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Doctor of Philosophy in Instructional Design
Create effective learning pathways with the 100% online Doctor of Philosophy in Instructional Design (PhD-ID) degree program at National University. This degree will help you gain practical, hands-on experience working with subject matter experts, managing complex projects, and carrying out research projects. You’ll have the skills you need to shape learning environments and contribute to the overall body of knowledge in the field of instructional design.
NU’s PhD-ID program is centered on helping you develop advanced skills and knowledge related to the learning experience and instructional design. This program aligns with instructional design competencies established by the International Board of Standards for Training, Performance and Improvement©, the Association for Talent Development, and the Association for Educational Communication and Technology.
Research, Shape, and Influence Learning
Learn how to evaluate design processes, explore the design and development of simulations, games, and mobile learning, and contribute to the body of knowledge through research. NU’s one-to-one learning model will provide you with the guidance, attention, and support you deserve throughout your education.
Please be advised that this program is NOT accredited in Kentucky by the Education Professional Standards Board and is NOT recognized for initial, additional, or renewal of certification or salary enhancement (rank change) for P-12 educators in Kentucky. For more information, please visit the Education Professional Standards Board’s website at http://www.epsb.ky.gov/mod/page/view.php?id=12.
The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accredits public and private schools, colleges, and universities in the U.S.
- Credit Hours: 60
- Courses: 20
- Estimated Time to Complete: As few as 37 Months
The Doctor of Philosophy in Instructional Design (PhD-ID) program can be completed in 60 credits. Each foundational course runs 8 weeks, and some dissertation courses run 12 weeks.
This program can be completed with a minimum of 60 credit hours, but may require additional credit hours, depending on the time required to complete the dissertation research. If needed, additional courses will be added to the student degree program in alignment with the SAP and Academic Maximum Time to Completion policies. Students who do not complete their program in accordance with these policies may be dismissed.
This foundational course will introduce you to the concepts and practices of advanced graduate study. You will examine concepts and expectations of advanced graduate study and academic integrity as well as investigate best practices of scholarship and research. You will explore university resources and supports associated with student success, including technologies for learning and research. You will also evaluate the program process and requirements for success. Finally, you will advocate for self-care and reflection during your studies.
Academic writing is at the heart of scholarly writing. How you explore and navigate your topic of interest is both a personal and professional matter. In this course, you will integrate effective research and writing skills, and evaluate standards of academic writing, honesty, and integrity. Literature and writing are closely related, so this course also offers you a first chance to examine the elements of conceptual and theoretical frameworks and critique the role of supporting literature and inquiry with conceptual and theoretical frameworks. Finally, you will synthesize the frameworks commonly used in educational research.
This course builds on your foundational knowledge of instructional design with advanced practice. You will recommend instructional and training solutions based on existing assessment and evaluation data, formulate procedures for collaborative design projects with diverse stakeholders, and categorize legal, ethical, and political influences on the design of contemporary instructional and training solutions. You will develop instructional materials, including multimedia learning assets that comply with professional practice of instructional design and development.
Theories are foundational to scholarly inquiry, and many theories impact the design and development of instructional and training solutions. In this course, you will dig deeper into relevant theories and hone your ability to both recognize the theoretical influences of existing solutions as well as select the appropriate theoretical foundation for new solutions. You will practice defending your design recommendations with consideration for the ethical, legal, and political factors that might influence the application of theory within the design and development of instructional and training solutions.
This course offers foundational knowledge to become a critical consumer of statistical- based research literature as well as develop the necessary skillset for non-inferential quantitative analyses. The emphasis will be on understanding multivariate data, non-inferential and inferential statistical concepts, the conventions of quantitative data analysis, interpretation and critical inferences from statistical results. Statistical computations will be completed using statistical software applications for quantitative data analysis. The course culminates in a synthesis project to demonstrate statistical skills and aligned with APA guidelines for presentation of statistical results.
This course will support your development of collaboration skills necessary in design and developing instructional and training solutions. You will also cultivate collaboration in the diverse stakeholders for the projects you are managing, including recommending the allocation of resources and estimating the return on investment. The course will continue your exploration of ethical, legal, and political considerations in project management and collaboration.
Design is iterative and should include feedback. This course will help you to hone your skills in securing such feedback – through evaluating both the processes and products of instructional design and development. You will examine relevant principles and theories of evaluation, conduct evaluations, and interpret the results of evaluations for diverse stakeholders. As you learn more about evaluating design processes and products, you will reflect on the ethical, legal, and political implications of evaluation.
