The students in Keya Mukherjee's Advanced Instructional Design class are all professionals working in a wide variety of fields.

One student, for example, works in the hospitality industry.

To complete an assignment to develop a prototype instructional product, she created a cross-cultural dining etiquette training course to help corporate executives understand the dining protocols of different cultures when conducting business internationally.

Another of Dr. Mukherjee's students is employed in the telecommunications industry. He developed a training course to assist salespeople in local wireless stores better serve customers and increase their sales.

Ever since Saint Leo began offering an online master of science degree program in instructional design in 2007, students have appreciated the numerous opportunities it provides to develop a professional portfolio of work – training materials and courses that provide real-world solutions to learning needs that they can show future employers. Starting with their first class, students are exposed to designing instruction for performance problems associated with their current workplace.

The university's School of Education & Social Services is now taking the graduate program to a new level that will further increase students' marketability on a global scale.

Program adopts high-quality international standards.

Last year, Assistant Professor Dr. Mukherjee, who serves as the instructional design program administrator, and then Director of Graduate Education Dr. Karen Hahn spearheaded the school's decision to adopt the rigorous international standards for course content that are promoted by the International Board of Standards for Training, Performance and Instruction (ibstpi®).

Established in 1977, ibstpi has been developing and promoting high standards that have been used to guide the practices of instructional designers for more than three decades.

The move makes Saint Leo part of a growing global community of organizations that use ibstpi's validated set of standards to guide their practices. These organizations represent a wide variety of fields, including higher education, business and industry, government and military, and a variety of other instructional and educational institutions, organizations, and consultancies around the world.

Move strengthens graduates' employability.

"We decided to adopt ibstpi's standards because they are the result of a rigorous research process, development, international validation, and publication," said Dr. Hahn.

"In addition, Saint Leo is committed to being an institution of 'international' consequence – so ibstpi's standards were a good fit for our overall mission."

"We adopted these standards not because we had to, but because we wanted to provide our students with the opportunity to gain the knowledge that would most importantly prepare them for their future success as instructional designers in the workplace," said Dr. Mukherjee.

"Because our curriculum adheres to ibstpi standards, hiring managers can be confident that our graduates have the skills and knowledge needed to meet expectations of companies and organization both in the United States and in other countries."

New instructional design courses developed.

To ensure that Saint Leo's instructional design curriculum would meet ibstpi standards, faculty developed three new courses – in addition to the array of existing high-quality and relevant coursework in the field – which will be offered as part of the program beginning with the Fall 2013 term.

  • Human Perspectives in Instructional Design
    Explores the human dimension in instruction and learning through investigation of learning theories. How can instructional designers become active listeners, effective communicators, and successful collaborators in order to increase their empathic course development? Students also learn how to accommodate for diversity while incorporating ethics and values.

  • Project Management in Instructional Design
    Focuses on the project management skills required of instructional designers working in all types of environments. Students learn about project initiation, planning, execution and closeout while focusing on communication and decision-making throughout the process.

  • Graphics and Design Concepts
    Students learn how to use design principles to develop instructional graphics for online learning, as well as practical methods to apply to instructional interactions to motivate learners. This is the first of three technology courses students take in the program.

Program relevant for international students.

According to Dr. Mukherjee, adoption of these international standards ensures that graduates of Saint Leo's master's program in instructional design are prepared for global opportunities in the instructional design field.

In addition, it also ensures international students that they will find training at Saint Leo to be relevant for their careers.

"Instructional designers around the world are finding themselves working in wide variety of fields – corporations, non-profits, government, higher education, and the military – that are steeped in rapidly changing and emerging technologies and techniques.

"Saint Leo's graduate program in instructional design can ensure that they are well prepared no matter what field they practice in and regardless of where in the world they live or work."

Are you interested instructional design? What field would you like to work in?

Other posts you may be interested in reading:

Do Graduate Degrees Pay Off?

Grads Share Secret To Success In Online Degree Programs

Image Credit: Giulia Forsythe on Flickr/Creative Commons