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LDT gives you the tools to secure a meaningful career in higher education.

Our curriculum balances theory with practice, empowering students with opportunities to apply what they learn in the classroom to real-world teaching and learning situations.

Interested in residential or fully online? Contact us to explore the options: ldtprogram@georgetown.edu.

Program Overview

The Master’s in Learning, Design, and Technology begins by establishing a common vocabulary and knowledge base for students. Students will explore and engage with critical topics within higher education that address learning, design, and technology including data analytics, innovation, and leadership. The coursework enables students to apply theory to practice primarily through opportunities involving learning experiences  in which students work with clients at Georgetown University, in the broader Washington DC community, and locally, for those students who are online, to advance projects related to Learning, Design, and Technology.  All students in the program will take courses that are designed to build a strong foundation in the core concepts of the program while allowing for a full range of elective experiences.  Students interested in the LDT program may apply for the residential or the fully online option. Each option offers students different advantages and flexibility. The program requirements described below apply to all students in the LDT program independent of their preferred delivery mode (residential or fully online); however, how the program requirements are completed varies by mode:
  • Residential students are expected to attend all their courses on campus. Student approved for hybrid learning are expected to be on campus for the Integrated Introduction to the Field course and to come to campus once a semester for attending their on campus courses. The rest of the time, the students approved for hybrid learning will participate in all their courses virtually by joining their peers in the residential program live using web conferencing.
  • Fully Online students are also expected to attend the Integrated Introduction to the Field course on campus with the rest of the courses in the program taken online. The courses are designed with both asynchronous and synchronous activities that aim for maximum flexibility in terms of students’ schedules.

Our students have been involved in projects that have engaged them in authentic and dynamic learning experiences. Click on the Explore Student Projects button to learn more. 

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Program Core Courses

(15 credit hours · 5 courses)

Students take five courses that form the program’s core. These courses offer students opportunities to explore multiple perspectives in relation to the program’s focuses – Learning Design, Technology Innovation, Learning Analytics, and critical studies in Higher Education. The core courses enable students to build common knowledge and language to engage in discourse that challenges current perspectives in learning and design to drive the discipline forward. 

LDES 5000: Integrated Introduction to the Field

Students take a 3.5-day intensive integrated introduction course in mid- to late-August. The course will introduce them to graduate studies in the fields of Learning Design, Technology and Innovation, Learning Analytics, and critical studies in Higher Education. Students will learn about the interconnectedness of critical concepts, gaining an understanding of how these fields intersect. Students will build a strong knowledge-base that will facilitate their navigation of learning challenges and solutions.

LDES 5001: Methods of Learning and Design

This survey course draws on multiple disciplines to consider what learning is and how it happens. How do students process new information? What can you do to facilitate deep learning for students from varied backgrounds? Can there be universal design for learning? What is agility in learning and design methods?  Learning key principles for how people learn and retain material will prepare you to design valuable learning experiences in higher education and beyond.

LDES 5002: Technology and Innovation by Design

In this course, you will explore the role of technology and innovation in higher education. Taking into account historical and current educational challenges in higher education, you’ll explore the ways that institutions of higher education and student populations have changed over time, impacting the ways we use technology in education today. In addition to creating dynamic definitions of a variety of concepts, we will explore the challenges, opportunities, and effects technology and innovation—as well as theories of disruption and integration—have had on higher education. 

LDES 5003: University as a Design Problem

In this course, we will explore emerging approaches to innovation and transformation as they apply to institutions of higher education and the broader learning ecosystem. In doing so we will try and understand the nature of change in higher education by exploring its competing aims and missions, histories, multiple stakeholders, expanding publics, and diversifying marketplace. Collectively and critically, we will imagine alternative future(s) for higher education that respond to the imperatives for relevance, quality, and equity. Although the course will have some assigned readings and seminar discussions, much of the course will be co-created with students and carried out in a studio or workshop format.

LDES 5004: Educational Research Methods & Learning Analytics

In this course, we will begin to explore learning analytics concepts and acquire the foundations of a learning analytics toolkit, including basic statistics and principles of data analysis. We will investigate the relationship between learning, design, technology, and analytics through readings and discussions dealing with key topics related to positivist educational research design, educational data mining, and algorithmic literacy and ethical use of data. We will also reflect on the implications for pedagogy and for higher education administration in relation to some recent advances in the fields of big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. This course will challenge us to incorporate data-supported and evidence-based reasoning into our understanding of learning theories, learning design, and the relationship of a university to its students, faculty, and staff. 