In this course, you will explore the design and development of simulations, games, and mobile learning. You will critique game theory and its relevance to the design of instructional and training solutions. You will also evaluate platforms for the design and delivery of gaming solutions as well as simulations and mobile learning. Based on this work, you will measure the effectiveness of such designs for various learning contexts and audiences. Finally, you will develop learning assets based on games, simulations, and mobile learning and share those assets in your portfolio.
In this introductory research course, you will explore the underpinnings of the research process, examine research paradigms, and investigate theoretical and practical foundations of qualitative and quantitative research methodologies used within educational research. You will identify criteria for the development of a quality research study that is ethical, accurate, comprehensive, cohesive, and aligned. Specific course topics will involve the ethics of conducting research; data collection and analysis techniques; and issues of feasibility, trustworthiness, validity, reliability, generalizability or transferability, and rigor. This course is intended to familiarize you with concepts and skills associated with conducting theoretical and applied research.
Innovation is more than just doing things differently. In this course, you will determine the characteristics of innovation and specify what constitutes innovation across different learning experiences. Different contexts will be at different stages and levels of complexity within learning experience design, so what is innovative for one context may be routine in another context. As you learn about innovation, you will be able to predict the application of emerging processes and tools on innovation in the learning sciences and recommend opportunities for innovation within specific learning experiences.
You will develop effective search and scholarly writing strategies to create a scholarly review of literature. The course emphasizes how to: (a) use effective literature search strategies; (b) develop a scholarly synthesis of research literature; (c) organize research literature around identified research themes, including a study problem, purpose, and theoretical perspectives for an empirical research study; and (d) focus on developing a scholarly exposition that reflects divergent viewpoints and contrasting perspectives. The overarching goal of this course is for you to understand strategies to survey scholarly empirical and theoretical literature to avoid bias, focus on educational practice-based research problems, and address the required components of a scholarly literature review.
In this course, you will explore special considerations in the practice and research of instructional design and development. Such considerations include emerging models, theories, and technologies that can be applied to the design and delivery of instructional and training solutions for unique learning needs, contexts, and stakeholders. You will continue your examination of the ethical, legal, and political implications of these special considerations.
This course focuses on qualitative research methodology and designs and the methods used to collect and analyze data in educational research. You will examine the principles of qualitative research and explore commonly used designs (also referred to as qualitative traditions or genres) with a focus on application and feasibility. Qualitative data collection and analysis methods will be examined for their suitability with regard to the research design selected. Alignment between qualitative designs and research methods, issues of trustworthiness pertaining to qualitative research, and the role and responsibilities of the qualitative researcher will also be explored.
This course explores the quantitative research methodology and associated designs and methods. You will examine paradigmatic perspectives along with the tenets and conventions of quantitative research. This examination of designs and methods will include topics such as feasibility, validity, reliability, variable operationalization, inferential designs, and analytic software applications used within the quantitative research paradigm. You will also explore the components of aligned and coherent quantitative research designs that support meaningful research within the field of education.
You will learn advanced statistical principles and how to apply them to quantitative research. You will be provided an overview of advanced statistical concepts used in empirical research, including inferential analyses. Advanced computations will be performed using SPSS. The focus involves helping you build independent scholarly skills with an emphasis on understanding multivariate data; the use, comprehension, and evaluation of sophisticated statistical concepts; and presentation of statistical results.
This course builds on a foundational understanding of qualitative designs and measurements to focus on analyses of the data. The course takes you deeper into the skills and techniques necessary to ensure the appropriate analyses of qualitative data, including integrating relevant frameworks, verifying trustworthiness of the findings, and selecting suitable methods to present the analyses and findings.
Prerequisites: Completed all foundational, research, and specialization courses as required by program.
The doctoral comprehensive assessment in your Ph.D.-ID is your opportunity to demonstrate your preparation for entering the dissertation phase as a doctoral candidate. Throughout this course, you will synthesize discipline-specific content with scholarly literature as you create a prospectus for a theoretically based research study focused on furthering knowledge in the field of education. Ph.D.-ID research has a focus on contribution to theory, whereas Ed.D.-ID research focuses on addressing a researchable problem that has practical applications. The two are similar in that they both apply the scientific method to collect data, analyze data, and present results. However, the results are given greater emphasis in terms of theory for the Ph.D.-ID In the Ph.D.-ID degree, you will therefore conduct research that contributes to the broader discipline rather than a specific problem rooted in an applied, professional practice. This prospectus will likely become the foundation of your Ph.D.-ID dissertation. Note that you will take this course only after all foundation, specialization, and research courses have been completed.
