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University System of Maryland

Instructional Design and Technology: Learning Theories

University System of Maryland and University of Maryland University College via edX


Technology, digital media and mobile access have changed how people learn. Today’s students want to be engaged and self-directed with digital content, available anytime, anywhere. This is a challenge for instructional designers as they create online learning experiences.

As an instructional designer, it’s critical to understand emerging learning theories including Bloom’s taxonomy and constructivism and how they relate to the way people learn in our digitally connected world. This course, which is part of the Instructional Design and Technology MicroMasters Program, explores the evolution of learning theories from traditional Socratic methods to emerging learning sciences. Additionally, you will explore curriculum design models using performance-based assessments to create effective and engaging learning experiences.

After a solid foundation of how people learn today, you will explore technology’s role in supporting and enhancing the teaching and learning process.

Previous background in teaching or professional development is a plus, but not required. Join us and launch your career as an instructional designer.

This course is part of the Instructional Design and Technology MicroMaster’s program from UMGC. Upon completion of the program and receipt of the verified MicroMaster’s certificate, learners may then transition into the full UMGC Master’s Program in Learning Design and Technology. See the MicroMasters program page for more information.


Week 1: Your Learning Environment
Week 2: Learning Theory: Behaviorism
Week 3: Learning Theory: Constructivism
Week 4: Learning Theory: Cognitivism & Connectivism
Week 5: Learning Theory: Andragogy
Week 6: Complex Learning Theories: Authentic Assessment, Experiential Learning & Project Based Learning
Week 7: Complex Learning Theories: Service Learning & Gamification
Week 8: Technology’s Role in Learning

Taught by

Randy Hansen, Jessica Levene and Eli Collins-Brown


4.0 rating, based on 1 Class Central review

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  • Muralidhar Sharma completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    I found the contents of this course very interesting. Being a research scholar in educational technology , I found this course very useful. Designing the course contents for different combination of technology and pedagogical is what I am looking forward.

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