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13 Best Instructional Design Courses in 2023 [Free & Paid]

13 Best Instructional Design Courses in 2023 [Free & Paid]

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If you search for the 'hottest online jobs', you will find Instructional Designer on top of the list. That is because Instructional design (ID) as a field shapes all the other professional jobs. ID does everything from designing a system to developing materials and assessing their effectiveness. It maps out the learning materials, teaching people the necessary skills to fulfill their tasks. Therefore, it is no surprise that a lot of people these days are looking for the best instructional design courses to join in this race.

❗❗❗ Read also: How To Become An Instructional Designer?

Free Online Instructional Design Courses

Learning to Teach Online

Instructional design courses: Learning to teach online, Coursera.

This beginner-friendly course is on Coursera in collaboration with the University of New South Wales, Sydney, for free. However, one can add a certificate to add to their resumes just for USD 49 (for those unable to afford it, financial aid is also available). The course content focuses on educational technology and online teaching strategies intending to help aspiring educators get a grip on online teaching.

The course spans a total of 18 hours of asynchronous learning, which makes it short and manageable for busy professionals with their 9-to-5 working hours. Divided into 5 weeklong sessions, each session comes with case studies, assignments, and quizzes to ensure engaging learning.

Here is what one student had to say about the course:

I have found the course to be interesting with plenty of valuable information provided as part of the course and through interaction with fellow teachers and trainers from a wide range of disciplines.

- PM (Mar 31, 2021).

Learning Design Basic: Pedagogy into Practice

Learning design basics by Open learning

Offered by OpenLearning, this free course is also suitable for beginners. Spanning a total of 15 hours, the duration is flexible. Taught by the OpenLearning team, this course explores the principles of effective learning design; relevant to face-to-face teaching as well as online and blended.

In this course, you will have to design engaging learning strategies by making use of the constructivist theory of education. The course also includes an Instructional design project which you can later use for real-world teaching. You can also add a personalized certificate for AUD 50.

Gamification

Gamification by Coursera - Instructional design courses.

This free course for intermediate learners is available on Coursera in collaboration with the prestigious Wharton School. Moreover, the Professor of legal studies & business ethics, Kevin Werbach, supervises it. The course content focuses on Gamification which is a strategy that incorporates digital game design techniques with social impact challenges.

The course takes approximately 17 hours to complete and has flexible deadlines. Lectures also come with subtitles in various languages, e.g. Arabic, Ukrainian, Chinese, etc. Add the certificate to your LinkedIn profile for USD 95 (financial aid is available).

Here's what a student had to say:

My courses taught me to pick up new ideas quickly and apply them to real-world problems. Today, my certificates make me stand out from the crowd.

- Praveen K.S.

Instructional Design Foundations and Applications

Instructional design courses on Coursera

This is a foundational course for the University of Illinois Instructional design Master-track and is perfect for people aiming to pursue higher studies in the subject. Taught by the professor of Education policy and organization, this course takes up to 13 hours to complete.

Overall, the course centers around instructional design fundamentals - introduces learners to the conceptual and theoretical foundations of ID. This 4 weeklong course is free to audit making it a great choice for people to test the waters if they wish to pursue a Masters' degree in ID.

Here is what a student had to say:

I thoroughly enjoyed this course. It is well taught and well organized. The material provided a thorough overview of the field, and the readings were particularly fascinating and helpful.

- JT.

Powerful Tools for Teaching and Learning: Digital Storytelling

Powerful Tools for Teaching and Learning: Digital Storytelling

This course under Coursera and offered by University of Houston is absolutely free. It’s a self-paced course where you can complete it for 14 hours. If you want a solid foundation in digital storytelling to use it as a teaching style, then this course is for you. Although it’s self-paced, there’s an opportunity to create your own digital stories, practice the skill and use theoretical knowledge that you’ll gain from the course.

Here is what a student had to say:

“Very helpful. Mostly to the people who are beginner in the video editing and voice narration. Well recommended to educators and content creators!” -JC

Paid Online Instructional Design Courses

Instructional Design for eLearning

Instructional Design Udemy

This paid asynchronous course is perfect for beginners looking for expert guidance. The total video content sums up to 4.5 hours in total and comes with lifetime access. So, you can always go back to it in case you forget anything.  

The course starts by teaching the basics of ID and goes all the way to the application of complex ID models. Thereby, making it a perfect experience fit for curious people without the fuss of an expert-level course. All of this is listed for USD 89.99 and taught by Marina Arshavskiy who is an award-winning instructional design and eLearning expert.

