Learner-Centered Reference and Instruction: Science, Psychology, and Inclusive Pedagogy

Monday, 2/15/2016 - Sunday, 3/27/2016
Monday, 7/18/2016 - Sunday, 8/28/2016

Asynchronous course.

This course will introduce library practitioners to empirically sound approaches to learner-centered teaching that can be applied to creating effective reference and instruction services that maximally facilitate student learning. The first part of the course will be devoted to understanding the current science of how students learn from the perspective of cognitive and educational psychology, and concrete ways that library practitioners can apply this learning to the library context. The second part of course will deal with motivational aspects of learning: What does the psychological research say about what makes students want to learn, and how can we use this research to motivate information literacy learning? The final part of the course will cover issues of diversity and inclusive pedagogy from within the framework of culturally responsive pedagogy: In a diverse educational landscape, how can we construct our teaching so that it includes, rather than alienates, as many students as possible?

The aim of this course is to give librarians the tools to feel more confident in their instructional strategies and ability to support student-centered learning. Not only will the course introduce participants to scientifically grounded pedagogies, but will lead them through exercises to concretely apply these theories to their own library contexts. This course will be of interest to any librarian who engages in reference or teaching, and is unique in providing a current overview of the current educational literature alongside practical strategies.

Learning Outcomes

  • Participants will be able to apply their understanding of the cognitive science of learning to information literacy instruction and reference services.
  • Participants will be able to practice inclusive and culturally responsive pedagogies.
  • Participants will be able to increase student motivation by utilizing approaches from the psychological literature.

Who Should Attend

The target audience includes any librarian working directly with patrons in a substantive pedagogical role. This would include reference & instruction librarians in an academic context; public librarians who teach community courses; and K-12 school media specialists. Within academic libraries, this course may particularly benefit reference librarians in a classic liaison role, information literacy, teaching and learning librarians, and librarians focused on first-year undergraduate instruction.


Kevin Michael Klipfel is Head of Research, Teaching & Learning at California State University-Chico’s Meriam Library, where he was previously the Information Literacy Coordinator. He received a M.A. in philosophy from Virginia Tech, where he was subsequently a lecturer in moral, political, and existential philosophy, and a M.S.L.S. degree from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where his research on student engagement and information literacy won the “Dean’s Achievement Award” for the best masters paper of 2013 in the School of Information and Library Science. His articles on authentic engagement with students have recently appeared in College and Research Libraries and Reference Services Review.
Dani Brecher Cook is the Information Literacy & Research Services Coordinator at the Claremont Colleges Library. Previously, she served as the Instructional Design and Technology Librarian at the same institution. She received her MSLS from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and also holds an A.B. in English Literature from the University of Chicago. Dani has presented nationally at ACRL, LITA Forum, LOEX, and other instruction- and library technology-focused conferences. Her team at Claremont received the 2015 Library Instruction Round Table (LIRT) Innovation in Instruction Award for their work in curriculum mapping. Prior to coming to librarianship, Dani worked in academic and textbook publishing.
Both instructors have completed doctoral-level coursework in education and educational psychology and have presented on information literacy and educational psychology at the national level . Our presentation “How Do Students Learn?: A Cognitive Psychological Model for Information Literacy Instruction" was presented at LOEX 2014; a paper based on that presentation was recently published in Reference and User Services Quarterly. Together, they blog about pedagogy, librarianship, and related topics at Rule Number One Blog. Their paper, “Education Training for Instruction Librarians: A Shared Perspective” was recently published in Communications in Information Literacy, and discusses the importance of education training for the future of libraries and library education. The two presenters have also delivered a number of online webinars for library practitioners.



  • $130 for RUSA members
  • $175 for ALA members
  • $210 for non-ALA members
  • $100 for student members and retired members

How to Register

  • Online
  • By Fax: download, complete, and fax form (PDF format) to (312) 280-1538
  • By Mail: download, complete, and mail form (PDF format) to American Library Association, ATTN: MACS/Online CE Registration, 50 E. Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611

Tech Requirements

ALA uses Moodle for all online educational courses. It is hosted at http://classes.ala.org. Learn more about Moodle at www.moodle.org.


Questions about your registration should be directed to registration@ala.org. Technical questions about the webinar should be directed to Andrea Hill, RUSA Web Manager, at ahill@ala.org.

Thank you and we look forward to your participation!