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 sub-tabs at the top of this page to find a variety of downloadable worksheets and resources for each of the benchmark interpretive competencies (by developmental level).


Instructor-led IDP Training and Forums

  • Interpretation Leadership and Business Skills Training  (ILBS-- Last fall the Regional and WASO Interpretation and Education staffs joined the Interpretive Development Program to offer face-to-face training to every I&E Chief and Manager. During these three-day, regionally-based training events chiefs and managers participated in site-based experiential learning, discussed how new practices can reach new audiences, gathered data on their current program outputs, used planning and evaluation tools to examine their own programs and resource allocation, and began re-prioritizing based on emerging needs and best practices. Many of the resources and recorded sessions from these sessions are available for distance learning. Go to the ILBS website to learn more and discover useful resources.
  • 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, click here. View the self-study resources available in the Interpretive Facilitator's Toolkit

    Currently Scheduled Open Classes -- Register in DOI Learn

         --Stephen T. Mather Training Center -- June 13-17, 2016. Register in DOI Learn. View the announcement.

  • Interpretation for Our Second Century -- Contribute to the New "Foundations of Interpretation v.2016" -- Webinar Distance Learning Opportunity -- see dates below. This webinar will introduce the newly revised Foundations of Interpretation and provide you with an opportunity to contribute to these evolving standards. You will explore the “what” and “why” of 21st century interpretation and the overarching focus on audience-centered experiences. This session will be offered at the following times (all sessions are the same). Please see the full announcement for registration instructions.


  • Interpreting Climate Change -- Watch this space for another offering of this class in Fall, 2016. This course helps interpreters to develop effective, engaging climate change programming for both natural and cultural sites. Also available (free) -- Self Study Modules for Interpreting Climate Change.


  • Audience Engagement Through Park Produced Media -- May 4, 2016. THIS CLASS IS FULL -- we hope to offer it again next year -- watch this space! This virtual webex class will provide an overview of NPS technical guidelines and interpretive best practices for park-produced media, and the skills needed by 21st century interpreters, with an emphasis on audience-centered techniques and strategies. Instructors will also provide access to recommended self-study resources to help you hone your skills in topic areas you will self-select. See the announcement.
  • 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. You can watch previously recorded sessions at this link. Contact for additional information.


  • Portable Assistive Listening Training E-course -- This self-study course teaches interpreters about the benefits and use of portable assistive listening devices for a general audience and those with hearing loss. Learners will develop general accessibility awareness and an understanding of how to welcome visitors with hearing loss. Through a step-by-step process, learners will become knowledgeable of the operation of specific assistive listening equipment provided to the field by Harpers Ferry Center. Enroll and access this self-study e-course in DOI Learn -- for more information about this course please contact  


  • By Educators for Educators webinar series -- The purpose of this webinar series is to build a more collaborative community for park educators that inspire and fosters open communication and exchange of ideas. The monthly forum provides 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.


  • Curriculum-based Education - Virtual Courses

    Contact about upcoming classes. 

IDP Self-Study Modules

Facilitated Dialogue Toolkit

Interpreting Climate Change Self-study Modules


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 -

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 Learning Opportunities

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

21st Century Engagement share site -- a clearing house of resources for interpretive facilitation and engagement

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.