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DPS-Instructional Design Leadership

Program OverviewProgram DetailsWhy Choose Franklin

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 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.

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.

    View Salary Trends
  • 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.

    View Salary Trends
  • Chief Learning Officer

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

    View Salary Trends
  • Chief Academic Officer

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

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  • Director of Training and Development

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

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  • Training Manager

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

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  • Consultant

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

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  • 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.

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  • Director of Learning & Performance

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

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  • Direction of Talent Management

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

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Employment Outlook

In 2015 there were 132,517 job openings related to instructional design . It is estimated that in 2025 there will be 150,672.

Source information provided by Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI) 2016.2

Our Recipe For Your Success

Academic & Industry Experts

Classes are taught and designed by credentialed professionals with real-world experience.

  • Programs are designed by combining the insight of industry leaders with the academic expertise of our faculty, ensuring what you learn translates into on-the-job success.

  • Academic concepts and theories are brought to life through our teaching faculty’s professional expertise, and can be immediately applied in your career.

  • Faculty with industry experience teach our courses, not graduate students or life-time academics, so you learn not only the theories behind the practice but also how to apply them in real-world situations.

Relevant & Consistent Curriculum

What you learn is a reflection of the program you choose, not the format in which it’s applied.

  • All programs are designed for learning outcomes to flow from the program level into actual coursework.

  • This top-down approach allows credentialed professionals to customize assignments based on trending industry topics without deviating from a program’s core outcomes.

  • Regardless of your professor or the format of your class, you receive the same quality education.

Hands-On Learning Experience

Franklin's coursework teaches not only theories and concepts, but also how they apply to practical situations.


  • Professional course designers ensure that class activities such as learning simulations, case studies, interactive videos, and group exercises are relevant and appropriate.

  • A curriculum development team is dedicated to making sure all courses are intuitively designed so content is taught in a logical manner that facilitates your success in the classroom and beyond.

Continuously Evolving Programs

Consistent program reviews ensure our programs stay at the forefront of industry trends.

  • Survey results and feedback from student and faculty assessments are reviewed regularly so that our programs are always improving and up-to-date.

  • A structured review process helps identify industry gaps that guide curriculum enhancements allowing our academic and industry experts to regularly implement new industry trends.

  • Regular assessment provides hard data that is used to improve student learning and teaching methods.

Get the details

View curriculum, read course descriptions,
and meet program faculty.

View Program Details