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:

  • Click here to download and print the IDP 2015/2016 Training Calendar.
  • Interpretation Leadership and Business Skills Training  (ILBS-- This fall the Regional and WASO Interpretation and Education staffs join 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 will participate in site-based experiential learning, discuss how new practices can reach new audiences, gather data on their current program outputs, use planning and evaluation tools to examine their own programs and resource allocation, and begin re-prioritizing based on emerging needs and best practices. 
       Register in DOI Learn for the following regional classes:

       Southeast Region - March 29-31, 2016 in Atlanta, GA
       Intermountain Region - March 15-17, 2016 in Jackson, WY
       Register for the Distance Learning version of the ILBS workshop -- participate from your computer in many of              the same activities and sessions as the workshop participants -- register here.


  • 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

         --Lassen Volcanic National Park-- March 14-18, 2016. Register in DOI Learn. View the announcement.
         --Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve - April 11-15, 2016. Register in DOI Learn. View the                          announcement.
         --Stephen T. Mather Training Center -- June 13-17, 2016. Register in DOI Learn.

  • 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 -- February 9-12, 2016 -- this class is FULL. Watch for another offering of this class in September, 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 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. Register in DOI Learn.
  • 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.


  • By Educators for Educators webinar series -- This webinar series is 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.


  • Curriculum-based Education - Virtual Courses

    -- Developing and Implementing Curriculum-based Education Programs and Services - March 8-11, 2015. Register in DOI Learn. View the announcement. This course will focus on how to coordinate education programs, collaborate with internal and external partners, and much more! Contact with questions. 

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.