Learning Designer working at a computer

Master of Education in
Learning, Design, and Technology

Program summary

Learn to evaluate the impact of technology on learning while you expand your skills in instructional design and instructional technology. This online master's degree program explores best practices in the field of learning design using practical, real-life examples.

Application deadline

Apply by November 1 to start January 8

Credits and costs

30 Credits $1,017 per credit

Nationally Recognized

US News and World Report graduation education Learning Design and Technology
Our graduate education programs are highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

Cultivate and Advance Your Instructional Design Skills

As the internet and the online experience continue to evolve, educators across the nation are turning to technology to more effectively engage students and trainees, improve learner performance, and enhance the quality of learning experiences. With a Master of Education in Learning, Design, and Technology (LDT), you can expand your skills in instructional design and instructional technology and understand how to evaluate the impact of technology on learning.

Instructional Design in Higher Education

As a student in these programs, you can learn to develop lesson plans and resources using contemporary theories of instruction. You can also learn best practices in the development and delivery of online, hybrid, and face-to-face curriculum. Our online programs are designed to help you successfully incorporate the use of the internet and technology in teaching and learning at your institution.

Study Skills Valued in a Corporate Setting

Corporate and military trainers can directly apply the experience and skills developed through these programs to the dynamic performance improvement needs in their organizations. We teach you how to create engaging learning experiences by thinking beyond the simple delivery of training content. Our course work goes beyond ADDIE (the famed analysis, design, develop, implement, and evaluate model of instructional design) to prepare our graduates to enrich learning environments with educational technology.

Learn core skills including design of learning management systems, implementation of mobile technologies for learning, design of informal learning experiences, intentional engagement of social learning experiences, and the implementation of technology-enhanced learning. We prepare our graduates for critical analysis of their educational and training programs, especially using cost-benefit and ROI analyses, audience analysis, and task analysis to guide the customization of their design work for specific content, audiences, and contexts.

Choose the Online Graduate Program in Learning, Design, and Technology That Is Right for You

Penn State World Campus has partnered with Penn State's College of Education — regularly ranked among the nation's best graduate schools by U.S. News & World Report — to offer programs in learning design. Taught by the same nationally recognized faculty as our resident program, these programs are designed to help you successfully incorporate the use of the Internet and technology in your professional setting. Penn State offers the Master of Education in Learning, Design, and Technology along with 2 certificates. Each certificate consists of courses that may be applied toward the full master’s degree.

Master of Education in Learning, Design, and Technology

This 30-credit degree program prepares graduates to design and implement educational technologies and to apply design thinking to support teaching and learning. Course work in the LDT program enables teachers, trainers, and design professionals to explore best practices in the field of learning design. Course activities challenge students to apply their understanding to practical, real-world problems, and encourage them to blend their personal and professional interests into their course work.

Act 48 Approved

Penn State is an Act 48–approved provider for Pennsylvania educators, so your courses may count toward your professional development hours. Please note that this program does not lead to initial teacher certification or the Pennsylvania Department of Education Instructional Technology Specialist Certificate. However, this program may help you to renew your teacher certification. Check with your state's Department of Education for exact requirements for recertification.


Penn State's online Master of Education in Learning, Design, and Technology emphasizes the evaluation and improvement of technology's impact on the learning process and can provide you with the technical and research skills to analyze the effectiveness of technology integration in your school, organization, or corporation.

You must complete 30 credits of course work, plus a noncredit unit on scholarship and research integrity and a noncredit capstone portfolio which will be reviewed by your adviser at the end of the program. At least 18 credits of course work must be at the 500 or 800 level, and a minimum of 6 credits must be at the 500 level.

Core Courses (9 credits)

  • 3

    Application of a systematic learning design model relevant to all learning contexts and audiences for analyzing instructional problems, developing validated resources, and implementing practical solutions.

  • 3

    This course examines emerging web technologies and explores their application to learning and education.

  • 3

    Designing learning environments based on constructivist principles of learning that provide modeling, coaching, and scaffolding.

Recommended Courses (select 21 credits)

  • 3

    Prepares teachers to evaluate the effects of technology use.

