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UMGC, USMx: Instructional Design and Technology: Learning Theories

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Explore the evolution of learning theories, from traditional behavior-based approaches to the emerging understanding of how social engagement can enhance the learning process.

Instructional Design and Technology: Learning Theories
8 weeks
8–10 hours per week
Instructor-led on a course schedule
Optional upgrade available

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Starts May 28
Ends Jul 22
Starts Jan 7, 2025
Ends Mar 4, 2025
Starts May 27, 2025
Ends Jul 22, 2025

About this course

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Technology, digital media, and mobile access have changed how people learn. Today’s students want to be engaged and self-directed with digital content, available anytime, anywhere. This is a challenge for instructional designers as they create online learning experiences.

In this course, you will step into the shoes of a learner and apply learning theories to your own personal experiences. You will explore various learning theories, examine related research, and practice applying these concepts to real-world problems you are interested in solving. Furthermore, you will learn about the trends and skills instructional designers use to analyze and solve instructional problems. You will gain a comprehensive understanding of how learning works and learn to employ well-researched principles to tackle complex and diverse challenges that individuals face in their personal and professional lives.

By the end of this course, you will be equipped with the knowledge and tools to start developing your own learning solution.

Previous background in teaching or professional development is a plus but not required. Join us and launch your career as an instructional designer.

This course is part of the Instructional Design and Technology MicroMaster’s program from UMGC. Upon completion of the program and receipt of the verified MicroMaster’s certificate, learners may then transition into the full UMGC Master’s Program in Learning Design and Technology. See the MicroMasters program page for more information.

At a glance

  • Institutions:


  • Subject: Education & Teacher Training
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Prerequisites:

    The program content and course projects are sequential, allowing the learner to build on subsequent work. Completing IDT100x is highly recommended before completing IDT200x-400x coursework. Basic experience in word processing and G Suite and a background in teaching, education, or professional development are helpful but not required.

  • Associated programs:
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Associated skills:Learning Design, Learning Sciences, Curriculum Development, Self-Discipline, Design And Technology, Instructional Design, Teaching, Taxonomy, Learning Theory, Constructivism, Digital Content, Research, Bloom's Taxonomy

What you'll learn

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Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Describe fundamental principles of learning theories, including behaviorism, cognitivism, constructivism, connectivism, and andragogy
  • Differentiate between learning theories and their implications for instructional design
  • Analyze the strengths and limitations of learning theories
  • Apply learning theories to a variety of contexts
  • Analyze learning experiences and instructional materials
  • Build an Instructional Design portfolio framework and showcase knowledge of learning theories
  • Identify a knowledge gap that can be addressed by creating a minicourse

Week 1: Introduction, Copyright, & the Creative Commons
Week 2: Learning Theory: Behaviorism
Week 3: Learning Theory: Cognitivism
Week 4: Learning Theory: Constructivism
Week 5: Learning Theory: Connectivism
Week 6: Learning Theory: Andragogy
Week 7: Assessment & Learning Models
Week 8: Microlearning and Signature Assignment Submission

Frequently Asked Questions

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How long does a student have to apply to and complete the full UMGC degree?

To ensure that your program remains relevant and up-to-date, UMGC sets time limits for completing a program. Students have five (5) consecutive years from the start of the graduate degree to complete their degree. For students who start with a MicroMasters, their “time clock” begins on the date that they complete their last course in the MicroMasters program and receive their Verified Certificate. This means that students should apply to UMGC promptly to begin the degree and have as much time as possible to complete it.

Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners residing in one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. edX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.

This course is part of Instructional Design and Technology MicroMasters Program

Learn more 
Expert instruction
4 graduate-level courses
Assignments and exams have specific due dates
8 months
8 - 10 hours per week

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