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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. 

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.
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Program Core Courses

(14 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 500: 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 501: 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 502: 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 503: 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 504: 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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Design Studio

(6 credit hours · 3 courses)

The Design Studio enables students to apply what they are learning in their coursework to their own projects. In Design Studio students will refine, test, and reflect on the projects and design and develop their ePortfolio. During their graduating semester, students participate in a Gallery Walk where they present their draft ePortfolio for peer and instructor feedback.


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.


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Elective Courses

(10 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 510/511/512: Higher Education’s Big Rethink

The current moment is likely to be one of the most consequential periods in the history of U.S. higher education, as the rapid disruption and adaptation to the COVID-19 pandemic in spring, and the recent escalation of demands to improve racial justice and systemic inequality, are converging. The power of this convergence, with all its racial, economic, social and cultural impacts, offers the potential for an unprecedented rethinking of higher education’s practices and models (hence, “Higher Education’s Big Rethink”). COVID-19 adaptations have freshly opened up questions about the value of higher education, the role of teaching quality and its impact on learning, equitable access, and the role of learning design and its impact on lasting institutional change. The national response to the epidemic of systemic racism has freshly opened up questions about racial justice, structural inequalities, inclusion, power and privilege that highlight how difficult the complex system of higher education is to change precisely because it is entangled with the systems of inequality that it is designed to redress. Higher Education’s Big Rethink is a multi-layered, two-part course and community learning event that will follow and interpret this dramatic story by examining the summer’s complex planning and preparation phase, followed by the fall’s execution phase that will likely have far-reaching consequences for institutions and the future of higher education. Through interviews, case studies, story analysis, data mapping and community interaction we will explore the potential for transformation in the current nexus of crises and response.

LDES 602: Introduction to 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. Day one of 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. Day two of 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 605: Intro to Domains of One’s Own

Introduction to Domain of One’s Own will introduce students to the philosophy behind the project, the pedagogical possibilities of students having their own Domains, as well as hands-on work on their own Domains. From its start, Domains was always a project that sought to empower students on the Web, to develop a deeper understanding of the workings of the Web, as well as ensuring that they understood their privacy and controlled their own data. It was always about building, experimenting, breaking, fixing, and learning as you do. This course will explore examples of Domains projects from other institutions, as well as some practical skills in C-Panel and WordPress.

LDES 607: Blockchain in Education

Until recently the approach to security and privacy in the storage of digital information has relied on the same paradigm used since the dawn of humankind. Protect the perimeter, build a fortress, and guard the borders. Today with the advent of strong cryptography and decentralized systems, we can protect information more effectively by making lots of copies of it and distributing it to many different places. This course will look at that surprising outcome and delve into the new technologies of trust: blockchains, decentralized ledgers, the logic that makes them work. To get there will consider the examples of the technologies themselves, from transparent public ledgers, to public permissioned ledgers, to permissioned private ledgers. These are all flavors of the blockchain. But blockchains are giving way to another form of ledger, directed acyclic graphs. With an understanding of how they will consider the applications for which they are most suited, and the governance required for them to work effectively. Ultimately, distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) represent the first time we can design systems that implement computational trust, and the most important place where trust is needed is our own identity. Is this a pandora’s box or a panacea for future well-being? Let’s consider this together.

LDES 701: Mixed Methods

This course is designed for students who wish to develop the ability to interpret peer-reviewed research in learning analytics and intersecting fields. Students will think intentionally about research philosophies and the research design process, gaining insights into the decisions made by researchers at various stages of a project. Of particular interest will be researchers’ argumentation strategies for communicating the purpose, generalizability, and importance of their work.

This class will be primarily discussion- and workshop-based. Through weekly reading discussions, students will come to be exposed to a multiplicity of research designs and explore the broad scope and growth potential of the field of learning analytics. Research materials to support an ongoing semester-long research project will be designed in weekly workshops, progressing from the initial stages of hypothesis formation to the final stages of analysis, conclusions, and broader impacts. Students will end the semester with a completed pilot of a research project as well as an intentional strategy for interpretation and communication around that project.

LDES 702: 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 703: 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 709: 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 711: 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 713: 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.