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The first four columns in our series on insights from educational psychology for academic librarians focused on individuals’ interests, motivations, intellectual development, self-concepts and emotions. Columns five through eight had a general theme of social aspects of learning, including diversity and inclusion, extrinsic motivators, and academic help-seeking behaviors. The final third of this series of columns will apply the principles we have outlined thus far to the topics of lesson planning and instructional design, teacher behaviors and assessment, learning strategies, and interventions to modify attitudes and behaviors.

In this column we will describe insights from educational psychology for designing instruction and planning lessons. We will only briefly summarize a few of the most widely used models for instructional design, and refer readers to the recommended readings for more detailed guidance. Special attention will be given the educational psychology research on motivation, cognitive load, problem-based learning, inquiry learning, worked examples, and scaffolding.


Published as Black, S., & Allen, J. D. (2019). Insights from educational psychology part 9: Planning instruction. The Reference Librarian, 60(2), 93–108.

Revised version published as Chapter 9 in Educational Psychology for Academic Librarians at



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