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OPWL testimonial: Tona Brewer, class of 2008

Prior to 2013, Boise State University’s online Master of Science in Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning (OPWL) was known as the Master of Science in Instructional and Performance Technology (IPT).

Tona Brewer
Tona Brewer

I am very glad that I chose to pursue my degree through the IPT program at Boise State. I began my Master’s program at another (non-online) university, pursuing an M.A. in Adult Education. While I enjoyed my program and my professors, I found much of the course work too focused on academia and not grounded in the corporate environment where I’ve chose my career.

During my early studies I became familiar with Human Performance Technology and saw how going beyond simply “training” could make a real impact on the workforce and add value to what I bring to an organization. I began to search for programs offering coursework specifically in this area and found the IPT program to be very well recommended.

Initially, I was skeptical about pursuing a graduate degree online. The experience exceeded my expectations in every way:

  • The flexibility of an online program makes it much easier to fit course work into a busy schedule. I also found that instead of just learning on Monday and Wednesday evenings (for example) that being able to check discussion boards throughout the week and during my lunch break at work led to a continuous learning experience.
  • I had initially thought that an online program might be “easier,” instead I found that the rigor of this program far exceeded that of my previous university. While that required much more of a commitment on my part, it also better prepared me to meet the needs of my career. I believe I have graduate feeling more confident and competent that I would have otherwise.
  • Everything I have learned in this program has had a practical application to the work I do on the job. Working with classmates-and faculty-from across the nation and the world provides more perspectives that you might get locally.
  • I may have feared missing the friendships and networking that I found at a local university, but instead I have made close friends from across the nation, with whom I remain in touch.
  • The variety of activities, including discussions and group work, meet different learning styles. You are given the opportunity to learn not just from the faculty and the texts, but also from the depth and breadth of your classmates’ experiences and from your own self-reflection.
  • The nature of the discussion boards gives everyone a chance to contribute and to be heard. Without exception, the faculty has modeled the best practices of instruction that they teach.

Finally, I would like to add that the staff went above and beyond in helping me to complete the application process and track down my undergraduate graduates, smoothly transfer my graduate credits, apply to take my exam, apply for graduation and handle other issues that arose.

I would recommend the IPT program to anyone pursuing a career in instructional technology, performance technology, process improvement, consulting or otherwise looking to make a difference in organizations today.