course is an overview of training and human performance improvement (HPI). Learners review the evolution of HPI through the introduction of associated theories, concepts, and processes. Learners experience the power and value of HPI in organizations by reviewing and assessing real-world projects that include business, performance, gap and cause analyses, intervention selection and implementation, and change and evaluation plans.  Prerequisite(s): ED5010 or EDD8010 or HRM5002.  Cannot be fulfilled by prior learning assessment.

4 quarter credits
Needs Assessment: Models and Procedures

This course is a survey of the needs assessment models and procedures used to diagnose the causes of organizational performance problems. Learners design and develop needs assessment instruments and collect and analyze data to differentiate organizationalperformance issues that require training solutions from those that require non-training interventions.  Cannot be fulfilled by prior learning assessment.

4 quarter credits
EDD8534 *
Designing, Delivering, and Managing Human Performance Improvement Interventions

In this course, learners design effective solutions to resolve human performance problems in organizations. Learners apply the procedure and tools needed to select, design, and evaluate interventions to improve performance. The design and delivery process incorporates both training and non-training interventions, including electronic approaches. Prerequisite(s): ED7631, ED7641.  Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
EDD8536 *
Implementing and Sustaining Organizational Change

Learners in this course are immersed in the professional literature to provide the knowledge and skills needed to manage and control changes designed to improve organizational performance. The course is designed to prepare learners to initiate a planning process that includes the process, tools, and techniques to manage the people side of change to achieve the required business outcome.  Prerequisite(s): EDD8534.  Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
EDD8538 *
Evaluation of Human Performance Improvement Interventions

In this course, learners evaluate human performance improvement interventions to determine if they were efficient, effective, and led to improved workplace and organizational performance. Learners acquire skills to resolve evaluation design issues, select appropriate data collection and analysis methods, and overcome evaluation implementation issues such as using technology, communicating results, gaining management support, and sustaining the evaluation process.  Prerequisite(s): EDD8536.  Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits

What you’ll learn

The right education can change everything. Gain leadership skills that can help you influence and improve education.

  • Assess human performance systems.
  • Select and design interventions to improve performance.
  • Implement human performance interventions.
  • Evaluate effectiveness of human improvement interventions.
  • Lead performance improvement processes/initiatives.
  • Support training and performance improvement in the workplace.

Performance Improvement Leadership career insights

Doctor of Education: Exploring the Possibilities

Explore eight EdD possibilities that can help you transform your skills in education leadership.

Quick Guide to EdS, EdD, and PhD Degrees

Compare advanced degree options for K-12 educators, including Doctor of Education and Education Specialist degrees.

Capella EdD Graduate Turns Classroom Concepts into TEDx Talk

Once an avid TED talk viewer, Capella EdD graduate Jeffery Huston became a TEDx presenter, sharing his passion in systems thinking.

Move forward in your career

Here are just some of the career options you could explore with our online EdD in Performance Improvement Leadership degree.

Related job titles to explore*

  • Training manager
  • Development manager
  • Learning manager
  • Training director
  • Director of staff development
  • Consultant
  • Full-time faculty of education courses

Employment settings to explore

  • Corporation
  • Health care
  • Nonprofit organization
  • P-12 education (organizational performance)
  • Land-based or online college or university
  • Military
  • Government – local, state, federal

*These are examples intended to serve as a general guide. Some positions may prefer or even require previous experience, licensure, certifications, and/or other designations along with a degree. Because many factors determine what position an individual may attain, Capella cannot guarantee that a graduate will secure any specific job title, a promotion, salary increase, or other career outcome. We encourage you to research requirements for your job target and career goals.

Other programs to explore

Is this program close to what you need, but maybe not a perfect fit? The programs below might be interesting. Check them out to find one that suits your academic and professional goals.

Ready for the next step?

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