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The LDT ePortfolio  is a curated and compiled showcase of individual student work. This culminating ePortfolio is meant to give students the opportunity to demonstrate a meaningful representation of the specific professional, intellectual,  or design expertise acquired in the process of earning their degree. Students are required to submit their ePortfolio during their last semester in the program in order to graduate as part of a 0-credit Capstone.


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Elective Courses

(15 credit hours)

Students have the opportunity to explore a variety of topics by taking elective courses. These courses engage learners in further exploration of key concepts and applications in relation to their interests. Each elective course will have multiple focuses giving students the opportunity to delve deeper into more than one area.

Please note that not all elective courses that are listed below are offered every semester.

LDES 7201: Studies in Educational Technology

This course will invite students to examine the evolution of educational technology in higher education through various lenses, some broad such as sociocultural and legal, while others are more focused on information systems and management, instructional development, and innovation. Conducted as a survey of the history of educational technology, students will be invited to engage in focused research around various technologies to serve as an inflection point for the cultural assumptions undergirding the intersection of teaching and learning with technology. What’s arguably unique about this course is that students will work both independently and together to create a series of video segments wherein their research will be shared more broadly as part of an 1980s themed educational video series for kids. So, the course will oscillate amongst several elements: broad reading, focused research, and applied creative video production.

LDES 7301: Studies in Higher Education

Studies in Higher Education will explore the varied and complex forces reshaping higher education. We start with change drivers outside of academia, including demographic, macroeconomic, and policy trends. We then address forces within higher education, such as new credentials, enrollment changes, the role of the library, tuition, and access. Next, we dig into digital technologies and their impact on colleges and universities. For final projects students will produce scenarios for possible future campuses.

LDES 705: Learning Design for Social Justice in Higher Education

From mission statements to admissions protocols, commitments to the concept of diversity are plentiful in academia. While the past two decades have seen an increased use of the concept of ‘diversity’ in higher education, how has the proliferation of the concept impacted access and equity in academia? Do these statements of principle always translate into change in classrooms and on campuses? In order to answer these questions, this course will explore the effects of initiatives aimed at bringing about more equitable outcomes for students in higher education, with attention to faculty development, student support services, curricular interventions, policy changes, and the role of students as agents of change. Throughout the course, students will work on designing interventions aimed at responding to a problematic surrounding equity and inclusion in higher education.

LDES 706: Higher Education & the Liberal Arts Tradition

What is the purpose of Higher Education? Is it about learning a skill to get a job? Is it about life-long learning? Research and scholarship? Or, is it about individual formation and personal growth? And, how did it become these things? This course will explore these and other questions in an attempt to understand how higher education contributes to the social and civic good while providing a foundation for individual responsibility and what we might call human dignity. As we think about designing for higher education, it is ever more important to understand the foundations of higher education in our society and its relationship to our culture. The content of the course will be organized according to three elements: history, language, and interpretation. The historical element will involve reading and discussion of texts from the Western educational tradition, especially the so-called “Liberal Arts” tradition., e.g., Plato and Aristotle; Dewey, and contemporary critics of Higher Education. The linguistic element will engage consequences of the “Linguistic Turn” that, characterizes the cultural evolution of the late 19th, the 20th, and the early 21st centuries, e. g., Existentialism, Wittgenstein, Derrida, Borges, neuroscience and digital technology. The interpretive element will explore the implications of the changing status of knowledge, scientific method, digital technology and artificial intelligence in contemporary culture, e.g. Thomas Kuhn, Lyotard, Foucault. Our hope is that by the end of this course you will gain a solid historical and theoretical foundation for understanding the role of higher education in society and the formation of the individual for the common good, while also developing the tools and methods for interrogating these very concepts.

LDES 707: Emerging Technology and Education

In this class we explore emerging technologies and their uses for learning. “Emerging” is defined as still in nascent levels of adoption by higher education, and will include: 360 video capture, gaming, 3d printing, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality. We will approach these technologies through a combination of hands-on work, following current analysis, and reading critical technology studies. Finally, we will examine current and emergent pedagogies associated with these digital tools and platforms.

Educational gaming will play a key role in this class, given its richness as well as the way it connects with many other technologies. Our exploration will include critically assessing the gaming world, playing exemplary digital and tabletop games, and investigating the theory and practice of games in learning and gamification. Games as learning objects, gamification and gamified classes, the transfer and assessment of game-based learning, representation within games, criticisms of gamification, and students as creators of games and game content are some of the topics the class will pursue.

