The Learning and Performance Technology Graduate Program (LAPT) at UMBC is specifically designed to help Instructional Designers learn and grow. The program is portfolio-based. This feature allows students to build a tangible working portfolio that becomes their intellectual property. From the very first course, the LAPT student engages with the field of ISD by designing their first design plan, the critical component to the ADDIE model of the ISD field. From that first course, students learn to analyze, design, develop, implement and evaluate training courses, performance gap solutions, as well as classroom instruction.
Learn more about this program:
Dennise Cardona 0:00
Welcome to UMBC's Mic'd Up podcast. My name is Dennise Cardona. And I am from the Office of professional programs at umbc. Today, I am joined by Dr. Greg Williams, the graduate program director for Learning and Performance technology graduate programs at UMBC and Dr. Chuck Hodell, the associate graduate program director for the learning performance technology program. Today, we're going to talk about this program, and the many benefits that it offers. We are so happy to have you here to talk about the Learning and Performance technology graduate program at UMBC. I am part of the program. And I'm in my third class in and today is my last class of the semester. So I will be officially done with three courses in the program. And I am loving it so far. But I am sure that we have viewers on here that have never heard about you nbcs graduate program in Learning and Performance technology. So if you could give us a little brief overview, that would be helpful.
Dr. Greg Williams 1:01
Sure. Yeah. Let me make a couple of points here that I think are important. Before I get into the brief overview, when I took over this program is the program director in 2000. And for one of the things I wanted to do was assess the health of the program. And I wanted to figure out what's going on. Is this program working? If Do we need to make changes? And I talked to current students, I've talked to alumni, I talked to employers, I talked to faculty. And everybody said, yeah, we can make some some changes that didn't need major surgery. But the thing that I really took away from the program was that it was all about Career Career Career, and it's about with students and alumni, it was about getting a job, it was about getting a more meaningful job. It was getting the job they actually cared about it was getting a job that got them out of bed that morning. So the career theme from Dr. Cook in the late 60s, up until now has always been very important. And when I, you know, looked at the name of our program, we've had some theme changes over the years we've, we've adapted. And what I looked at now is you know, for Learning and Performance technology, one of the things was, I wanted a term that would kind of capture a lot of all we do, because we have a number of different certificate programs, we have the ISD certificate program, which is our strongest program, we have the E learning program, we have the Instructional Technology program. So all those programs can kind of fit in and dovetail with the Master's in the word technology might be funny to some people, because if you look up the word technology, most people would think it relates to computer technology, at least people now but it really talks about the scientific Apple that the apply the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes. And that's, I think, a large part of what instructional designers do, actually. So we're not taking anything away from what we already had. We're adding to it. And what I think is important is again, if you're working as an instructional designer, or a learning architect, there's lots of things they give people now, you might be working in an office in an organization where you are doing instructional design, you're doing training, you're creating job aids you're doing in internal consulting, and they come to you because well, you're the you're the person that helps people improve their performance. And I think that is important and noteworthy. Sometimes that might be coaching, sometimes that might be creating and putting the whole group of people through through the course sometimes it's both, sometimes it's none of those things. But I think that's going to continue to change. So what we're trying to do is arm people with more knowledge and skills, where they can address a multitude of scenarios, and challenges of successfully. One of the things we like to we like the way the program is structured is that students can start out in a variety of certificates. We also are partnering now with industrial organizational psychology, where students can take some of those, those courses. So I think we're being very entrepreneurial in terms of, you know, how we're looking at this, you know, we students can come and take they have a talent training and talent development. They have an organizational consulting, and I've consulted with Elliott who runs a The, the program, and I it was one of the reasons why I want our program to move from education to psychology because it gives us a lot more flexibility and it really kind of puts us in our wheelhouse and there's a lot in common that we have with the IO psych program and I think we're all We're starting to, to build on that. So, you know, the instructional design certificate program is not going anywhere. It had, you know, we're so proud of Chuck, and his contributions to the program, that program again, it's not going anywhere, it's it's going to remain. And we just look at the Learning and Performance technology, as kind of, you know, a new chapter, maybe 20 years from now, we're gonna call it something different. I don't know what I don't know.
