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The online Master of Science in Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning courses prepare students for careers in instructional design, training and development, e-learning, workplace performance improvement, organizational development, program evaluation and performance consulting.

Content on this page is provided as a quick reference for planning your academic schedule. All official course descriptions and degree requirements are published on the graduate catalog site.

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Classes and Scheduling Options

Course Descriptions

Required Courses

OPWL 529 Needs Assessment

Through analysis of case studies, guided practice, field work, and other methods, students learn to use tools, data, and systematic methods to identify and assess current or future performance problems and their causes, and help decision makers target critical problems with feasible solutions. Students will conduct an authentic team project.

OPWL 530 Evaluation

Students learn how to conduct formative and summative evaluations of instructional or performance improvement programs implemented in organizations. Students explore principles, models, and frameworks for evaluation, and conduct a full-scale evaluation, working with real clients and stakeholders.

OPWL 535 Principles of Adult Learning

Students explore how contemporary adult learning theories and practices are applied to the field of workplace learning and performance improvement, particularly with respect to the instructional design process. They will investigate methods, strategies and technologies that are known to affect adult learners’ learning outcomes. Students will apply adult learning principles to organizational situations in industry, government, military, and non-profit settings.

OPWL 536 Foundations of Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning

Students study guiding principles of human performance improvement and apply relevant theories and models, from classic to contemporary, to real or realistic organizational situations in industry, government, military, and non-profit settings.

OPWL 537 Instructional Design

This course follows a systematic and systemic instructional design process and employs methods and strategies involved in designing effective instructional interventions for the workplace. Working with a real client, students complete a performance-oriented instructional design project in phases over the duration of the course.

OPWL 560 Workplace Performance Improvement

Students examine the process models, non-instructional solutions, professional practice issues, and future trends of performance improvement which aim to improve performance in the workplace. In a hands-on individual project, students practice applying the performance improvement process to recommend effective performance solutions.

Research Courses

OPWL 506 Survey Design and Data Analysis

Survey questionnaires are often used to assist data-driven decisions during needs assessments, evaluations, and other learning and performance improvement interventions. Using a theory-to-practice approach and based on research-based evidence and expert knowledge, this course teaches how to design survey instruments with closed-ended questions and how to analyze quantitative data.

OPWL 507 Interviews and Data Analysis

Interviews provide important data to professionals during needs assessment, evaluation, learning design, and change management. This course provides practical skills and tools necessary for planning and conducting individual and group interviews. It will also introduce evidence-based approaches to data analysis to facilitate data-driven decisions.

OPWL 508 Data Visualization

Visual representation of data is increasingly important for data-driven decision making. Data visualization techniques allow professionals to represent information and derive meaning of the data. Students learn the value of visualization, specific techniques in information and scientific visualization, and ways to leverage visualization methods.

OPWL 531 Quantitative Research in Organizations

Students will study quantitative approaches to organizational research such as metrics and estimation, along with descriptive statistics and data analysis using Excel. Students will become informed consumers, who will have a clear understanding around data and its analysis, presentation, and management to improve organizational decision-making and performance improvement.

Elective Courses

OPWL 518 Contracting and Consulting

Learn what is required for a successful contracting or consulting practice and explore steps they would need to take to be successful. Studies selected business requirements for self-employment, consultant-specific work products, and consulting scenarios. Assignments include creating a sample proposal and defining a contracting/consulting business.

OPWL 523 E-Learning Authoring and Development

Through hands-on practice, students demonstrate emerging foundational knowledge and skills required to use e-learning authoring tools and develop performance-based e-learning objects to support workplace learning. Students will produce a video, a web-based instructional module, a scenario-based e-learning object, and a final project with supporting design documentation.

OPWL 525 E-Learning Content Design and Learning Management Systems

Students will learn foundational principles for implementing e-learning solutions and learning management/content management systems. Students will evaluate e-learning demo programs and study the use of reusable learning objects, sharable content objects, metadata and e-learning standards in the current e-learning practice. Students will develop sample multimedia learning objects and implement them on a learning management system.

OPWL 527 Game-Based and Gamified Learning

Students will learn how to design engaging and interactive learning interventions using game-based learning (GBL) theories, as well as how to gamify the learning process by including game mechanics, game-design elements, and game principles to engage and motivate the learner to accomplish the desired learning outcomes.

