The Institute for Research on Digital Learning (IRDL) has a broad mandate to engage in systematic inquiry, discussion, and information sharing related to the uses of technology in teaching and learning by encouraging the formation of links with faculty members across the university and with schools, government, and industry to provide collaborative, multidisciplinary approaches to research problems and issues.

Originally established in 1987 within the Faculty of Education as the Centre for the Study of Computers in Education, the Institute became a university-based research unit in June 2001 and was re-named The Institute for Research on Learning Technologies (IRLT). Ron Owston directed the Institute for 25 years. 

In 2013 Jennifer Jenson, Professor of Pedagogy and Technology in the Faculty of Education at York University took over as Director of IRLT. The name was officially changed to IRDL in 2014.