Dr. Chuck Hodell 5:32
Well, Greg, one thing is so incredible about this program, it has evolved and new names, you know, we got to fit the times. That's, that's what you do. But I don't think a lot of people realize this was the first graduate program at UMBC. And it was 1968. When you know you NBC was a shadow of what it is today in so many different ways. And to think that this program is not only survived, but evolved to the point it is now with all of these graduates and all these incredible success stories that have come out of here. And I think it's perfectly fitting and well that it's matured. And from being a student in this program with with Dr. Cook, and having the honor of being able to teach in this program and serve in this program. It's something people are proud of. There are so many alarms out there that the first thing that they want to talk about is this program, and what it meant to them and how it changed their lives. And lots of graduate programs impact people in very strong ways and in wonderful ways. But there's something different about this group of people that have been in this program, and two of my sons have gotten graduate credentials from this program. And I think you find that a lot that this becomes just almost embedded in your life and in your family. And it's hard for me now, maybe I'm unique that I can't separate the program from what I do. I mean, it just it's part of me is my identity too. And since you've been in here, you've made some incredibly good changes. And it's it's pushed it in the right direction. We have to honor Dr. Cook we have recently passed, but he was so proud of you so proud of us. And it was that kind of leadership and that kind of forethought back in the 60s, that laid the foundation for the incredible things that happened today.
Dennise Cardona 7:24
Absolutely, it's an amazing program. And Dr. Cook was an amazing person, I had the pleasure of meeting him at the ISD forums, and he was always just very cordial and so proud of the program. And where you both have taken this program, because I've seen it mature in my 14 years at UMBC. Before I became a student in it. I want I've been marketing this program for 14 years, I've loved working with everybody involved you, Greg chalk, and all of the faculty, the instructors, they're all so passionate. And the students, the alumni, what I loved about and what I miss most about the ISD forums was that sense of community, everybody just coming back to campus and interacting. I the networking was so powerful. And who knows, maybe, maybe once we get back to normal living again, we can have a version of that again, at some point. But it's a community of learners. And that's what I feel as a student, but also as a staff member at UMBC, it's to me one of the strongest programs that I've worked with, because and maybe it's because I have an affinity to the subject matter, and everybody involved in it. But I just I really feel it's a really strong program that deeply rooted and just full of amazing people. Now, let's talk a little bit for people who are not familiar with the program, about how the program itself can help students to succeed in the field.
Dr. Greg Williams 9:04
Sure, I think, you know, one of the things that program does a good job with is that it apply. It provides opportunities for them to apply their skills with real clients from their very first course, I would say there's not a whole lot of graduate programs, that that that do that. And some people probably think we're crazy. It's like, well, you let graduate students loose on organizations. And it's like, well, yeah, we do and I don't recall ever having a big problem with that. If you chuck
Dr. Chuck Hodell 9:40
I'd say the biggest problem is we have too much energy where some employers
Dr. Greg Williams 9:46
so we're we're I think the the the benefits that we provide students, I think the applied knowledge of what they're doing in terms of creating work samples to create a portfolio You know, we did that probably about eight or nine years ago, I'm losing track when we actually did that. But students create a portfolio that is portable, they can, you know, take that with them. Another thing that I think is very important is the community of learners. I help a lot of people I mentor a fair amount of people with with their careers. And what I've realized is, I've seen research out there that talks about anywhere from two thirds to three quarters of the jobs that are available, or not advertised. So that begs the question, well, gee, Greg, how do you find out about those jobs, and it's through people, and we have a built in community when you mentioned, our, our programs name, the instructional design program, now the lsvt program, it's been around for nearly 50 years, and people know it. And there's people that will say, yeah, if you graduate