Skip to main content
Doctor of Professional Studies - Instructional Design Leadership

Elevate learning experiences with a doctorate in instructional design

Learning and development is a $165 billion annual industry, giving instructional design professionals much more prominence as both leaders and educators. Consistent, focused, professional development under the watchful eye of learning executives and consultants is leading to the creation of advanced cultures of inspiration and deeper senior leadership competencies. In the classroom, learning and development instructors are helping advance the way learning professionals research, understand and apply concepts and theories to the real world.

Program not available in

On Site

No-Fear Dissertation

Finish faster with a jumpstart to your dissertation.

3-Year Completion

Finish your DPS faster -- including one year for your dissertation.

Finish Faster

Transfer up to 24 hours of previously earned credit.

Personalized Program

Customize your program with a variety of electives.

100% Online Classes

Earn your degree around your schedule.

Relevant Curriculum

Become a leader in instructional design.

Program Overview

Innovate professional development. Transform learning and performance.

As an industry, learning and development is burgeoning. In fact, with more than $165 billion (not to mention thousands upon thousands of work hours) spent annually, learning and development is taking its rightful place within organizational hierarchies.

As a result, instructional design professionals are becoming more in demand at both leadership and educational levels.

Learning executives and consultants, for example, are being asked to bring more focus and cohesiveness to organizational development needs; to facilitate and exponentially expand knowledge transfer; to further develop senior leadership competencies; and to create advanced cultures of inspiration.

Learning, design and technology educators, too, are being asked to do more, including advancing research, understanding and application of discovery, learning and engagement.

Become a learning leader who leads  

Because people are inherently an organization’s most valuable asset, employers are continuing to demand more from their human capital investment. Forces such as global competition, developments in technology, greater job specialization, and a rise in knowledge-based industries have driven the need for a more educated workforce.

From verbal and written competencies, to technical and technological abilities, to advanced interpersonal aptitude, employers need leaders who can envision, direct and provide the kind of human capital development that aligns with company goals, transforms corporate culture and moves an organization forward.

Such leadership doesn’t come readily or routinely – instead, it requires proficiencies of the highest level. That’s why Franklin University is the first and only nonprofit institute of higher education to offer a professionally oriented doctoral degree in instructional design and leadership. Our terminal degree can prepare you to make smart, relevant connections between classroom learnings and real-world development effectiveness.

A practitioner-oriented education like Franklin’s differs from a research-based degree. Whereas a Doctor of Philosophy or Ph.D. in instructional design focuses on substantive advancement of theoretical research within a discipline, an applied doctorate degree like Franklin University’s transfer-friendly Doctor of Professional Studies in Instructional Design Leadership (DPS-Instructional Design Leadership), focuses on knowledge expansion within the discipline combined with knowledge application in the real-world setting.

Make a difference

Our instructional design doctorate program reinforces the core technical aspects of quality research, yet also equips you with such sought-after skills as leadership, communication, instructional design and training. Franklin’s applied doctorate is a practical degree that enables both subject mastery and field application. That means you’ll be prepared to apply doctoral-level research and problem solving to complex, real-world challenges.

Franklin’s applied Doctor of Professional Studies in Instructional Design Leadership is a program designed to help you:

  • Apply research in order to impact business performance
  • Design and develop advanced curricula and instructional products
  • Assess and refine your own leadership competencies
  • Differentiate yourself as a top performer or educator

Create innovative learning environments

Through our DPS program, you’ll focus on progressive and advanced approaches for designing effective, transformative learning and instruction. You’ll also examine applicable frameworks and implementation strategies for such learning environments as e-learning, blended and hybrid learning, mobile learning, game-based learning, and informal and social learning. Then, in light of the training needs of an organization, you’ll determine if, why, how and when to employ one or more of these frameworks and strategies.

