Online education

Educational specialist in learning technologies and design University of Missouri-Columbia
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The transformative power of eLearning can’t be overlooked. Today, online courses allow anyone, anywhere to work toward a degree, receive job training or learn something new without ever stepping into a physical classroom. Lectures and modules can be viewed anywhere—the home, outdoors and any location with an available internet connection. Yet, poorly designed courses push students away or cause trainees to feel dissatisfied or frustrated. If you seek to engineer a stronger, more interactive online learning experience, enroll in the University of Missouri’s educational specialist in learning technologies and design degree, online education emphasis, to expand upon your existing knowledge.

You’re someone currently working in education, web design, digital media or corporate government training. Among your accomplishments, you already have a master’s degree in your field. Yet, whether you’re putting together K–12 curriculum plans or employee training materials, you find that a lack of engagement creates a persistent hurdle affecting student dedication and progress. Instead of seeing distance instruction as a secondary or a novelty format, you tenaciously strive to overhaul the online education experience to help students succeed.

The EdSp in online education equips you with the skills to enact change while building off the platform of the School of Information Science and Learning Technologies (SISLT) to advance the information field. As you craft a tailored, goal-oriented plan of study, you’ll gain the competencies for developing and administering meaningful eLearning courses through improved usability and appropriate technologies. 

Pioneering the importance of innovative distance instruction, SISLT started offering our learning technologies and design degrees fully online back in 2003. We continually revise and update our programs to provide you with the apex of eLearning while helping you acquire the knowledge to improve outcomes for others. Further reflecting our commitment, SISLT is a proud member of iSchools, a coalition of organizations endeavoring to foster the information field’s growth. 

Quick facts

Official name

Educational specialist in learning technologies and design with an emphasis in online education


University of Missouri-Columbia

Program type

Educational specialist

Academic home

College of Education & Human Development | School of Information Science and Learning Technologies

Delivery mode

100% online


Higher Learning Commission

Credit hours


Estimated cost


*This cost is for illustrative purposes only. Your hours and costs will differ, depending on your transfer hours, your course choices and your academic progress. See more about tuition and financial aid.

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Career prospects

The EdSp in online education trains you to conceive and implement exemplary online learning products, interventions and environments. Courses aren’t solely based around translating the physical classroom to online instruction. Instead, subjects focus on helping your future students absorb new information and demonstrate mastery through this medium.

As a bridge from where you are now to your aspirations, this educational specialist degree takes a comprehensive approach to designing online education experiences. You’ll be prepared to:

  • create, deliver and evaluate various online learning experiences;
  • develop activities and assessments and seek out tools that facilitate online education and improve outcomes;
  • encourage online discussions, student participation and persistence through this medium;
  • examine resources, internet-based information and learning management systems to elevate the distance learning experience; and
  • organize and present course materials in an online-only format. 
Burning Glass Technologies. 2021. Salary numbers and employment growth numbers are based on models that consider advertised job posting salary, Bureau of Labor Statistics data and other proprietary and public sources of information for multiple occupations.
Employment growth
Burning Glass Technologies. 2021. Salary numbers and employment growth numbers are based on models that consider advertised job posting salary, Bureau of Labor Statistics data and other proprietary and public sources of information for multiple occupations.
Median salary

What can you do with an EdSp degree in online education?

Through whichever course content you’re tackling, this educational specialist degree helps you address pressing issues related to interest, subject matter and engagement. In turn, your knowledge assists with improving corporate, military, health care and government training collateral and addressing lesson breadth and delivery in K–12 and higher education settings.

In general, demand for professionals ready to revolutionize online instructional design has surged 7% in recent years. Professionals possessing this skill set may see their salary jump 25% in turn. Reflecting long-term projections and increasing adoption of online learning models, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has identified 9% growth for training and development specialists and a 6% increase for instructional coordinators through 2029.

Regardless of your speciality or industry, this educational specialist degree in online education positions you to excel as a:

  • software designer or developer;
  • learning strategy manager;
  • adaptive technology specialist;
  • training designer;
  • school technology coordinator; or
  • online instructor.

Program structure

You’re encouraged to pursue your personal and professional goals while growing your skills and network. While this online educational specialist degree provides space for flexibility, you’ll work through a curriculum of 30 credit hours covering required subjects (17 credit hours) and approved electives (13 credit hours). You’ll be paired with a faculty adviser to come up with a plan of study at the start of the program. 

Although the structure appears similar to the master of science in online education, the EdSp requires all students to take a three-credit course in applied statistics. Knowledge gained further supplements and enriches your existing master’s degree. 

The typical EdSp student takes one to two courses per semester. Those opting to attend full time finish their degree in about two years.

Although no on-campus visits are required, you’ll show you’re prepared to advance eLearning in education or corporate training through a capstone project. Displaying the culmination of your knowledge, you’ll conceptualize and develop your own online course, submit it for evaluation and then discuss the results through your own reflection and critique.

Course work includes

Through rigorous project-based learning, you’ll be holistically exposed to what goes into creating an online education experience:

  • multimedia production techniques for video, images and audio;
  • the methods for encouraging and assessing online learners, creating a sense of community and being an all-around effective instructor;
  • selecting existing software and learning management systems to present a course and reinforce concepts;
  • systematic instructional design, including analyzing, designing, developing, implementing and evaluating learning systems and instructional approaches;
  • the research and data collection supporting platform and tool selection and instructional methodology;
  • the key functions and applications of Canvas and Moodle learning management systems;
  • how games can help students better absorb materials and improve learning outcomes;
  • using the internet for inquiry-based learning, research and publishing; and
  • rapid development principles and tools for creating an eLearning module. 

Review the program’s full structure, course descriptions and expectations.


100% online

Calendar system


Typical program length

2 years (full-time students)

Typical course load

1 or 2 classes per semester


The University of Missouri is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States.

It was great learning from my peers, as it was learning from the professors.
EdSp ’18

Learn more about this program

This program is administered by the School of Information Science and Learning Technologies