from that program, you know what you're doing. So we do have a good alumni network that we have for students to be to be a part of. The other thing that I think is important for our program, too, is the the access to our faculty. Our faculty are not somebody that they're teaching this course for the very first time. Probably three quarters of our faculty have, you know, more than 15 years of experience teaching with us. And, you know, they're practitioners in the field, they're not somebody who was given a syllabus a couple of months before a class in the textbook, and they say, here, go at it. These are people who actually are doing cutting edge work in the field. And you know, we're so fortunate that they're a part of our program, I always say that the most important thing that I do is hiring the right people. Because if we did everything else, right, and we didn't have good faculty, the other things we've done right would be meaningless. It's like, well, who cares if your registration system is perfect? Your your faculty, they stink, and they don't
Dr. Chuck Hodell 12:04
worry about me, because you didn't hire me. So you're saying, you know, I think it's so important to because one of the things I'm most proud of, and I actually put in the acknowledgments of my new book, is the fact that our students go on and teaching this program. And it's not because we can't find people to teach, because we have, you know, files for people who love to teach this program. But our students come out of this with a different sense of, of how to do things and how to do things well. And I've taught, I mean, I don't want to say how long but it's, it's over 80, straight terms of 62, I started teaching a 93, which makes me 107. And I'm okay with that. I hope I'm teaching 147 because it's not teaching them it's not work. And that's what everybody in this program teaches, has the same attitude about it. These are our peers, these are the people that we want to mentor. And that relationship from my experience, and I've been an academic administrator, I've been a deputy Provost, I've been up and down that flagpole with working with faculty and others. And I've never seen anything that even comes close to the way people align and care about this professionally and personally. And yeah, the faculty is different, and every program will tell you their faculty is different. Okay, prove it, Chuck. And the way I would prove it is all these people are accomplished in this field. They all don't need this work. They don't need to teach a course they don't need to prove themselves, they don't need the credential. They're doing this to give back. They're doing this because they love this work. And they love these students. And that's certainly the case with me and everybody else. And I know that because I've talked to them about this. And it's a different relationship in this program, and I think opens the door for students to look in and say, Well, you know what this is not just go to class and get a grade This is come to class and meet people and create a social network, and be mentored and be part of something that's bigger than I am. And let me learn from my mistakes with people that have made these mistakes, too. And the other thing I find amazing in our faculty, Greg is there's no egos here. There's not a single ounce of ego in this faculty anywhere and never has been. And part of that comes from Dr. Cook, who would have smacked it out if you had it because you had heard it. But mostly because we're just here to give back. I mean, it's a unique faculty and I truly believe that
Dennise Cardona 14:39
that's the sense I get as a student of the program. I so far the three instructors I've had and yes, Chuck, you are one of them. It's really Hey, I'm here with you. Look at that.
Dr. Chuck Hodell 14:52
I'm sorry, I know.
Dennise Cardona 14:54
I am drinking up all your knowledge because it's valuable and you care about your students. Each and every be one of them. It's so apparent in everything I've seen. And the same for the other two instructors I've had in the program, amazingly supportive, and just gentle and really nurturing and encouraging. It's wonderful it feels when I go to class, I feel like something really special is happening. And with everybody involved in it. So that's just coming from me from somebody who I haven't been to school in a long time. And from day one, I felt welcomed here as a student. So kudos, I feel a lot of umpc retriever pride right now. So I'm really feeling this vibe. Great. Yeah, absolutely. Greg, from speaking of pride and enjoying the program and such like that, in terms of what, how can students get the most out of this program out of their experience here? If you had any advice for somebody coming into the program, what would you say to them to get that professional level you're looking for?
