Computer user in library

Photo via Flickr: Illustration by Eric Molinsky from the CALI Lesson “North Carolina Secondary Research”

Welcome to Library IDT! This blog is a platform to gather and reflect on theories and trends in instructional design and technology (IDT). It will focus specifically on IDT in the context of libraries, especially academic libraries.

“Instructional design and technology” is a wide-ranging term, and many people have defined it slightly differently. For the purposes of this Library IDT blog, let’s say that instructional design and technology is the deliberate, considered process of developing instruction specifications by applying learning theory.  It covers the entire learning process, from analyzing learning needs to developing a delivery system to creating instructional materials/activities, and concludes with evaluating and refining the instruction process. (Source: Carl Berger, University of Michigan)

In libraries, we are called upon to do instructional design in both formal and informal ways. We teach classes and workshops, but we also do sneaky instruction in the form of website design, reference interactions, and signage. As a public services librarian at an academic library, I have many opportunities to practice IDT principles. Rather than seeking out a “future IDT job,” I plan to adjust my attitude toward my current job, finding ways to integrate instructional design into my daily work life. When I propose a new library website design or create new tutorials, I’ll consciously take an IDT-focused approach rather than making choices based on “what looks pretty.”

I follow several instructional design blogs. The Faculty Instructional Technology Services (FITS) department at DePaul University runs, which discusses instructional design and technology in higher education. The principles of IDT are widely applicable to most fields, so I can easily tweak these ideas and think about how they might work in libraries. However, I also find it valuable to follow blogs that discuss IDT specifically as it applies to the library field. Lauren Pressley ran a 14-part series on IDT in libraries in her blog,, where she continues to discuss IDT among other topics.