Article Type

Full-Length Paper

Publication Date





Objective: This paper compares the pedagogical theory driving current norms towards instruction of novices in both fields, specifically focusing on The Carpentries and ACRL Framework instruction. I identify key areas of difference in theoretical and practical approaches towards education of learners entirely new to a topic, focusing on a choice to pursue constructivist or experiential learning versus providing direct instructional guidance.

Methods: Two case studies are explored through the lens of the Dreyfus Model of learning for their theoretical underpinings for engaging novice learners: the ACRL Framework and Carpentries’ Instructor Training.

Results: Applying the Dreyfus Model of learning and cognitive load theory shows theoretical benefits to direct instructional guidance over constructivist or minimally guided instruction.

Conclusions: The ACRL Framework and Carpentries workshops share teaching goals of creating new mental models and core skills to support future learning, but differ in their pedagogical approaches. For novice learners of information literacy, there may be value in considering a more guided approach. Concrete lesson-planning strategies are proposed.

The substance of this article is based upon a poster presented at RDAP Summit 2019.


Carpentries, Software Carpentry, ACRL Framework, Dreyfus Model, Novice Learners


Special thank you to Kristin Lee for support through all stages of this process.

Corresponding Author

Ari Gofman, Tufts University, 35 Professors Row, Medford, MA 02155; ari.gofman@tufts.edu

Rights and Permissions

Copyright Gofman © 2019

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.