Learning, Design, and Technology Program

The LDT program focuses on theoretically and ethically informed design, study, and advancement of learning environments that are technology-enhanced and culturally situated to support:

  • Social, racial, and climate justice
  • Equitable and inclusive pedagogies in pre-K-12 and higher education classrooms
  • Interest-driven learning environments in informal and everyday life
  • Design of systems, policies, platforms, and programs that provide high-quality learning for all
  • Advancing, designing and studying emerging learning technologies and learning environments in (and across) classrooms, workplaces, informal settings, and everyday cultural contexts

The Learning, Design, and Technology (LDT) Program embraces the mission and vision outlined in the College of Education’s Strategic Plan. This mission and vision statement is our commitment to implementing the College of Education’s strategic plan within the interdisciplinary field of Learning, Design, and Technology.

College’s Core Values:

ANTI-RACISM & RACIAL JUSTICE - We strive to actively identify, describe, counter, and dismantle individual, interpersonal, institutional, and structural racism in all components of our work.

TRANSFORMING EDUCATION - We are committed to changing education to promote and practice equity in collaboration with international, national, and community-based partners to ensure an equitable and just world.

LEARNING ACROSS THE LIFESPAN - We are committed to cultivating purposeful learning for individuals and communities throughout development, transitions, and contexts.

SYSTEMIC UNDERSTANDING AND AWARENESS - We embrace the synergy among efforts to mitigate climate change and to promote social justice, essential literacies grounded in deep and integrated disciplinary knowledge, mental health, and well-being in changing education for healthy communities and the world.

GLOBAL UNDERSTANDING AND INCLUSIVITY - We are committed to supporting the exchange of knowledge and furthering research that includes perspectives from and addresses issues pertinent to attaining education all around the globe.

Programs Offered by the LDT Department

The Ph.D. is a residential program offered on the University Park campus. Most Ph.D. graduates go on to take up jobs in the professoriate or director-level positions in academia, research labs, and corporate environments. The Ph.D. is an advanced research degree that entails 2-3 years of graduate coursework and culminates with the creation, implementation, and defense of a dissertation. As a doctoral student in LDT, you will engage in exploring, analyzing, and applying theories and frameworks related to learning, technology, and design to develop an area of research interest. You are expected to develop a broad understanding of foundations, theories and methods across the different areas that constitute the research landscape of learning, design, and technology. You will also learn to design, collect, and analyze data using qualitative, quantitative and/or mixed methods to understand, test and contribute to theory and knowledge in the field.

Doctoral Degree Objectives:

Upon completion of the doctoral degree, graduates should be able to:

  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge and understanding in the core knowledge areas of LDT (learning theories, design theories, technology and its applications in education and learning, learning sciences, etc.,).
  • Analyze literature and identify key areas of research and design in LDT.
  • Pose appropriate research questions and identify knowledge and methodologies needed to address them.
  • Apply knowledge and methodologies to create new knowledge in response to posed research questions.
  • Identify research and practical implications based on data analyses.
  • Develop professional positions and argue for those positions.
  • Demonstrate strong written and oral communication skills.
  • Communicate professionally to expert, practitioner, and lay audiences.
  • Provide leadership resulting in the extension of the professional and theoretical knowledge base.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of professional standards of ethics and conduct



The LDT program offers two Masters degrees – M.S. (Master of Science) and M.Ed. (Master of Education). These degrees include a combination of courses taken through the University Park Campus and the World Campus

Attention: International Master's LDT degree applicants - Due to the number of required courses offered exclusively online through Penn State University's World Campus, International applicants are not able to meet the student visa requirement throughout their degree program. Therefore, international students should only apply to Penn State University's Online M.Ed. Program!

M.S. (Residential)

The M.S. is a research-oriented graduate degree that prepares students to design, conduct, and evaluate research in the area of learning, design, and technology. This degree requires about 2 years of graduate coursework with a culminating master’s thesis that is a rigorous empirical or theoretical study. M.S. graduates often go on to complete a doctoral degree or accept positions in research labs or other contexts where knowledge of research methodology and application is important.

The M.S. degree is a research degree. It is appropriate for those who plan to pursue advanced doctoral studies or research work. Upon completion of the Master of Science Program, the graduate will be able to:

  • discuss key theories and frameworks within the LDT area,
  • review and evaluate published research in the area,
  • design and develop small-scale research studies to pursue specific research questions,
  • conduct and write up research studies.