Lead and manage at a strategic level

It’s been said that knowledge is power. Assuming that’s true, then organizational success can be attributed to the collective knowledge within that organization. How and where organizational knowledge is found, used and stored, however, can make or break the organization’s ability to advance, perform, thrive or transform. For this reason, Franklin’s DPS program equips you with the skills necessary to lead and manage learning at a very strategic level. You’ll not only learn how to identify and meet ever-evolving learning needs, you’ll do so within the context of the organization’s strategic goals.

Understand and assess trends & technology

Theories come and go, and technology seems to change every nanosecond. The challenge, then, isn’t just in keeping up, but also in how to determine which (if any) emerging principles, perspectives and products are worthy of adopting. With Franklin’s DPS in instructional design leadership, you’ll learn how to evaluate theories, models and frameworks, as well as strategically and tactically incorporate designs, processes and technologies for instruction and learning throughout an organization.

Get 360-degree support

We’ve taken a comprehensive and systematic approach to our online doctoral program, which includes team-based curriculum development, doctorally qualified faculty, and student-centered activities designed for the working adult. You’ll receive robust academic support from a variety of resources, including a graduate advisor, faculty advisor, personal librarian and peers, as well as the Student Learning Center staff and your Dissertation Committee members. You’ll also enjoy a cohesive and robust graduate culture and cohort. Together, our practice-minded faculty and your fellow students will support, mentor, encourage and keep you accountable to the program – and to yourself. At Franklin, you’re never alone on your doctoral journey.

Transfer Up to 24 Credit Hours

Want to complete your terminal degree in less than three years? Franklin grants up to 24 hours of prior-learning credit for previous doctoral work, and approved certifications and licensures. We honor your prior learning and make it easier to get credit for what you already know. Transfer credit can help you earn your applied doctorate degree faster, as well as reduce your overall tuition expenses.

A Unique Dissertation Structure

If there’s such a thing as a no-fear dissertation process, Franklin’s has it. We’ve intentionally designed a dissertation structure to help you complete your dissertation step-by-step, beginning with your enrollment in the program. We’ve also built-in faculty mentoring and guidance, and peer-to-peer support so you’re never left to “figure it out” on your own.

Throughout the DPS program, you’ll develop important research skills and the necessary writing prowess to publish a dissertation as a capstone project to your studies. Your dissertation will showcase your ability to identify a topic of interest within the workplace, develop a proposed solution to a problem, and test your hypotheses in the real world.

Read more >

Curriculum & Course Descriptions

58 Semester Hours
Research Core (16 hours)

All students are required to take the first five courses listed and one of the final two listed, depending on the research method and design they choose for their dissertation.