OPWL 547 Learning Experience Design

This is a project-based, team-based course where students engage in human-centered approaches of learner experience design while managing the risks of creating innovative solutions, tackling complex problems, and thinking creatively in situations with significant constraints. Students apply experience design tools and practices, including design thinking, personas, ideation, and rapid prototyping.

OPWL 551 Storyboarding and Scenario-Based E-Learning

Students create a high-level design document and storyboard for a branching scenario-based e-learning object. Students also learn how to select a design approach best suited for learners who would access the e-learning via mobile devices, desktops, laptops, or any combination of those devices.

OPWL 570 Organizational Culture and Leadership

Students exposed to the characteristics that constitute culture in organizations. In addition, students learn how to define, identify, and purposefully influence culture to support organizational mission, values and goals. This is done through an examination of current theories and concepts and applying them to real-world examples of organizational cultures identified by the students and their own experiences.

OPWL 572 Project Management Fundamentals

Students explore project management definitions, planning, managing, and reviewing parts of projects, as well as, examining practical knowledge of the pieces of a project plan including project scope, work breakdown structure, schedules, and resources.

OPWL 577 Change Management

Students will learn basic principles related to the top-down and bottom-up change processes, and analytical and planning tools that can be used to facilitate change within an organization. Students will practice applying those principles and tools in real organizational situations.

OPWL 578 Performance Impact Beyond the Organization

Students will learn basic principles related to helping organizations plan, implement, and evaluate business practices that are environmentally, socially, and financially balanced. The course combines principles of design, systems thinking, change management, and evaluation.

OPWL 585 Selected Topics: Thinking in Systems

Thinking in Systems. May be repeated for credit.

OPWL 590 Practicum/Internship

To earn graduate credit you must have a 3.00 cumulative GPA and no more than 12 credits may be applied toward a graduate degree or second undergraduate degree. Some graduate programs, however, accept only 3 internship credits. Practicum/Internship cannot be repeated improve a grade. Either graded or pass/fail. Notes: An undergraduate internship is an entry level employment experience related to the discipline. The graduate intern already has an undergraduate degree and is expected to perform with a higher level of responsibility, decision-making authority, and accomplishment.

OPWL 595 Readings and Conference

The conduct of topical research, assigned readings or literature review. The faculty advisor and the student prepare and sign an agreement describing the amount and type of work to be accomplished. Either graded or pass/fail.

OPWL 596 Independent Study

Advanced study of a specialized topic; design and completion of a project may be included in the study. The student works with a high degree of Independence to meet well-defined goals under the supervision of a member of the graduate faculty. Requires submission of a completed Application for Graduate Independent Study prior to the deadline specified in the academic calendar. An independent study cannot be substituted for a course regularly offered at Boise State, nor can independent study credits be used to improve a grade in a course the student has already taken. Either graded or pass/fail.

OPWL 597 Special Topics - Planning for Workplace Inclusion

Organizations are increasingly responding to the need for initiatives that address workplace inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA). This course provides training and development and performance improvement professionals with real-world examples, strategies, and resources needed for planning and implementing IDEA initiatives.

OPWL 597 Special Topics - Facilitation Skills

This course focuses on effectively facilitating groups, the nature of groups and group dynamics, points of intervention, and effective use of group guidance tools. The course relies on a facilitation process model and case studies for practical applications. Theories of human values, decision-making, communication, conflict management and alike are used.

OPWL 597 Special Topics - Project Management Tools

Students will be introduced to project management tools that promote team collaboration, as well as understanding and management of a project, process, and workflow. Through this course, students will learn how to visualize and track project progress and manage tasks and schedule with project management tools.

OPWL 598 Seminar - Building a Professional Social Media Network

In this course, you will learn techniques to optimize your professional social media profile to build your professional presence online. This can help you build authentic relationships with peers and grow your own social capital which can lead to work or partnership opportunities during your career journey. This class requires weekly Zoom meetings that will be scheduled based on instructor and student availability.

Culminating Activity Courses

OPWL 592 Portfolio

A broad-based selection of significant student work that is used to appraise student performance and professional development. A portfolio reflects the depth and breadth of a student’s educational growth since entering the graduate program. Portfolios may include, but not be limited to, classroom examinations, journals, writing samples, publishable scholarship, professional projects, annotated bibliographies, and artistic endeavors, Pass/fail only.

OPWL 593 Thesis

Students conduct empirical research in an area related to IPT and report the results in the form of a thesis. May be repeated for credit.

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