Mission and Philosophy

The mission of the Organization, Information & Learning Sciences (OILS) program is to provide quality education for individuals interested in improving the learning experiences of adults in school, business, government, military, healthcare, and non-profit organizations through the application of instructional practices and organizational technologies that advance individual, group, and organizational learning.

The OILS program is based on a belief that learning is a life-long process, which is stimulated by active participation, a respect for the individual's past experiences and diversity, critical reflection, and dialogue. Through the teaching of new developments in learning theory, the application of new technologies, and the management of change, the OILS program prepares professionals to help individuals, groups, and organizations learn in more effective ways.

In light of the massive and continuous change organizations experience, it is imperative that graduates of our program be ready to not only manage change, but lead future change efforts as well. To this end, we strive to develop a community of learners who build motivation for learning in their own organizations. The learning communities they develop will be characterized by a shared vision, systems thinking, and team learning.

The OILS program focuses on the design, development, delivery, and evaluation of training, organization development, knowledge management, distance education, e-learning, and instructional technology systems, methods and strategies with the intent of improving human performance. The program can best be described as one that is both theory-based and practitioner oriented.

Upon completion of the OILS program, depending on the student's individualized Program of Study, the graduate will be able to:

  • Undertake life long learning, developing in concert the cognitive and affective domains to think critically, reflect on practice, and solve problems effectively within organizations.
  • Design learning environments that promote the growth and learning of individuals from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, including those with special learning needs.
  • Address the cultural issues that influence the design, delivery, and evaluation of instruction within diverse social and linguistic contexts.
  • Integrate the scholarship of adult learning throughout their professional lives.
  • Design and develop effective instructional experiences based on a variety of models of design and evaluation (systems, constructivist, socio-constructivist).
  • Apply multimedia and distance learning theories, technologies, and practices in the design, delivery, and evaluation of instruction.
  • Address professional standards for instructional technology applications.
  • Develop learning communities in real and virtual environments based on the theoretical foundations of communities of practice (content and nature).
  • Conduct research and evaluation studies.
  • Administer and manage a variety of learning systems.
  • Innovate and manage organizational knowledge.
  • Facilitate individual and team processes, and communication.
  • Lead individual, group, and organizational learning, and change.
  • Engage in human resource development within local, national, and global organizations.
  • Mentor and coach individuals through the process of their personal and professional development.
  • Lead strategic planning and evaluation in a variety of political and social contexts.
  • Balance inquiry and advocacy while respecting the individual or group within the social context.
  • Model ethical practices in their work.

To ensure that these objectives are met, the content of the program's courses are grounded in theoretical and empirical research and the extant literature, and are taught by experienced faculty using new and emerging technologies to facilitate activities, discussions, lectures, exercises, readings, simulations, and collaborative projects with other institutions in the U.S. and overseas.

The courses that comprise the OILS program have been correlated to the recommended competencies and guidelines that have been developed by the Association for Talent Development (ATD), the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI), the Association for Educational Communications Technology (AECT), the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), and the National Council on the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) associations.