GRAD 800 - WRITING FOUNDATIONS (3)
This course will orient students to Franklin University, its learning environments and support systems. Students will develop essential skills needed to be successful in a doctoral program. Foundations of theory and practice in doctoral studies will be taught. Students will gain scholarly and professional writing skills in the context of their discipline. Dissertation structure and process will be introduced. Students will also complete their first colloquia as part of the course requirements.
GRAD 805 - RESEARCH METHODOLOGY & DESIGN (3)
Students will learn about research methodology, related methods, and how to apply them in valid and reliable research designs. Students will be taught how to construct new theories, connect research theory and design to application and practice in the organization. This course will begin to prepare students to identify a research problem, conduct a literature review, and select appropriate research methodology for their dissertation. Issues of research ethics will be discussed.
GRAD 810 - APPLIED STATISTICS (4)
Application of statistical techniques and methods will be explored including, a review of statistics and probability, exploratory data analysis and descriptive statistics, fundamental statistical tests, regression analysis, selection of adequate analytical methods as well as interpretation and reporting of results. The course is designed to provide numerous opportunities to apply various statistical methods into research hypothesis and problems.
GRAD 888 - COLLOQUIUM I (1)
The doctoral colloquium is designed to build a community and ensure that learners have the support, motivation and guidance necessary to succeed in their doctoral programs. This first colloquia will also provide students with an overview of the doctoral program expectations, coursework sequence, doctoral student support services, as well as comprehensive exam and dissertation requirements. The first colloquium is designed to establish a learning community and graduate culture for the doctoral students at Franklin University. The doctoral colloquium will be held at the University's main campus in facilities that provide appropriate online interaction for out-of-state and international students. Please note: A book fee may be included in your tuition charges for required course materials. Please see http://www.franklin.edu/financial-aid/tuition-fees /e-textbooks for specific charges.
GRAD 889 - COLLOQUIUM II (1)
The doctoral colloquium is designed to build a community and ensure that learners have the support, motivation and guidance necessary to succeed in their doctoral programs. The second colloquia will aid students in their transition from coursework to doctoral candidacy. Students will be oriented to the process and requirements for the upcoming comprehensive exam. In addition, they will begin to plan how to navigate and fulfill the requirements of the dissertation process. In addition, students will continue to build their learning network and community through this experience. The doctoral colloquium will be held at the University's main campus in facilities that provide appropriate online interaction for out-of-state and international students.
GRAD 820 - ADVANCED QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH DESIGN & ANALYSIS (4)
This is an advanced course in statistics that covers complex analyses used in education and data-driven decision making. The course is designed to broaden and deepen student understanding of advanced statistics in multivariate techniques. The emphasis of the course is on practical application of concepts learnt. To this end, the course is developed to balance theory and application and provides numerous opportunities for application to practical problems. Students will also complete their second colloquia.
OR GRAD 822 - ADVANCED QUALITATIVE RESEARCH DESIGN & ANALYSIS (4)
The advanced qualitative research course builds on the knowledge and skills students acquire in GRAD 805. This course leads students on an in depth treatment of qualitative research methodology, exploring its theoretical underpinnings and associated methods for design, data collection, interpretation, and reporting of results. Ethics are emphasized for each stage of research. This course will guide students to develop the methodology and data analysis for their dissertation proposal and research. Students will also complete their second colloquia if they had not enrolled in GRAD 820.
Major Area (20 hours)
GRAD 800 - WRITING FOUNDATIONS (3)
This course will orient students to Franklin University, its learning environments and support systems. Students will develop essential skills needed to be successful in a doctoral program. Foundations of theory and practice in doctoral studies will be taught. Students will gain scholarly and professional writing skills in the context of their discipline. Dissertation structure and process will be introduced. Students will also complete their first colloquia as part of the course requirements.
IDL 810 - INNOVATIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT DESIGN (4)
In this course, students will be exposed to new and innovative approaches for designing effective learning and instruction. This course will equip students with knowledge of applicable frameworks and strategies for implementation at the organizational level. Students will review learning environments such as e-learning, blended and hybrid learning, mobile learning, game-based learning, and informal and social learning, to determine the appropriate learning environment based on the learning and training needs of an organization.
IDL 820 - STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT & DECISION MAKING (4)
Today's researchers, leaders and managers in the instructional design field must be able to use data to make decisions, as well as to influence others in their organizations. In this course, students will learn how to apply relevant tools, techniques, theories, and principles of strategic assessment and decision-making to address the learning and performance needs to continuous improvement for learning problems or a learning organization.
IDL 830 - ORGANIZATIONAL LEARNING & KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT (4)
Learning and knowledge management is crucial to the success of organizations. In this course, students will go beyond the design of learning environments and acquire skills to lead and manage the learning organization at a strategic level. Students will be able to recognize and meet the evolving learning needs of an organization within the framework of the organization's strategic goals. Multicultural awareness and how to lead multi-functional and cross-cultural instructional design teams and projects will also be addressed in this course.
IDL 840 - INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN RESEARCHING & CONSULTING (4)
In this course, students will broaden their perspectives as a researcher or a consultant. Major topics of the course include, researching instructional design theories and problems, communicating effectively horizontally and vertically in a business or education environment, applying consulting strategies and skills, creating a professional development plan, conducting a 360 degree professional evaluation. Students will also have an opportunity to continue to expand their research in instructional design and practice consulting skills within this course.
Electives (12 hours)
GRAD 820 - ADVANCED QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH DESIGN & ANALYSIS (4)
This is an advanced course in statistics that covers complex analyses used in education and data-driven decision making. The course is designed to broaden and deepen student understanding of advanced statistics in multivariate techniques. The emphasis of the course is on practical application of concepts learnt. To this end, the course is developed to balance theory and application and provides numerous opportunities for application to practical problems. Students will also complete their second colloquia.
OR GRAD 822 - ADVANCED QUALITATIVE RESEARCH DESIGN & ANALYSIS (4)
The advanced qualitative research course builds on the knowledge and skills students acquire in GRAD 805. This course leads students on an in depth treatment of qualitative research methodology, exploring its theoretical underpinnings and associated methods for design, data collection, interpretation, and reporting of results. Ethics are emphasized for each stage of research. This course will guide students to develop the methodology and data analysis for their dissertation proposal and research. Students will also complete their second colloquia if they had not enrolled in GRAD 820.

