SALT LAKE CITY — Western Governors University’s (WGU) Teachers College, the nation’s largest college of education, has launched a new Master of Science in Learning Experience Design and Educational Technology (MSLxDET). The program encompasses instructional design, design thinking, technology and learning science, while emphasizing approaches that place learners at the center of decision making, reaching beyond the tenets of traditional instructional design.
“Given the pace of innovation in learning technologies and instructional design over the past few years, now is the right time to expand our academic portfolio with this new program,” said Dr. Mark Milliron, Senior Vice President of WGU and Executive Dean of the Teachers College. “The Teachers College has always been a leading innovator in next-generation teaching, and the MSLxDET is a perfect fit for current educators or professionals in other fields who are looking to take the next step in their careers.”
The MSLxDET is offered in two tracks: the K-12 Learning Designer pathway, and the Adult Learning Designer pathway. These tracks allow students to specify if they are hoping to implement their learnings in an academic or workforce setting. The courses in the K-12 Learning Designer track focus on serving students in an educational setting, while the Adult Learning Designer pathway focuses on workforce development and adult education.
A key feature of the program is student engagement in a design lab based on five-phases of design thinking models: empathize, define, ideate, prototype and test. As students move through the program, they will dive deeper into what learners see, feel, do, and say. Their observations within real learning spaces, interviews and focus groups will help them build learning-centered, evidence-based analysis and design skills.
“The new program addresses shortages in the fast-growing instructional design and learning technology fields, where professionals need updated skill sets to create immersive and engaging learning experiences,” said Dr. Kim Round, Academic Programs Director and Associate Dean of the Teachers College. “We’re excited to be able to help students gain the skills needed to improve learning experiences and play a part in the evolving future of education.”
In the last 20 years, WGU’s Teachers College has graduated more than 69,000 educators with licensed teachers in all 50 states, and currently enrolls more than 34,000 students. The college offers 21 bachelor’s degree programs and 19 master’s degree programs for teachers and leaders in K-12 and higher education. Based on an innovative competency-based education model that provides a student-centered Community of Care with a full suite of wrap-around support services and specialized faculty, the college enables students to progress through their courses as soon as they demonstrate skills mastery.
The new MSLxDET program is currently enrolling students, with July 1 as its first class start date. To learn more details about the program, visit wgu.edu/learningxdesign. For additional insights from Dr. Milliron and Dr. Round on learning experience design, read this article on the Teachers College Learning Community website: wgu.edu/blog/tclc/learning-experience-designers2202.