Courses Instructional Design for Online Learning

Master of Science in Education

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Core courses:

Foundations of Master’s Studies in Education

This course provides learners with opportunities to acquire and use graduate-level skills, including the ability to critically examine and apply relevant educational theory to professional practice. Learners develop expertise in scholarly writing as well as explore the importance of multicultural perspectives and diversity in professional contexts. Finally, learners articulate and examine their professional purpose and its alignment with their specialization and career aspirations. Must be taken during the first quarter by learners who have been admitted to the MEd in Teaching and Learning, MS in Education, MS in Education Innovation and Technology, and MS in Higher Education degree programs and the Adult Education and Higher Education Leadership and Administration graduate certificate programs. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer or credit for prior learning.

4 quarter credits
Survey of Research Methodology

This course is an overview of graduate research methodology. Learners examine fundamental research methodologies and their respective quantitative and qualitative approaches to rigorous scholarly inquiry.

4 quarter credits

Specialization courses: 

Principles of Instructional Design

Learners develop professional skills and competencies pertaining to instructional design process, theories, and strategies. Learners evaluate the decisions that instructional designers make, the principles and concepts that drive those decisions, and the ways the decisions are interrelated. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer or credit for prior learning.

4 quarter credits
ED5803 *
Processes of Instructional Design

This course emphasizes the process of instructional design and provides learners the opportunity to apply design research and theory while developing instructional strategies. Learners examine the systematic process of addressing the needs of the student, structuring the content, and applying principles of learning and instruction to create effective instructional solutions. Prerequisite(s): ED5802. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer or credit for prior learning.

4 quarter credits
Design of Instructional Media

Learners in this course examine instructional design skills and competencies including budgeting, communication, project management, program evaluation, and legal and ethical issues. Learners design theory-based instructional solutions and plan the design of instructional components using various forms of instructional media and technologies.

4 quarter credits
Project Management for e-Learning Development

This course presents project management topics, techniques, media strategies, and ethical standards specific to e-learning development. Learners identify and apply the tools, methods, and processes used to effectively budget, implement, and manage e-learning development projects.

4 quarter credits
Instructional Design for Online Learning Capstone

The capstone course is taken after completing all required and elective coursework. Learners demonstrate proficiency in integrating learning from required and elective courses by completing a final project. For MS Instructional Design for Online Learning learners only. Must be taken during the learner’s final quarter. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer or credit for prior learning.

4 quarter credits
ED6484 *
Application of Learning Theories to Instructional Design

This course presents theories of learning and instruction providing empirical guidance for designing effective instructional solutions that target specific learning outcomes. Learners engage in a variety of readings, activities, discussions, and assignments to further develop an understanding of the foundational theories of learning and instruction and their applications to instructional design. Prerequisite(s): ED5802, ED5803. Cannot be fulfilled by credit for prior learning.

4 quarter credits
Instructional Design Technologies

In this course, learners apply theories and principles of instructional design and cognitive learning utilizing instructional media strategies. Learners also identify ethical, legal, and political implications of the design in the workplace. Finally, learners examine software tools that developers and instructional designers use to create innovative e-learning experiences. Cannot be fulfilled by credit for prior learning.

4 quarter credits
ED6505 *
Evaluation and Assessment of Instructional Design

In this course, learners examine tools, methods and practices used to assess learning. Learners also analyze methods and models of evaluation of instruction. In addition, learners practice designing new assessment tools and integrating assessment results in the evaluation process. Prerequisite(s): ED5802, ED5803. Cannot be fulfilled by credit for prior learning.

4 quarter credits



Two Elective Courses



At least 8 quarter credits

Recommended elective courses:

Theory and Methods of Educating Adults

In this course, learners study adult learning theory and learning styles and preferences. Course topics include adult education theories, principles of adult learning, and methodology for best practice in adult education. Learners also reflect on their personal educational philosophy and practice. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer or credit for prior learning.

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 organizational performance issues that require training solutions from those that require non-training interventions. Cannot be fulfilled by credit for prior learning.

4 quarter credits


Choose any graduate course(s).






At least 48 quarter credits

* Denotes courses that have prerequisite(s). Refer to the descriptions for further details.

Learners who do not complete all program requirements within quarter credit/program point minimums will be required to accrue such additional quarter credits/program points as are associated with any additional or repeat coursework necessary for successful completion of program requirements.

This specialization is not designed to lead to license, endorsement, other professional credential, or salary advancement. Contact your school district for a determination on qualifications for salary advancement.

What can I expect?

Each unit consists of readings, discussions, and other activities you will be expected to complete throughout the week. Assignments are due on Sundays, though not every course requires an assignment each week.

In each course, you will receive a detailed scoring guide that describes expectations for every graded assignment.

Grades are based on your participation in weekly reading discussions and completion of assignments. You will also be assessed on your ability to demonstrate an understanding of expected outcomes for your program or specialization. These outcomes are based on the needs and performance standards of your field or discipline.

Learn more about online learning at Capella.

Transfer Credits

There are many ways to reduce tuition costs, including transferring credits which may help save time and money. You can transfer up to 12 credits into this program.

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Take an individual course

Whether you're completing additional credits for your own education, want to see if online learning is right for you, or are simply interested in a specific topic, you can enroll in many of Capella's online courses without committing to a degree program. We recommend speaking with an enrollment counselor to discuss your goals and ensure that the credits you earn now may be applicable to a Capella degree program.

Learn more about individual courses.

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