National Park Service
US Department of the Interior
National Park Service
Interpretive Development Program


Life-long learning is at the heart of interpretation. By becoming better professionals, we enhance our ability to help park audiences care about park resources.

On this main page (below) we will maintain a clearing-house list of upcoming Servicewide and regional training courses for interp/ed as they are announced, along with training offered by NPS partners. If you know of upcoming training that should be listed here, please contact to get it added to this page.

Also -- click on the developmental level tabs at the top of this page to find a variety of downloadable worksheets and resources for each of the benchmark interpretive competencies.

Instructor-led IDP Training and Forums:

  • Interpreting Critical Issues Using Civic Engagement & Facilitated Dialogue Techniques-- This classroom course focuses on the front-line interpreter’s role as a facilitator of dialogue and discussion, and a range of ways to incorporate these techniques into new and existing park programming. To bring this course to your park or region, contact  

    Currently Scheduled Open Classes

         --February 9-13, 2015 - Rocky Mountain National Park --registration is open -- see announcement

         --February 23-27, 2015 - Tucson, AZ (hosted by Saguaro National Park at the Western Archeological Center) --            registration is open in DOI Learn (everyone will initially be waitlisted) -- see announcement

  • Developing and Implementing Curriculum-based Education Programs and Services -- January 12-16, 2015 see announcement -- This course will focus on how to coordinate education services and program logistics, collaborate with internal and external partners, facilitate development of educational programs, services, materials, and personnel, and how to evaluate educational programs, services, and materials. Contact for additional information.
  • Interpreting Climate Change -- Virtual Class -- March 17-20, changed to March 10-13, 2015 -- OPEN for registration in DOI Learn -- This course provides an overview of the practical knowledge and skills that will enable interpreters to develop effective, engaging climate change programming for both natural and cultural sites. Contact for additional information. 
  • Train the Seasonal Trainer--21st Century Skills -- Learn skills to train front-line staff in evolving interpretive practices such as dialogue, and ways to incorporate these techniques into seasonal training.
    • Currently Scheduled Classes (save the date -- these are not yet open for registration)

             --March 23-27, 2015 - San Francisco, CA (hosted by Golden Gate NRA)

             --April 13-17, 2015 - Lake Mead NRA

             --May 11-15, 2015 - National Mall and Memorial Park, Washington, DC

  • Living History Interpretation -- An introduction to the evolving fundamentals of living history and costumed interpretation. Watch this space for dates and locations to be announced.
  • DigInterp Indepth Webinar Series -- Join John Tobiason from Harpers Ferry Center's office of Digital Media and John Rudy from the Interpretive Development Program, for these provocational and practical sessions focused on the interpretive power of digital media. Contact for additional information.

  • By Educators for Educators webinar series -- an effort to build a more collaborative community for park educators that inspire and fosters open communication and exchange of ideas. The purpose of this monthly forum is to establish an additional opportunity or "space" for educators to share and learn about relevant topics that directly impact youth and teacher engagement. Contact for details on upcoming sessions.----

    --Exploring College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies Standards -- December 17 -- 2:00 - 4:00 PM ET -- register

      --Intro to Facilitated Dialogue -- 2 Part Series -- January 8 & February 17, 2015 from 2-4 PM ET-- register.


  • Registered Local Coaches Courses -- offered by the Regional Lead Coaching teams to train park-level interpretive coaches – contact the office of your regional Chief of Interpretation for upcoming dates and registration information.


IDP On-line Self-study E-courses

A series of training courses has been developed by NPS interpreters in partnership with Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands-- continuously available to all interpreters from any computer:

Offsite Link - Foundations of Interpretation Course  Offsite Link - Interpretive Talk Course  Offsite Link - Informal Visitor Contact Course  Offsite Link - Interpretive Writing Course  Offsite Link - Training & Coaching Interpreters Course  Offsite Link - Other Training & Learning Opportunities

Offsite Link -

NEW -- IDP Self-Study Modules

Facilitated Dialogue Toolkit

Interpreting Climate Change Self-study Modules


IDP Training Grants

NPS interpreters and educators can seek out their own opportunities for professional development from NPS or non-NPS sources and request financial support from the IDP. If selected, employees will be given funds that will help reduce the cost in training that is either face-to-face or at a distance. Check out the many proposals that were approved last year here. To submit a grant request, visit this form.

IDP Training Examples of Interpretive Products

Click here to see a list of samples of interpretive products that have met IDP peer review certification standards and are useful for training and coaching other interpreters, including videos, written products and media examples.

Additional NPS-sponsored Interpretive Training Opportunities

How To Play the Game webinar series
(Northeast Regional Office of Interpretation, Education, and Partnerships) -- contact for additional information.


Interpretive Training Offered by NAI and Other NPS Partners

Click here to see a list of upcoming webinars offered by the National Association for Interpretation.

Click here to see a list of the 2014 history seminars sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute -- these outstanding seminars are presented for teachers, but two spots in each class are always reserved for NPS interpreters or educators.

Earth to Sky Partnership -- offers periodic courses and webinars for climate change communicators, and hosts an information clearing house on their website -- visit the website to join this community of educators and interpreters. The NPS is a partner in this working group.

Science and the Public Interface -- new series of on-line graduate level courses offered through Stephen F. Austin State University -- emphasis is on communicating with the public about challenging and controversial science topics such as climate change. For additional information, contact The NPS is a partner in the development of these courses.