Here is what a student had to say:

A very informative and insightful course not just for IDs but even people should have this information and knowledge so that the collaboration are productive to run a successful training intervention or program.

- Nureen Choudhary.

Instructional Design Pro: Part 1, Part 2, & Part 3

Instructional Design Pro by Udemy

This 3 part course is available on Udemy for USD 119.99 each and is fit for intermediate learners. Each course is for 7 hours approximately and can be taken back to back. All the parts focus on designing training curricula however wary in intensity and difficulty levels. In this 3-part experience, you will learn about curriculum structural design, teaching design, production, all the while focusing on participant-centered needs.

Here is what a student had to say:

“Jason’s methods set the standard by which other trainers measure themselves. When I experience a problem in class or another trainer asks me for advice, the first thing that goes through my mind is, what would Jason do in this situation?”

- Bren Mochocki

Instructional Design Mastery Series

This Instructional Design Mastery Series is a series of 3, week-long modules focusing on course design elements including learning outcomes and assessment. Between each module, there will be a 6-day "reflect and apply" period to give you time to complete some self-guided research and reflect on your learning. It is an Online Learning Consortium workshop fit for learners of all levels - beginner, intermediate, and expert. The next cohort starts on November 3, 2021 - December 8, 2021. This experience comes for USD 600 for members and USD 750 for non-members. Become a member of OLC and save up to $150-175 on their mastery series.

Instructional Design Academy

This one of its kind programs is 8 weeks long and comes with a flexible pricing option to accommodate all different kinds of people. The course will teach you how to create your job application assets and build a portfolio from scratch. Along with this, it provides expert mentorship and paid experience opportunities to incorporate instructional design.

Here is a rave review for the program by Business Insider:

"This is one of the best choices out there if you're serious about starting a career in corporate instructional design, but don't want to pay for a master's degree."

Certificate ID Courses

Instructional Design Certificate - 4 Courses

Instructional Design Certificate

This certificate course is offered by the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Normally, the course duration is 9 months but the program also provides a flexible pace, where students can complete it with a period of 3 years. The best thing about taking this university-certified course is that its credits can be applied to UW-Stout's Master of Science in Education and a few other Masters' programs. The total price for this 4-course program is USD 5712.

The program is designed to help learners in advancing their careers as IDs, content developers, and project managers. Although it is more on the academic side of things, the course is equally helpful for people seeking professional experience.

Here is what a student had to say:

What a great experience! Although I am in my same job, I have been able to take on some additional responsibilities related to instructional design. I know my new project would not have come my way without this certificate program. I am in the midst of developing training guides, webinar sessions, and videos to help educate the field, who are spread all across the nation.

- Amy DeMage, Lees Summit, Missouri.

Certificate in E-learning Instructional Design

This 6-8 months program is for USD 4726 and has flexible timings to suit everyone's schedules. This four-course program is made for E-learning professionals and people with an interest in education and training roles. Students will learn the essentials of e-learning and the tools necessary for developing courses and programs. Towards the end of this program, all participants will have to work on a special project which they can later add to their professional portfolios.

Here is what a student had to say:

The UW certificate program was just a perfect fit for me. I could space out my learning over the whole year and get comprehensive knowledge while working with my schedule. It gives you the flexibility to have a job or a life while you’re doing it.

- Rob Alford.

Instructional Design Certificate

Instructional Design Certificate

Developed by ISFET, International Society for Educational Technology, this Instructional Design certificate will teach you the best practices of designing a curriculum and creating it online. With 9 key learning goals, 12 modules, and a community support, you get everything for $99.00. You can assure the course is packed with excellent lessons as it was developed by Dr. Ed Forest who holds a PhD in Education. If you want to learn more than this topic, you can avail the Instructional Design bundle for only $189.

Introduction to Instructional Design

Introduction to Instructional Design harvard

This introductory course in Instructional design was developed by the Harvard University for $1,880+. Learn the instructional design theories and frameworks through a project-based approach where students need to submit projects every two weeks. The course is perfect for both aspiring instructional designers or those who are already in the field and want to go back to the fundamentals. Get updates on the schedule of their courses for 2023 at HDCE.

Conclusion

With the growing need for skilled professionals, the demand for Instructional Design Courses has gone up. Consequently, we see that now there is a huge variety of courses now available online for people to choose from. In this article, we shared the top-ranking ID courses that can help budding professionals boost their potential and careers. Check them out and see for yourselves which of these courses is your perfect match.

Read next: 15 Best Instructional Design Books - The Ultimate List 2022 and 15 Best Tools for Instructional Designers: Your Complete Toolbox

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