Dr. Greg Williams 16:03
I would say, because you you do projects in nearly every course, I would say choose challenging projects, choose projects that meet a need in the field, in the industry in the community, because that's how you get noticed, I would make sure that you're communicating with this Chuck kind of alluded to your fellow students. Because it, you could have somebody in your class right now that five years from now might hire you to do a director level job, you just don't know it. Things like that have happened before. So I would say you have a great opportunity to meet and get to know and work with some great people who are your, your fellow students. And it's not just showing up doing your work, as Chuck mentioned, then going home, it's engaging in the process, because whether we like it or not, this is how most jobs are, are landed these days. So it's not just enough where somebody says, you know, well, I'm going to recommend Greg for the job, well, you better recommend Greg who can actually do the job, your recommendation looks pretty hollow. In fact, it makes you look stupid, if you go ahead and do that. So the word networking is overused. But it's very important. And the other thing you want to meet people in your classes and elsewhere to is that, you know, being in a class is is formal learning, but most of what we learn is really informal learning. And what do we do we learn through people, people that we work with people that we go to school with. So the more people you meet, the more not only are you expanding your network, but an opportunities for you to develop professionally. Okay, network is just not about getting jobs. But I think it's about learning as well. And, you know, we we learn through people. So I think those are some of the ways that our program is kind of separate and apart. And I think maybe, you know, ahead of a number of other programs,
Dr. Chuck Hodell 18:08
a one piece of advice that I think if you're watching this, you're thinking about, gee, do I want to get into graduate program, I have a PhD, I'm already have Master's, I haven't been in school, 15 2030 years, never been online. And this is an online program. And all those things. Don't worry about them. And if you're at all concerned about whether this is a good fit for you in terms of the content, or the way it works, or the people that are here, the faculty, the nice thing about this program is you can come in and take one course, come in take six or two, and just see if you like this program, or this content, or anything else, if you don't, you're out a very small registration fee to get a certificate. And you can move on and what have you. But if you like it, you can use your certificate courses towards your master's degree, if you choose to do that. All of our certificates count towards the masters, and try it and just see if it fits for you. And I have to say over the years, that most people that come in with that attitude, it's like some of them are just well show me, you know, show me this is a good program. Okay. We'll do the Missouri approach, we will show and, you know, I have to say that I can't think of 10 people that that came in and tried and took a course that didn't think it was a good program. You'll have some people that just don't want to be instructional designers or are just it wasn't the content they expected. But even that number is so incredibly small. And I don't know what our completion rates are. I haven't seen them for a while but they are high. People take our courses and they get good grades and they go on and get their certificates with their masters. And if you're thinking about it, just apply for a certificate, come in and try a course and see if we fit we'll see if we match your interest in your level of participation and just the feel for for what you have in our courses
Dr. Greg Williams 20:08
and is chucking adventure to this, the certificates kind of fit hand in glove with the master. So when you earn the certificate, then you're you know, well on your way to, you know, earning, earning the masters. And you know that that's by design, we kind of thought that through, we're not perfect, but that was one that, you know, I think makes a lot of sense. And we continue to do.
Dennise Cardona 20:29
I think that's a great idea. I really do. And I will say that one of the the greatest benefits, I would say, being a student, I love the peer engagement and the faculty engagement, I wanted to talk about that a little bit, because I think that's really important for anyone who's considering this graduate program. And maybe they don't understand the context of how to build a network, maybe they're a little shy, and they, they're not the kind of person who wants to build a network, they're just feeling makes them scared. What I would say is because of the the way this program is set up online, it's set up in such a way that it provides that supportive environment to be able to network professionally, in a way that you're you're embracing that learning factor that you were talking about Greg going in there and embracing the learning, because that really is the pinnacle of the program. I loved. I love when I go into the discussion boards, and I read what other people are talking about that what they're doing with their life, their the day, the day in the office, the learning and the lessons that they're bringing into the classroom. And then from there, it teaches you how to think critically, and it teaches you how to analyze what they're saying, be able to break it apart, and be able to say, be able to learn to extract a lesson from that as well and be able to apply that to your own learning. And then to be able to contribute to that discussion is invaluable. That, to me is the most that's the most special piece so far that I've taken away from this program is being able to interact with people through their experiences. It's a perfect driver of conversation. And for those people who are feeling they're nervous about that aspect of it. Because I was I'll be honest, I was nervous about that. I thought, What am I going to contribute at 51 years old, I haven't been to college, I graduated in 97, what am I going to contribute, and everybody just supports each other. And they they, they encourage you when you post they encourage you and then so you want to go encourage them. And it's just a great spirit of collaboration.
