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 and courses of study 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, complete this form.

    Currently Scheduled Classes:

         --September 8-12, 2014 - Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska -- registration is open -- see announcement

          Upcoming dates/locations yet to be scheduled include:
         - Intermountain Region -- location TBD

  • Train-the-Trainer -- Facilitated Dialogue -- September 15-19, 2014 -- Mather Training Center. This course is open to those who have already taken facilitated dialogue training -- see the course announcement for details. Register for this course in DOILearn (search by course title). Contact for additional information. 
  • Audio Description for Web Videos -- Virtual Class -- July 8-10, 2014 -- This course helps introduce participants to how to audio describe a web video so that it meets acceptable NPS standards. Register for this course in DOILearn, contact for additional information. 
  • Living History Interpretation: Bringing the Past Back to Life -- July 14-18, 2014 -- Mather Training Center -- This course helps introduce participants to the evolving fundamentals of living history and costumed interpretation in historic settings. Application deadline is June 2, 2014. Register for this course in DOILearn, contact for additional information. 
  • Interpreting Climate Change -- Virtual Class -- July 22-25, 2014 -- This course will provide 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.  View the announcement for this course -- then register in DOILearn. Contact for additional information. 
  • Developing and Implementing Curriculum-based Education Programs and Services -- August 5-8, 2014 -- This course helps This course will focus on how to coordinate education service 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. Register for this course in DOILearn, contact for additional information. 
  • 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.

    JuneIntroduction to the Library of Congress - June 10, 2014, 2:00 - 3:30 PM ET.Register Here
    July Judgment, Memory, and Legacy: A Facing History Approach to Exploring Monuments and Memorials - July 15, 2014 at 1:00 and 3:00 PM ETRegister Here
    August - Introduction to the Common Core State Standards - Monday, August 11, 2014 2:00 - 4:00 PM ET
    September - Bridging the Watershed - Date TBD

  • 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.

    Coming later this year:

          Classes are in the planning stages for Curriculum-base Programs, Living History, and more! Watch this space! 

IDP On-line Self-study 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 Module -- coming this summer!


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.