Technology has always played a key role in education, from the influx of calculators into classrooms in the early 1970s to the video conferencing used today. For creative teachers with a love of both education and technology, digital innovations provide a way to improve student learning and engagement.
The same applies today to corporate training and professional development. Where once business leaders may have balked at the cost of providing workplace training and professional development, they now understand there’s a higher price to pay for not training employees.
They also know that getting the most from tech-driven learning systems requires corporate training and development managers and instructional designers with expertise in learning design and technology. EdTech is among the fastest-growing segments of education.
What is Learning, Design, and Technology?
The phrase “learning, design, and technology” refers to degree programs that successfully teach students how to incorporate technology into the classroom. Graduates from a Master of Arts in Learning, Design, and Technology programs typically work in instructional design, technology and leadership, and teaching. Potential workplaces include corporate, healthcare, government, higher education, banking, and non-profit settings.
Students develop skills in several areas, including instructional design, instructional methods, program management, professional development, and online training.
Job titles in this field include training and development manager, training and development specialist, instructional coordinator, professional development coach, corporate trainer, digital learning coach, information technology specialist, and instructional technology administrator.
Why Are Learning, Design, and Technology Skills in Demand?
Professionals with skills in applying technology to training and professional development programs are in demand because companies increasingly understand the benefits of an engaged workforce and retaining their top employees. Ensuring that training aligns with the overall corporate strategy is essential. Training managers with technology skills play a critical part in achieving that goal.
Training and professional development courses typically focus on individual areas of a company’s operation – management and sales training are two common examples – but every program benefits employees and the entire organization. These include:
Increased productivity. Improving skills and widening knowledge gives employees more confidence to do more in their jobs.
Standardized processes. With the proper training, everyone is on the same page when engaging in day-to-day work processes.
Reduced waste. Properly trained employees learn where to focus their energies and reduce or eliminate actions that provide little reward for the time and resources spent on them.
Reduced supervision. Managers need to spend less time overseeing the work of employees who have received the proper training.
Developing leaders. A company should develop future managers and leaders from within the current ranks of employees rather than bringing someone in from the outside.
Tech-driven training programs help organizations achieve these benefits through flexible training and professional development programs and reaching more employees simultaneously. It’s also much more convenient to update the curriculum in technology-rich learning environments and continually improve learner engagement.
The Latest Trends in Instructional Design
For those working in learning, design, and technology, keeping up with the latest tech trends is part of the job. According to LinkedIn, two significant trends are artificial intelligence (AI) and gamification.
Finding potential uses for AI in educational settings is an ongoing effort. Already, AI-driven software has helped improve the layout and representation of course materials. Another AI application allows students to design learning experiences themselves. For teachers and trainers, AI programs can analyze student data and recommend personalized learning plans that best match their learning styles.
Gamification involves applying gaming ideas and mechanisms to non-gaming environments, often including some reward for those who demonstrate what they have learned about a topic. Software interfaces with design elements and functionality that resemble games can help students learn everything from course materials for a college class to a new training program at work.
Even for those unfamiliar with the game interfaces, gamification creates immersive environments that can make learning materials more engaging.
Point Park University’s Master’s in Learning, Design, and Technology
Students in the online Master’s in Learning, Design, and Technology from Point Park University learn research-based best practices for the theory of learning design and its application to various training and professional development settings.
Students benefit from faculty who are practitioners in addition to being well-grounded in research and theory. The program is designed for working adults, offering one course at a time. The format allows professionals to earn a graduate degree while meeting the responsibilities of a full-time job. Point Park also offers online students various student services, supporting them throughout their time in the program.
In addition to earning a degree, by completing one additional course you can obtain the Instructional Technology Specialist PK-12 Certificate through the Pennsylvania Department of Education.