Online education

Master of science in learning technologies and design University of Missouri-Columbia
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Online learning is no longer a novelty or convenience—it’s integral to modern-day education, no matter if you are developing lesson plans for K–12 schools or materials for corporate training. While the classroom can be almost anywhere, engaging topics, ease of use, meaningful discussions and clear objectives keep students logging in and completing assignments, rather than canceling or neglecting the course.

An evolution of distance education, online or eLearning continues to progress forward. Technology improves the user experience, and a combination of curiosity, demand and accessibility mean that more and more individuals will take a course in this format at some point. Now far beyond the experimental stage, crafting and administering effective eLearning experiences is the goal of the master of science in learning technologies and design degree, online education emphasis, an academically rigorous, real-world project-based program encouraging you to put what you’ve acquired into action.

Demand for innovative, imaginative online instructors, administrators and curriculum developers is rising. Whether you’re currently an educator interested in expanding your skills or have a hand in structuring your company’s or organization’s training materials, this 30-credit program is geared toward individuals seeking to transform online learning while advancing their own career. Our master’s in online education program helps get you here. Unlock your leadership potential and creative side to help tomorrow’s students succeed in the virtual classroom.

As a fully online education degree offered through the School of Information Science and Learning Technologies (SISLT), the program trains you to plan and create purposeful learning and performance support systems and student resources. SISLT started offering learning technologies and design degrees all the way back in 2003, and today, the programs challenge all students to improve distance education environments through usability and technological advancements. Beyond the University of Missouri, SISLT is a proud member of iSchools, a coalition of organizations dedicated to advancing the information field.

Top-ranked programs in two categories

Mizzou’s online master’s in education programs ranked among the nation’s finest in two U.S. News & World Report 2023 categories.

Best Online Programs U.S. News and World Report Grad Education 2023 Badge.
Best Online Programs U.S. News and World Report Veterans Grad Education 2023 Badge.

Quick facts

Official name

Master of science in learning technologies and design with an emphasis in online education


University of Missouri-Columbia

Program type

Master's degree

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

SISLT designs the master’s in online education for no singular field or career path. Rather, the curriculum and hands-on learning approach prepares you to conceive advanced, fulfilling distance learning alternatives for corporate, military, government and health care professional training programs and for K–12 and higher education instruction. 

Equipping you to tackle the latest challenges in eLearning and help students grow through this medium, this program trains you to:

  • design, deliver and evaluate online education experiences;
  • produce exemplary online learning products, assessments, interventions and environments allowing students to demonstrate their knowledge and subject mastery;
  • create, facilitate and evaluate online discussions;
  • promote student engagement and motivation in the online learning environment;
  • select technology tools and learning objects to support students’ success;
  • understand the applications of learning management systems; 
  • seek out and assess internet-based information and resources for elevating the current online learning experience; 
  • promote online students’ academic and social development and engagement; and
  • organize and present traditional course materials in an online 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 a master’s in online education?

On average, the workforce needs 7% more positions for individuals prepared to shake up the online learning experience. Those with these skills see salary gains as high as 25% percent. Through 2029, the Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates 9% growth for training and development specialists and a 6% increase for instructional coordinators.

Ideal for those currently working in education, instructional design, training and development or digital media, this master’s in online education supplies you with the skills to pursue a role as a:

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

Program structure

You’ll move through 30 credit hours of courses structured in eight- or 16-week increments. Based on this format, full-time students take one to two classes per semester and complete their degree in roughly two years. No on-campus visits are required.

For direction as you begin, think about your goals and desired outcome: which field will this degree apply to, and how do you see yourself utilizing your knowledge? To kick off the program, you’ll develop a customized plan of study in line with your career objectives. To help you achieve your vision, we encourage you to grow your network and explore applications of what you’re learning in the classroom. 

Course work is divided among required courses (17 credit hours) and approved electives (13 credit hours), during which you’ll highlight your knowledge and display its real-world applications through a capstone project. Showing you’re ready to make an impact and uplift students or trainees in the process, you’ll design and develop an online course of your choosing, submit it for evaluation and summarize the results through your own reflection and critique. 

Course work includes

For a thorough perspective of what goes into developing an online education experience, you’ll:

  • become familiar with multimedia production techniques for video, images and audio;
  • learn how to become a supportive, effective online instructor through your approach and the tools you select;
  • explore and analyze various existing software tools, activities and learning experiences to determine which lead to improved outcomes;
  • start to understand how online courses are designed in order to develop your own and evaluate learning management systems and instructional models;
  • review social science–based research supporting the information profession and learning technologies;
  • realize the various workings and applications of Canvas and Moodle learning management systems;
  • begin to see how games aid the online learning process;
  • examine the role the internet plays in inquiry-based learning, research and publishing; and
  • engineer a prototype of an eLearning module using rapid development principles. 

Review the degree’s 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.

I'm so excited for the opportunity to take everything I've learned and really put it into action.
MS ’19

Learn more about this program

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