Competency K

Design collaborative or individual learning experiences based on learning principles and theories. 

The ability to competently design and deliver learning experiences is a core function of the information professional’s mandate, regardless of whether they are within a public or private institution. Information professionals not only enable users to meaningfully and competently navigate  information systems, they also deliver training and information on subjects on the periphery of information literacy, such as citation guidance, copyright literacy, software training, and others. Often, the basic sharing of information is insufficient for learners to absorb what is being shared, and instead require demonstrations, activities, and exercises in their instruction in order to successfully gain the intended skills (Kaplowitz, 2014).  According to Kaplowitz (2012), instructional design “encourages a thoughtful and systematic approach to teaching” (p.2) by looking at “the learner and the instructional problem and select the best approaches (technological or not) to help the learner attain the learning outcomes you have identified to solve that problem” (p.15).

Different learning theories and principles are leveraged in the practice of instructional design, such as Gagne’s work from his culminating publication, Principles of Instructional Design (1992). “An instructional theory offers guidance on how to help people learn, or how instructors should teach based on what we know about how people learn” (Benjes-Small & Miller, 2017, p.65). According to Gagne, teaching is boiled down to three essential parts: 

  •  How we present knowledge or demonstrate a skill to learners
  • The practice opportunities (with feedback) we offer to learners
  • The guidance we provide to our learners along the way. (Kaplowitz, 2014, p.17)

Gagne also developed an instructional model that includes nine events of instruction that are intended to guide the decisions of the designer or instructor as they organize the delivery of the effective and cognitive information (Kaplowitz, 2014). These include: 

  • Gaining the attention of the learner
  • Notifying the learner of the instructional goal
  • Reminding the learner of what they already know
  • Delivering the instructional material
  • Scaffolding the learning activities
  • Giving the learners an opportunity to practice
  • Providing feedback
  • Assessing performance
  • Enhancing retention (Kaplowitz, 2014)

For the information professional, many instructional models may prove to be too unwieldy for the one-shot type of instruction that many in this role engage in, and to address that need, Joan Kaplowitz developed the Teaching Tripod method. This “ID lite” approach focuses on the link between the expected learning outcomes, the learning activities, and the summative assessment (Kaplowitz, 2014). This framework supports a systematic approach to ensure that the learner will benefit from the instruction being designed and delivered. 

Many of these frameworks use the concept of backward design which is a method of instructional design that begins with defining the learning objectives and using those to determine the best assessment that can determine if those goals were achieved. With the instructional goal and the determination of success defined, the content, instructional strategies, and learning activities can be identified to connect those pillars. 

Beyond the process concerns of instructional design, additional learning theories must be considered when addressing pedagogical approaches. The three schools of thought that can be leveraged when creating an instructional proposal are behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism.  

Behaviorism focuses on the learner’s observable behavior and the timely feedback on that behavior to either reinforce or discourage what the learner is doing. Cognitivism on the other hand focuses on what is happening in the brain during the learning process, and the mental modeling required to organize, retrieve, and connect information. Some strategies in cognitivism are to break down complex ideas into smaller, consumable pieces, and to connect new information to concepts the learner already knows (Benjes-Small & Miller, 2017). One consideration in cognitivism is the cognitive load theory, which holds that any person can hold seven plus or minus two objects in their working memory (Benjes-Small & Miller, 2017). Instructional librarians can use this rule to reduce cognitive load and reduce the effort of the working memory during the learning process. Constructivism is focused on the role of the learner during the learning process and considers the emotional and social nature of learning, putting forth that learners construct their own meaning of the learning content. This theory emphasizes the importance of social interactions, self assessments, and problem solving. 

Competency Development

While I was enrolled in INFO250, I was also working as a Digital Asset Manager for UC Santa Cruz, and used the information I was learning in that course to optimize and deliver user training. I used these approaches to train video editors on the workflows and processes related to the DAMs, and also to train teachers and subject matter experts on copyright laws and considerations in their course materials. The ability to absorb and apply these concepts concurrently gave me a richer understanding of the importance and requirements of instructional design. I’ve progressed in this understanding, and in my current position I have created a development framework for internal course creators to ensure they are defining learning objectives using a popular taxonomy, are creating assessments informed by those learning objectives, and are selecting content and activities that support the learner to reach their goal. 


building for success
Professional Experience

I submit this video in support of this competency, because in it I explain the instructional design infused strategies I employed in the course creation workflows of the internal cms/lms that I manage. In it, I explain the state of course creation that preceded me in my role, the solutions that I identified, and the impact of those changes on learner behavior.  

Copyright for Online Educators Proposal
INFO250 // Design & Implementation of Instructional Strategies for Information Professionals - Instructional Design for Distance Learners

I selected this course proposal presentation because it shows my ability to create an effective instructional design plan using the tenets of instructional design, including the needs assessment, motivating learners, information presentation, learner participation, and the tools used to enable learning.  

Professional Development Course Proposal
INFO250 // Design & Implementation of Instructional Strategies for Information Professionals - Instructional Design for Distance Learners

I selected is assignment in support of this competency as the formal document proposal that accompanies the recorded presentation above. Similar to the video presentation, this course proposal document demonstrates my understanding of instructional design principles and practices. 


In my coursework at SJSU and the practical application of instructional design concepts in my professional career, I have absorbed the primary principles, theories, and tool set required to design and deliver meaningful learning experiences. Through the application of backward design and the teaching tripod approach, I am enabled to create meaningful and effective instruction for the learners I support. Regardless of whether I continue my career in private organizations or public institutions, these skills can be deployed to train and empower users and patrons.  


Benjes-Small, C. M., & Miller, R. K. (2017). The new instruction librarian: A workbook for trainers and learners. ALA Editions, an imprint of the American Library Association.

Kaplowitz, J. R. (2014). Designing information literacy instruction: The teaching tripod approach. Rowman & Littlefield.

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