  • 3

    Explores the role of gaming, video gaming, and simulations in educational contexts including K–12, corporate, informal, non-profit, and higher education.

  • 3

    Explores key principles of effective online instruction for K–12 learners, including tools for teaching online, creation of an online environment, strategies for collaboration, supporting learners with special needs, among other topics.

  • 3

    Surveys contemporary readings, software, and hardware to explore the intersection of learning, teaching, and technology use. Students analyze contemporary uses of technology to support learning through readings, multimedia, and hands-on experience.

  • 3

    Research on learning with mobile computers and models for mobile computer integration for K–12 schools, community organizations, and universities.

  • 3

    Examines a range of skills, processes, and theories for designing and developing interactive educational materials.

  • 3

    Examines the costs and benefits of technology use, emerging research topics on technology-enhanced learning, and important tradeoffs that need to be considered when designing technology-enhanced learning contexts.

  • 3

    Guides learners to read, reflect on, and discuss various historical and contemporary learning theories and frameworks within the area of Learning, Design, and Technology, and their particular importance for learning designers and researchers.

  • 3

    Explores the historical roots of makerspaces and hobbyist learning activities, as well as the changing landscape of making, content creation, and constructionist activities in education.

  • 3

    Practical design of instructor-facilitated online lessons taking advantage of the affordances and within the constraints of course management systems.

  • 3

    Provides technology designers, educators, and researchers with a practice-oriented approach to ethics in education technology.

Course Availability

If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.

Costs and Financial Aid

Graduate Tuition

Graduate tuition is calculated based on the number of credits for which you register. Tuition is due shortly after each semester begins and rates are assessed every semester of enrollment.

2023–24 Academic Year Rates

Tuition rates for the fall 2023, spring 2024, and summer 2024 semesters.

How many credits do you plan to take per semester? Cost
11 or fewer $1,017 per credit
12 or more $12,203 per semester

2024–25 Academic Year Rates

Tuition rates for the fall 2024, spring 2025, and summer 2025 semesters.

How many credits do you plan to take per semester? Cost
11 or fewer $1,027 per credit
12 or more $12,325 per semester

Financial Aid and Military Benefits

Some students may qualify for financial aid. Take the time to research financial aid, scholarships, and payment options as you prepare to apply. Military service members, veterans, and their spouses or dependents should explore these potential military education benefits and financial aid opportunities, as well.

How to Apply

Deadlines and Important Dates

Your degree application, including receipt of all transcripts and letters of recommendation, should be received by the following deadlines to be considered complete.

  • Spring DeadlineApply by November 1 to start January 8
  • Summer DeadlineApply by April 1 to start May 13
  • Fall DeadlineApply by June 15, 2024, to start August 26, 2024

Admissions Help

If you have questions throughout the admissions process, please contact our admissions counselors.

Admission Requirements

For admission to the Graduate School, an applicant must hold either (1) a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or (2) a tertiary (postsecondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a four-year bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. This degree must be from an officially recognized degree-granting institution in the country in which it operates.

What You Need

Applications are submitted electronically and include a nonrefundable application fee. You will need to upload the following items as part of your application:

Official transcripts from each institution attended, regardless of the number of credits or semesters completed. Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Penn State alumni do not need to request transcripts for credits earned at Penn State, but must list Penn State as part of your academic history. If you are admitted, you will be asked to send an additional official transcript. You will receive instructions at that time.

GPA and Test Scores — GRE/MAT test scores are no longer an application requirement.

English Proficiency — The language of instruction at Penn State is English. With some exceptions, international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Proficiency section on the Graduate School's "Requirements for Graduate Admission" page. Visit the TOEFL website for testing information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660.

References (3) — you will need to initiate the process through the online application by entering names, email addresses, and mailing addresses of three references. Upon submission of your application, an email will be sent to each reference requesting their online submission of a letter of recommendation.

The letter should address the nature and quality of the applicant’s professional/workplace performance and an assessment of the applicant’s readiness to pursue online graduate degree study. The references must be provided by professional colleagues such as coworkers, supervisors, academic instructors or advisors, classmates, business partners, etc. We are unable to accept references from family members, personal friends/acquaintances, or current LDT Program faculty members. Please inform all recommenders they must submit the reference form online in order for your application to be complete.

