The Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning (OPWL) department started out as an MS degree program in Instructional & Performance Technology (IPT) in 1988. In that same year, the program received a grant for developing an online degree program in Instructional Technology for the United States National Guard. With that grant, the IPT program began offering online courses via a DOS-based computer-conferencing system to 33 students from across the country and Canada.
In 1997, the IPT program becomes a department of the College of Engineering as its first graduate program offering. Due to the popularity of the program, the department began offering courses entirely online in 2012 and changed its name to OPWL the following year to clearly reflect its mission. The OPWL department educates professionals to be able to conduct careful analyses and engineer multi-dimensional interventions to solve their organizational problems. With the focus on engineering human and organizational systems, OPWL finds the College of Engineering to be a unique and fitting home.
The OPWL student body is comprised of workplace learning and organizational development professionals employed at Amazon, Google, Boeing, Micron, HP, hospitals, restaurants, retail, finance, the military, federal agencies, and in numerous industry start-ups. Students can complete an MS degree in OPWL, and/or graduate certificate programs in workplace instructional design (WIDe), workplace e-learning and performance support, (WELPS), and workplace performance improvement (WPI).
Thirty years ago, the program started with one full-time faculty member and approximately 50 on-campus and online students. Today, the OPWL department has eight full-time faculty members and three staff members, supporting an active student body of over 200 students as well as nearly 1000 graduates from around the world.
About the OPWL Program
The Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning (OPWL) program helps prepare students for careers in the areas of instructional design, training and development, e-learning, workplace performance improvement, organizational development, program evaluation and performance consulting.