Students in this course will be required to complete Chapter 1 of their dissertation proposal including a review of literature with substantiating evidence of the problem, the research purpose and questions, the intended methodological design and approach, and the significance of the study. A completed, committee approved (against the minimum rubric standards) Chapter 1 is required to pass this course successfully. Students who do not receive approval of Chapter 1 to minimum standards will be able to take up to three supplementary 8-week courses to finalize and gain approval of Chapter 1.
Students in this course will be required to work on completing Chapters 1-3 of their dissertation proposal and receive committee approval for the Dissertation Proposal (DP) in order to pass the class. Chapter 2 consists of the literature review. Chapter 3 covers the research methodology method and design and to includes population, sample, measurement instruments, data collection and analysis, limitations, and ethical considerations. In this course, a completed, committee-approved Chapters 2 and 3 are required and, by the end of the course, a final approved dissertation proposal (against the minimum rubric standards). Students who do not receive approval of the dissertation proposal will be able to take up to three supplementary 8-week courses to finalize and gain approval of these requirements.
Students in this course will be required to prepare, submit, and obtain approval of their IRB application, collect data, and submit a final study closure form to the IRB. Students still in data collection at the end of the 12-week course will be able to take up to three supplementary 8-week courses to complete data collection and file an IRB study closure form.
In this dissertation course students work on completing Chapters 4 and 5 and the final Dissertation Manuscript. Specifically, students will complete their data analysis, prepare their study results, and present their findings in an Oral Defense and a completed manuscript. A completed, Committee approved (against the minimum rubric standards) Dissertation Manuscript and successful Oral Defense are required to complete the course and graduate. Students who do not receive approval for either or both their Dissertation Manuscript or defense can take up to three supplementary 8-week courses to finalize and gain approval of either or both items as needed.
The PhD Program may be completed in 60 semester credit hours. Additional credit hours may be allowed as needed to complete dissertation research in alignment with the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) and Academic Maximum Time Frame policies. Students who do not complete their program within these requirements may be dismissed.
NU may accept a maximum of 12 semester credit hours in transfer toward the doctoral degree for graduate coursework completed toward a doctoral degree at an accredited college or university with a grade of “B” or better. Transfer credit is only awarded for coursework that is evaluated to be substantially equivalent in content with the required coursework for the PhD program. See the Transfer Credit Policy in the Course Catalog for additional information.
- Instructional Coordinators
- Instructional Designers and Technologists
- Training and Development Managers
- Education Administrators, Elementary and Secondary School
- Education Administrators, Postsecondary
- Education Administrators, All Other
- Distance Learning Coordinators
- Training and Development Specialists
- Education Teachers, Postsecondary
- Postsecondary Teachers, All Other
*Positions may require additional experience, training, and other factors beyond successfully completing this degree program. Depending on where you reside, many positions may also require state licensure, and it is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all licensure requirements are met. We encourage you to also review program specific requirements with an NU advisor. Any data provided on this page is for informational purposes only and does not guarantee that completion of any degree program will achieve the underlying occupation or commensurate salary.
Faculty assists each NU Doctoral student to reach this high goal through a systematic process leading to a high-quality completed dissertation. A PhD dissertation is a scholarly documentation of research that makes an original contribution to the field of study. This process requires care in choosing a topic, documenting its importance, planning the methodology, and conducting the research. These activities lead smoothly into the writing and oral presentation of the dissertation.
A doctoral candidate must be continuously enrolled throughout the series of dissertation courses. Dissertation courses are automatically scheduled and accepted without a break in scheduling to ensure that students remain in continuous enrollment throughout the dissertation course sequence. If additional time is required to complete any of the dissertation courses, students must re-enroll and pay the tuition for that course. Continuous enrollment will only be permitted when students demonstrate progress toward completing dissertation requirements. The Dissertation Committee determines progress.
As a graduate of National University’s Doctor of Philosophy in Instructional Design (PhD-ID) program, you’ll be able to:
- Support collaboration among diverse stakeholders invested in complex design processes and products
- Synthesize different principles, theories, and analyses for design projects
- Construct strategies to address ethical, legal, and political factors influencing design and development solutions
- Contribute to the theoretical body of knowledge in instructional design
National University’s dedicated admissions team is here to help you throughout the admissions process. We accept and review applications year-round, and once you’re admitted, you can begin your studies as soon as the next week.
To apply to the Doctor of Philosophy in Instructional Design (PhD-ID) you must have a conferred graduate degree from a regionally accredited academic institution or a qualifying international institution.
Questions? Call our admissions team at 866.776.0331 or request information, and an advisor will be in touch soon. Ready to apply? Start your NU application today.
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