Program-Specific Questions/Materials

Résumé or Vita -  that concisely describes your academic and professional history, achievements, and skills relevant to the LDT program and the field of education.

Statement of Purpose — 750 words or less explaining why you want to enter the master's program. This statement should include:

  • your career goals and an explanation of how your prospective degree in LDT will help you to achieve your goals
  • your professional background and your reasons for seeking a graduate degree in LDT
  • how your professional and academic backgrounds qualify you for acceptance to the program
  • how your professional interests correspond with the coursework topics  and faculty expertise of the program
  • any other information that may help us to consider your application.

Writing Samples — Submit a 300 (minimum) to 400 (maximum) word review of an article or report published in a recent professional journal of your choice. The selected publication should address a contemporary educational issue related to your academic interests. The review should include a summary of key findings and a discussion of the findings’ current or future impact to the field of education. The review must be written and edited primarily by the applicant without substantial assistance provided by another person, software, or hardware. Please be sure to include the article that is being reviewed.

Start Your Application

You can begin your online application at any time. Your progress within the online application system will be saved as you go, allowing you to return at any point as you gather additional information and required materials.

Begin the graduate school application

  • Choose Enrollment Type: "Degree Admission"
  • Choose "WORLD CAMPUS" as the campus

Checking Your Status

You can check the status of your application by using the same login information established for the online application form.

Technical Requirements 

Review the technical requirements for this degree program.

Ready to Learn More?

Get the resources you need to make informed decisions about your education. Request information on this program and other programs of interest by completing this form.

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Learn more about this program

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Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State master's degree?

Apply by November 1 to start January 8. How to Apply

Advance Your Career

A group of educators collaborating as they review documents at a table

You can use the knowledge gained from this program and the support of Penn State career resources to pursue careers in a variety of fields, depending on your goals.

Job Titles Related to This Degree

The following roles are often held by people with this type of degree:

  • E-Learning Developer
  • Educational Technology Specialist
  • Instructional Designer
  • Instructional Systems Specialist
  • Learning Development Specialist

Employment Outlook for Occupational Fields Related to This Degree

Estimates of employment growth and total employment are provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and are subject to change. While these occupations are often pursued by graduates with this degree, individual outcomes may vary depending on a variety of factors. Penn State World Campus cannot guarantee employment in a given occupation.

Training and Development Specialists

employment growth (10 years)
total employment

Instructional Coordinators

employment growth (10 years)
total employment

Librarians and Media Collections Specialists

employment growth (10 years)
total employment

Career Services to Set You Up for Success

Student having a virtual meeting on a laptop with a career counselor

From the day you're accepted as a student, you can access resources and tools provided by Penn State World Campus Career Services to further your career. These resources are beneficial whether you're searching for a job or advancing in an established career.

  • Opportunities to connect with employers
  • Career counselor/coach support
  • Occupation and salary information
  • Internships
  • Graduate school resources 

Earn a Valuable Credential along the Way

A figure walking on a path that includes a certificate part of the way through their progress

Show mastery of specific subjects before your degree is complete. Thanks to shared courses across programs, students can often earn a certificate along with their degree in less time than if they earned them separately.

Certificate Programs Related to This Degree

Credit toward the following certificates can be earned while completing this degree program:

Learn how to utilize instructional technology in your curriculum to positively impact the learning outcomes of your students with the course work offered through this online educational technology certificate program.

Learn more about the Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Educational Technology Integration  

Learn to use course design and innovative technology to create and deliver impactful online teaching and learning experiences. This 12-credit e-learning design certificate program takes a project-based approach to instructional design.