Dr. Chuck Hodell 22:39
Well, one of the nice things about this program, which is should be obvious, but isn't, is aware instructional designers. So instructional designers that design courses that instructional designers deliver for instructional designers, you know, starting to chase my tail here. But the point being that we understand how to create community. And one of the things that you will find every course in this program is community. It's the first thing that I tried to do in every course that I teach online in this program, is I want everybody to feel like they're home, when they log in and getting a computer and getting that discussion board or sitting there doing the readings, I want them to feel like they're sitting around the group of their peers and their friends. And you can do that online, it gets a little tricky sometimes. But you can do that. And a lot of it comes from the instructors, but a lot of it comes with design of the course too. So if instructional designers can't design courses, then how much faith in the program. But I can assure you that everybody on this faculty can design an incredible course. And it's all about you as a student. It's not about us. It's not about the administration. It's not about anybody else. It's about you, as a student, we want you to be there, we want you to be happy with your experience. We're going to work yeah, everything's rigorous, you are going to work your rear end off. But that's okay. Because people who graduate with a certificate or master's degree from this program, it's recognized that they've earned it, and you will learn it, but you will also be part of this family and you will be part of this community.
Dennise Cardona 24:08
Well said, Absolutely. Well said. The only last question I have Greg is about the internship portion of the curriculum. In addition to the portfolio based curriculum, there is an internship component. Can you talk a little bit about that and what that entails?
Dr. Greg Williams 24:24
Sure. The internship is an applied field experience that culminates at the end of the students program. And essentially, we run it from a perspective of maybe three different angles, you can satisfy the requirement, several different ways. One, you could do the the old school internship where you were before COVID-19, you would actually show up at a place of work, you would be a a staff, you know, graduate staff, student, whatever, and you'd be on their instructional design staff for that. training staff. So that's, that's one option. Another option is you can go out and find me, we can find you an organization where you could do the internship, or you can find one on your own and then vetted through me, and then complete your internship that way, because most people will say, I'm working full time, I can't spend, you know, 40 hours a week there. So we do it on kind of like a consulting model, where essentially you go and you, you know, have the initial meeting, and you do the analysis. And you basically say, Okay, here's, here's what I think you need, and you write it down, and you craft the deliverables. Well, where you do those deliverables is really up to you and the client, you don't physically have to be on on site. And particularly with COVID-19. We know that's happening, and even even less. So that that's the other way. The third way is you can do your internship at your place of work. The biggest requirement is it just can't be business as usual, there has to be a new project new learning involved. So again, I think, you know, our philosophy is we want to be as flexible and as adaptable as possible. That doesn't mean we sacrifice quality I don't think we do. And we provide students with those three ways of addressing the internship requirement.
Dr. Chuck Hodell 26:27
If you remember that you don't have to worry about an internship as if you're going to take the masters. And I encourage you to take the Masters obviously, because I think it's a credential that you will use rest of your life. If you're in a certificate, as Greg said earlier, we're going to steer you towards doing practical projects that you can use in the portfolio, or show off your work or what have you. So if you're just thinking about a certificate internship won't be an issue for you. But I encourage you to look at these all of these certificates as building blocks to that Master's credential.
Dennise Cardona 27:02
Yeah, if this has been very helpful, and I hope it's been helpful to our listeners as well. If you are interested in the Learning and Performance technology graduate program at UBC, we welcome you to come to our website, which is la PT dot you nbc.edu and check it out. It's been a pleasure and we hope that you enjoyed this