What is Instructional Systems Design (ISD)?

In essence, ISD is a systematic way of designing learning materials and experiences to help people learn and perform better. ISD applies to a variety of contexts (K-12 and higher education, business, government, and healthcare), and to both face-to-face and online education.

ISD graduates are equipped with knowledge about how people learn, skills in designing effective instruction to achieve performance goals, and expertise in a suite of multimedia and e-learning tools such as Adobe, Camtasia, and game-based learning applications.

ISD is a promising field with an increasing demand. The U.S. Bureau of Labor projects a 10% increase in employment from 2020-2030. During the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020, Instructional Designer, a job title traditionally held by graduates from ISD programs, was regarded as the hottest job in higher education.

ISD graduates hold a variety of job titles such as instructional designer/coordinator, learning experience designer, distance learning/e-learning specialist, curriculum designer, training specialist, educational technologist, and director of educational technology.

Do I need a degree or experience in education to study ISD?

No. Our students and alumni come from a variety of backgrounds. Some are indeed teachers or college instructors who wish to update knowledge and skills in teaching and in designing/developing effective instruction for 21st century learners. Others are from business, medical, government, or military sectors who share a similar goal of improving workplace learningt for employees, patients, clients, or military personnel. Still others choose ISD for a career change to join the exciting world of e-learning, virtual learning, and instructional technology. If you are unsure about your background for studying ISD, feel free to contact Dr. Kun Huang at k.huang@nulluky.edu for a discussion.

What ISD programs are available?

Master of Science (M.S.) in Instructional Systems Design (100% online)

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Doctorate (Ed.D.) in Instruction and Administration (ISD emphasis)

The doctoral program is designed to prepare you for conducting research, teaching, managing instructional design/technology units, and assuming leadership roles in the field of instructional design and technology.

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Graduate Certificate in Distance Education (100% online)

If you are a schoolteacher or college instructor who wants to expand your teaching expertise to online education, or if you are looking to develop engaging online training for your organization, this fully online certificate program is designed for you. The certificate can be earned alone or concurrently as part of the Master’s program in Instructional Systems Design.

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State Authorization and Licensure

If you plan to complete a University of Kentucky online program while living outside of Kentucky, you should check the Out-of-State Students page to determine if the University of Kentucky is authorized to provide this program in your state of residence. If you plan to use the degree to seek licensure, you should also determine if the degree meets the educational requirements for licensure in your state.