Students will explore these new forms of computer-mediated learning in a constructive way. They will collaboratively and continuously build a shared class resource on the technologies and their pedagogies. They will also create materials using some of the technologies. Further, it is expected that students will gradually focus on one technology and its pedagogical affordances. Their final project will combine a detailed proposal for an educational project based on one of these technologies (a class, a major, or even an institution) with a creative work, a presentation, a game, or mocked-up class content created with the same or related technology.

LDES 7101: Creativity and Design

Creativity is at the heart of many of the most meaningful human experiences and enterprises, including vibrant design. But what is creativity? Where does it come from? How does it work, and how can it inform our work? How could we design learning experiences to foster and support creativity? In this class, we’ll sample many perspectives—scientific, spiritual, self-help, and the lived experiences of creators themselves—in our attempts to explore and understand creativity and the creative process, with particular attention to the way it can play out in the work of designing learning experiences. In addition to analytical activities (discussing and writing about these ideas), students will also apply the concepts to their own creative projects, projects they will work on during the course of the class.

LDES 710: Narratives of Teaching and Learning

The university is the setting of many novels, stories, plays, and films. But how well do these texts represent the actual experience of teaching and learning? What do they tell us about what distinguishes an effective classroom from a bad one, or about what motivates or hinders learning? What do they get right, and what do they miss or distort? How have these texts changed as higher ed has changed? These and other questions will drive our work in this seminar, as we look at a range of novels, stories, plays, and films that depict the work students and teachers do together alongside readings on theories of teaching and learning. In addition, we will look at a selection of critical works on the history and evolution of higher education in order to put the fictional texts in dialogue with the larger critical conversation about how higher education works. You’ll be asked to write a series of brief responses to these texts, as well as to draft and revise a longer project.

LDES 7102: Gaming, Design, and Education

This class explores the intersection of gaming, education, design, and technology. We will explore both digital and tabletop games as students play, study, and build them, combining scholarship, creativity, and reflective analysis. This approach lets us explore a series of major themes, including: the nature of games; storytelling; access and accessibility; interactive design; how we learn through games. The class structure combines hands-on work (and play), discussion, computer-mediated conversation, and presentations.

 LDES 7302: Critical Speculative Design for Anti-Racism

How do the interwoven histories of slaveholding and colonialism shape the current landscape of higher education? In what ways do their shadows restrain our designs for the future of universities? By situating the role of critical speculation as central to a liberatory design process, this course asks how higher education can be transformed, reimagined and reoriented towards building an anti-racist future. Against the backdrop of the 2020 uprisings for racial justice and the global coronavirus pandemic, the intertwined relations of power that shape our world have come into sharp relief, all while our habitual modes of learning, living and survival have been emphatically interrupted. Taking the present unravelling as a point of departure for learning about the past and present of racism and higher education, we will ask what possibilities exist at this juncture that can allow us to harness the power of our imaginations to build new institutions of learning.

LDES 7401: Practical Learning Analytics using R 

R is an open-source programming language that lends itself particularly well to data analysis, as it is easy for developers from around the world to create add-on packages to suit almost any dataset, purpose, framework, and field. This course will provide an introduction to the basic syntax of the R environment and a functionally-oriented tour of the RStudio interface, followed by some hands-on experience with vectors and dataframes. In addition, the course will offer a deeper exploration of a single complex dataset, with an introduction to manipulation and visualization of data with dplyr and ggplot2 respectively.

LDES 7104: Societal Institutions and the Learner

In this interdisciplinary course, we will examine and interrogate  the development of the individual in the context of relationships within both formal and informal societal institutions. Our broader contexts in the world make up a lot of who we are and our decision making and thus naturally are very influential in how we learn, what we learn, and why we learn. Understanding how those influences work can inform educational systems and approaches can make us better educators and education designers.

LDES 5112: Portfolio Writing

The Portfolio Writing course will offer an enhanced focus on the development of students’ electronic portfolios. Through design and writing exercises, students will work towards creating and iterating a cohesive portfolio, which includes understanding who their audience is, what the larger purpose of the portfolio is, as well as ways to tell their professional narrative across audiences. The course will also focus on building the digital skills necessary to create and maintain portfolios. Above all, however, the course will give students the opportunity to reflect on who they are and who they aspire to be, and how to use an online tool like an ePortfolio/website to achieve their personal and professional goals.