Several schools offer online master's degree programs in training and performance improvement. These programs may go by various names, such as organizational performance and workplace learning or training and development. Most master's degree programs in training can be completed entirely online, with students accessing lectures and course materials as their schedules allow. However, some programs do require a few visits to campus for courses or meetings.
Many of these programs are designed for working professionals who are part-time students. They must hold a bachelor's degree. The programs usually require 36 hours of coursework, which may include courses in adult learning styles, needs assessments and designing a training program. Students learn about research methods, and the program may require submission of a thesis, research project or a portfolio before graduation.
Master's Degree in Training and Performance Improvement
These master's degree programs focus on the methodology, foundations, technology, design, measurement and improvement of training. Practical and conceptual instruction teaches students to apply the techniques in the workplace. Applicants must possess a bachelor's degree, and schools may prefer a background in training, performance improvement, human resources or instructional design.
Program Information and Requirements
Online master's degree programs in training and performance require about 36 credit hours of study. All courses are delivered via the Internet; however, some schools also offer on-campus coursework or require an in-person orientation session prior to starting the program. These programs are designed for working professionals, and most are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Some schools also require continuous enrollment throughout the program.
Common Online Courses in Training and Performance Improvement Degree Programs
Master's degree-level courses in training and performance improvement concentrate on advanced skills in designing, delivering, assessing and improving educational programs and processes in business. A thesis with defense, research project or portfolio may also be required to complete these programs.
Students are taught to use current methods and techniques, case studies, tools, data and systematic processes to identify and assess educational design and delivery. Preventing future training problems and motivating adult learners are also concentrations of the course.
Lessons in this course focus on the processes of instructional design, as well as using those processes effectively in training and performance technology. The course also concentrates on theories, practices, instructional interventions, proactive strategies, learner characteristics and effects of technology on work-place training programs.
Adult Learning Theory
This course studies the learning processes, characteristics and motivational tools tailored to adult learners, and factors affecting learning outcomes. Students learn to solve real-life workplace problems using adult learning principles.
Career Information for Graduates
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that training and development specialists earned a median wage of $58,210 in May 2015 (www.bls.gov), and annual wages for training and development managers were $102,640. In 2015, about 254,060 were employed as training and development specialists, and about 31,430 in management.
Continuing Education Information
Students of training and performance delivery can also achieve voluntary certification through the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD). The organization requires work experience and a passing score on an examination to achieve certification.
Several programs in training and performance improvement (also known as organizational performance or workplace learning) are available online at the master's degree level. These programs emphasize studies in areas such as needs assessment, instructional design and adult learning theory.