Select course not used in Research Core

  • Any DBA course

  • Any DHA course

Dissertation Requirements (10 hours)
GRAD 901 - COMPREHENSIVE EXAM (1)
This course is designed for students to prepare and complete their comprehensive exam. Remedial strategies and actions will also be provided for students who do not successfully pass their comprehensive exam on the first attempt.
GRAD 902 - DISSERTATION I (3)
In Dissertation I, doctoral candidates will complete their dissertation prospectus for approval from their dissertation committee and prepare IRB documentation for their dissertation research. The emphasis in this course is to complete drafts of chapters one, two, and three of the dissertation, with chapter three advanced to point of sufficient detail for the IRB submission.
GRAD 903 - DISSERTATION II (3)
In Dissertation II, doctoral candidates will finalize chapters one and two of the dissertation. Candidates will also collect data upon receiving IRB approval.
GRAD 904 - DISSERTATION III (3)
In Dissertation III, doctoral candidates will complete chapters four and five and of the dissertation and make any revision necessary to the first three chapters. Students are required to defend their dissertation orally by the end of this course.
GRAD 999 - STUDY CONTINUATION (3)
This course is for the doctoral student to remain continuously registered once he or she has begun the course study. This may be while the student needs to take a one-term break from studies, time for the remainder of the term to prepare for a re-take of the comprehensive exam or a continuation of dissertation work beyond the program's scheduled three semesters of study.

If necessary

Request Free Information!

Want to learn more about Franklin University? Complete the simple form - it just takes a minute!

  • Invest in yourself by finishing your degree.

  • Take classes online, on campus, or both.

  • Finish faster. Save more. Franklin fits your life.

  • Top employers hire Franklin grads to provide relevant industry knowledge.

Request Information

I acknowledge that by submitting this form, I may be contacted by telephone and email.

Your privacy is important to us. Privacy Policy

Program Details

Career Opportunities

Professor

Professors primarily plan curriculum, conduct original research, and teach and test students, helping expand their knowledge within a particular subject matter or discipline.

Adjunct Faculty

Adjunct Faculty are contingent or contractual instructors who plan lectures, teach specific courses within a field of study, assess learning outcomes and advise students.

Consultant

Consultants are paid experts who assess a particular problem, challenge or opportunity and provide strategic recommendations for action.

Chief Learning Officer

Chief Learning Officers create, implement and oversee learning management strategies and initiatives and align them with human capital development.

Chief Academic Officer

Chief Academic Officers are responsible for providing leadership, vision and strategic direction for educational curriculum, instruction and assessment.
 

Director of Training and Development

Directors of Training and Development lead, implement, manage and oversee learning and development programs.

Training Manager

Training Managers assess training needs, define training requirements, devise programs and oversee implementation.
 

Lead or Senior Instructional Designer

Lead or Senior Instructional Designers assess training needs, establish learning objectives and collaborate with subject matter experts in the creation of training materials and products.
 

Director of Learning & Performance

Directors of Learning & Performance assess training needs and gaps, drive development strategies and manage training initiatives.
 

Direction of Talent Management

Directors of Talent Management assess learning paths and develop training materials, tools and resources to support transformative performance management.

Frequently Asked Questions

Back to College Blog