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OPWL testimonial: Transitioning teacher testimonials

This blog post contains testimonials from students of Boise State University’s online Master of Science in Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning (OPWL), classes of 2020 to present.


debi beardenDebi Bearden, Current Student

Graduate Certificate in WIDe

I came to the OPWL program with years of experience as a K-12 teacher and was seeking a career change into the field of instructional design. My experience in the OPWL program at BSU built on and strengthened my instructional design skill set.  It also inspired my professional networking which positioned me to pivot into my new career path before even completing the MS!  Whether designing a project for an internship or collaborating with a career coach, these opportunities through the OPWL program not only allowed me to put into practice what I learned in my classes, but they also built my confidence through participating on real world instructional design projects.  Thanks to the OPWL program I have successfully launched my instructional design career!


aaron jacobsenAaron Jacobsen, Class of 2022

Instructional Designer

I transitioned from being a high school teacher to instructional designer because I had a passion for designing curriculum and creating learning experiences as well as eLearning.

The experience working with real clients on real Instructional Design projects, Needs Assessments, and Evaluation projects gave me the experience I needed to land my new job at Macking Talent where I will be working with Google to create eLearning courses.

I couldn’t have done it without the feedback on my portfolio from Dr. da Silva and Dr. Roy and all those projects through the OPWL program and the internship I got through the OPWL program!


austin potterAustin Potter, Class of 2020

Instructional Designer
The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds

Graduate Certificate in WIDe

I was a teacher for four years before I discovered the instructional design profession. I had always been technologically inclined and thought it would be a good way to pivot out of teaching. After some extensive investigation, I decided I needed to get a masters certificate if I wanted to stand above the crowd in this field. After browsing a few other schools, I came across the OPWL program at Boise State and decided to enroll.

The classes I took at Boise State were crucial in preparing me for the instructional design industry. Most of the courses had some type of final project that I was able to use in my portfolio, which helped immensely when I started looking for a job. After only a couple semesters I felt like I had already gained a lot of knowledge.

After graduating in December of 2020 with my Graduate Certificate in Workplace Instructional Design, I started to apply to jobs and immediately started getting call backs! By January, I had accepted a job as an instructional designer for The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds! I credit a lot of my success to the education I received at Boise State and would recommend that anyone who is serious about getting into the instructional design industry enroll in one of their fantastic programs.


danielle pattersonDanielle Patterson, Class of 2020

Colorado State University Online
Instructional Designer

I entered the ID, adult learning work space and made the transition from teacher to ID.

I’ve been hired on part time as an instructional systems designer for WTI, creating training materials for the Army. For this position I was sought out by the employer through Indeed. It was my project work at Boise State that caught his attention and gave him the confidence that I could do the work.

And because it’s always “feast or famine,” nothing or everything, I’ve also been offered a temporary, full time position with Colorado State University Online as an instructional designer. This position won’t start until January, but I am looking forward to it. It gives me time to get the other job down and develop a logical schedule for doing the work.

I’m so thankful for the OPWL program and am happy to have made the career transition.


kandi horsmanKandi Horsman, Class of 2020

Teacher Growth and Development Coordinator
School District

The MS OPWL degree program at Boise State University was instrumental in preparing me to successfully compete for a new position which marks the next chapter of my career. Although I started out at Boise State with a focus on the design and development of eLearning, during the WELPS Graduate Certificate I ended up discovering a passion for the entire field of performance improvement.

Boise State’s stellar OPWL professors create relevant and rigorous curricula informed by their experience in industry and consistently go above and beyond in their feedback. As a result of my studies, I was able to demonstrate on my resume not only the requisite knowledge and skills but also my ability to successfully apply my learning to real-world projects (for my courses, full-time job, and part-time consulting work) — and ultimately the value added to organizations as a result of these performance improvement efforts.

I look forward to leveraging my OPWL skill set as I collaborate with colleagues to support teachers’ continuous improvement. Preparation meets opportunity with an exciting new chapter in my career thanks to Boise State’s MS OPWL degree program!