The organization of CILT was focused in four cross-institutional themes, and research teams for each. The themes chosen in 1997 were Visualization and Modeling, Ubiquitous Computing, Community Tools, and Assessments for Learning.
Within the broader field of learning technologies, these themes were selected as areas of critical challenge and important opportunity. The different themes pursued slightly different paths to work with its research community, though all shared structure built around two or more senior researchers, a postdoctoral scholar, workshops, and seed grants for collaborations formed during the workshop. In the future, if the theme structure is deemed useful and would prove fundable, the areas chosen would be different, and would arise from a workshop designed to select them.
The role of team leaders was to provide guidance and critical review for the team's work, facilitate collaboration among team members and with the larger community, and provide seed funding to new partnerships that arose from workshop interactions.
In addition, CILT facilitated and conducted "synergy projects" across themes. These projects were collaborative efforts intended to provide a model for sustained cross-institutional work.