Learn more about the Postbaccalaureate Certificate in e-Learning Design  

Contact Us

To learn more about the Master of Education in Learning, Design, and Technology, offered in partnership with the Penn State College of Education, please contact: 

World Campus Admissions Counselors
Phone: 814-863-5386
[email protected]

Darlene Glab
Administrative Support Assistant
Learning and Performance Systems Department
303 Keller Building
University Park, PA 16802-1303
Phone: 814-863-9768
[email protected]


  • Roy B. Clariana

    • Degree
      Ed.D., Curriculum and Instruction, University of Memphis
    • Degree
      M.S.Ed., Biology Education, University of Central Arkansas
    • Degree
      B.S., Biology, University of Central Arkansas

    Dr. Roy B. Clariana is a professor of learning, design, and technology. He is an experienced researcher with deep practical experience in industry. He is widely recognized for work in developing new measures of knowledge structure to complement traditional test measures. As PI of a recent National Science Foundation project, his team applied knowledge structure measures to specify the fMRI neurocognitive signatures of naturalistic reading. He developed the online versions of LDT 415: Systematic Instructional Development and LDT 832: Designing e-Learning within Course Management Systems and teaches these courses regularly.

  • Ty Hollett

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Language, Literacy, and Culture, Vanderbilt University
    • Degree
      M.EdT., Education, University of Hawaii
    • Degree
      M.A., English, Penn State
    • Degree
      B.A., English, DePauw University

    Dr. Ty Hollett's research examines the intersection of out-of-school learning, youth culture, and digital media. Specifically, he studies and designs informal, media-rich learning settings for youth in order to support innovative teaching and learning. As an effort to disrupt container-like models of teaching and learning, his research responds to the ongoing development of interest-driven learning opportunities for youth within — and beyond — such settings as home, libraries, schools, and city streets.

  • ChanMin Kim

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Instructional Systems, Florida State University
    • Degree
      M.Ed., Educational Media and Technology, Boston University
    • Degree
      M.Ed., Educational Technology, Yonsei University
    • Degree
      B.A., Special Education, Ewha Womans University

    ChanMin Kim is an associate professor of learning, design, and technology and educational psychology. She researches various designs for improving equity through education. Her research projects involve culturally responsive use of simulations, robots, and programming platforms in a variety of learning contexts. She has taught EDTEC/LDT 561: Measuring the Impact of Technology on Learning and LDT 832: Designing e-Learning within Course Management Systems for World Campus.

  • Susan M. Land

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Instructional Systems Design, Florida State University
    • Degree
      M.S., Instructional Systems Design, Florida State University
    • Degree
      B.S., Psychology, Florida State University

    Susan M. Land serves as the head of the Department of Learning and Performance Systems within the Penn State College of Education and is a professor in the learning, design, and technology program. Land’s research investigates frameworks for the design of open-ended, technology-enhanced learning environments. Her research is currently funded by the National Science Foundation to study mobile, augmented reality (AR) technologies to support science learning in outdoor community spaces. 

  • Priya Sharma

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Instructional Technology, University of Georgia
    • Degree
      M.S., Instructional Technology, Bloomsbury University
    • Degree
      B.Sc., Chemistry, Botany, Zoology, Mt. Carmel College, Bangalore

    Dr. Priya Sharma's research and teaching broadly focus on the design and use of emerging technologies for teaching and learning in formal and informal contexts. In formal contexts, she is interested in the design and integration of emerging technologies, including new web technologies, learning analytics, and machine learning to support student learning and engagement and to help facilitators be responsive in their teaching.

  • Tanner Vea

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Learning Sciences and Technology Design, Stanford University
    • Degree
      M.A., Instructional Technology and Media, Teachers College Columbia University
    • Degree
      B.A., Multidisciplinary Studies, Bard College

    Dr. Tanner Vea is a critical learning scientist who researches and teaches about ethics and justice in learning, design, and technology. He is particularly interested in emotion and relation in learning and design processes. Through ethnographic and design-based methods, he investigates how human ways of feeling and relating can support collective action for a livable world.

  • Heather Toomey Zimmerman

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Learning Sciences, University of Washington
    • Degree
      M.A., Museology (Museum Studies), University of Washington
    • Degree
      B.S., Science Communication, Cornell University

    Heather Toomey Zimmerman is a professor of education and a learning scientist. Her interests include everyday science learning, environmental education, parent-child interactions (family learning), designing for learning in museums or other informal institutions, and mobile computing with augmented reality. Her prior work experience involved designing and implementing museum programs for families, youths, and community organizations.


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Venancio Ybarra: Innovating online learning, Penn State News

Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State master's degree?

Apply by November 1 to start January 8. How to Apply