Programs and Courses for the Instructional Designer

The OLC Center for Professional Learning  offers a variety of online courses and programs for instructional designers that can help you develop and advance your instructional design and course development skills in the online environment.

PLEASE NOTE: To register for any of the below offerings, go to the CPL Schedule page and use the “Search” area to find the offering you are interested in.

List of programs and courses:

  • Instructional Designer Certificate Program 
  • Advanced Instructional Designer Certificate Program
  • Data Stories: An Introduction to Data Visualization 
  • Getting Started with Research
  • Project Management for Instructional Designers
  • Applying the Neuro, Cognitive, and Learning Sciences to Instructional Design

Instructional Design-Themed Certificate Programs:

INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN CERTIFICATE PROGRAMThe Instructional Designer Certificate Program 
The goal of the Instructional Designer Certificate Program is to help current instructional designers build or refine their skills in working with faculty during the course design and development process. Throughout the four 4-week courses, you will learn strategies and gain resources for guiding faculty through the course design/development process, analyze learning/instructional theories and instructional methods, assess needs for online course resources, identify ways to stay current with emerging best practices, and become qualified in applying the OSCQR rubric and process.

The courses in this program can be taken together for the overall digital badge, or taken as separate professional development offerings. The four courses part of this program include:

  • Professional Foundations: Researching, Collaborating, and Networking (ID1)
  • Helping Faculty with New Course Development (ID2)
  • Curating and Evaluating Resources for Faculty (ID3)
  • Course Quality Review (OSCQR) (ID4)


INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN - MASTERY SERIESThe Advanced Instructional Designer Certificate Program* 
*Note that this program will be available for registration in the fall of 2023.
This program challenges instructional designers who have worked in the field for several years to enhance and strengthen their learning design and management skills! Upon completion, participants will leave with new knowledge they can apply to their work as instructional designers and an artifact showcasing their skills that are personalized to their own unique situations.

The program is comprised of three phases:

  • Phase 1: Core Courses
  • Phase 2: Electives
  • Phase 3: Capstone

During phase one, participants will begin by learning strategies for improving their project management skills to successfully contribute to the success of a project and provide leadership throughout the process, and also dive deeper into the neuro, cognitive, and learning sciences and how these principles can be applied in an instructional design context. During phase two, the elective phase, participants will select workshops on specific topics that they wish to learn more about. The final phase will allow participants to show what they have learned by creating an artifact that they can use in their roles, with the opportunity for a peer review by their fellow cohort members.

Prerequisite RequirementPlease note that to participate in this program, eligible participants must have either completed the OLC Instructional Designer Certificate Program OR worked at least 3 years in an instructional design capacity.


Instructional Design-Themed Courses:

Data Visualization - Storytelling with Data - Infographics-01Data Stories: An Introduction to Data Visualization
Presenting data visually enables us not only to explore and identify patterns in the data but also to analyze and make sense of those patterns and communicate our findings. This will be a hands-on, project-based course in which you will apply key data visualization strategies to various data sets to tell specific data stories using Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. 


Research Methods for the Instructional Designer Community-01Getting Started with Research 
Have you ever wanted to conduct research to answer key questions in your work (i.e., does this learning technology or teaching strategy impact student learning?), but didn’t know how to get started? This four-week course will provide you with the building blocks to uncover prior research, apply prior research to your areas of interest, create effective research questions, collect data using a variety of approaches, and analyze information you collect in a way that is useful for your audience. During this course you will have the opportunity to apply what you are learning each step of the way, building a mini-study to get hands-on experience conducting research..


Project Management for Instructional DesignersProject Management for Instructional Designers  

Project management skills are essential for instructional designers to ensure project success and to provide leadership throughout the process. This course introduces you to the life cycle of a project, from concept to completion and evaluation, including strategies for working successfully within a team environment to achieve project goals. Upon completion of this course, you will have developed key skills in project management by exploring best practices, tools, and techniques associated with process groups and knowledge areas. Additionally, participants will be able to utilize skills and strategies that can be adapted to the needs of a variety of projects.

While this course is targeted towards instructional designers, it is relevant to anyone working in eLearning who manages or contributes to projects in the field of online learning.


Neuro Cognitive & Learning SciencesApplying the Neuro, Cognitive, and Learning Sciences to Instructional Design

This course provides instructional designers and eLearning professionals with an introduction to the neuro, cognitive, and learning sciences and how they can be applied to instructional design. Throughout the course, participants will discuss the connection between instructional design and cognitive load, and explore strategies for aligning course content, activities, and assignments with principles from the neuro, cognitive, and learning sciences. Participants will also examine methods for applying theory to practice, including formative and summative assessment, multi-modality feedback, metacognitive skills, and real-world transfer. At the conclusion of the course, participants will have redesigned a current or planned course, workshop, or program using the principles of the neuro, cognitive, and learning sciences learned in each week of the course.

This course is aimed at the instructional designer or those involved in course development who are interested in applying the learning sciences to instructional design.


Still not sure which program is right for you? Contact and one of our staff members will help you choose.


“Robust and well designed, the content and activities I experienced in the OLC/SUNY Instructional Designer Certificate Program continue to benefit me in practical ways every day on the job.”

Flower Darby, Senior Instructional Designer and Adjunct Faculty, Northern Arizona University (ID Certificate)