The Sphinx from Mystery Men said it best (original quote by Benjamin Franklin).
A few months back, I facilitated a lesson planning session for a group of online tutors. During this session, we’ve discussed how important it is for a facilitator/trainer/educator to have a step-by-step guide on how to systematically approach a learning session. We’ve discussed three points as to why having a well-crafted lesson plan is beneficial – no, a necessity, to the educator.
Secondly, a sound lesson plan breaks down terminal (or long-term) objectives into per-session learning outcomes; thus making learner progress more measurable and observable.
Finally, a lesson plan keeps a class on-track and ensures that the course designer, the supervisor/manager, and the facilitator are all working towards the common objectives. This is the reason why lesson plans get audited and supervisors ask for a copy while he or she observes the instructor facilitate a class.
There are more ‘formal’ ways on how to go about lesson planning (education students and graduates will know). Moreover, the format is also dependent on your organization’s requirements; however, I’ve listed down the basic, and most important parts for the sake of this post.
1. Allotted Time
For obvious reasons, this part of the lesson plan dictates how much time will be allotted for the session.
2. Session Objectives
The session objectives are what are expected of the learners RIGHT AFTER THE SESSION. Take note that these are different from terminal objectives. Terminal objectives are the expected learning outcomes at the end of the ENTIRE COURSE.
More importantly, always be mindful of how an objective should be crafted; you can follow the S.M.A.R.T.A.S.S. format (Specific, Measurable or Observable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound, Assessable, Spirited, and Sustainable) – for more information on this, you can read a previous post here.
3. Materials Required
Pretty much self-explanatory, this part of the lesson plan tells your facilitator what he or she needs to bring along to class for the activities.
4. Instructional Procedures
This part makes up the bulk of the lesson plan and is divided into three parts; all listed below:
A. Set or Hook
The ‘Set’ or ‘Hook’ is an activity that is used to gain a learner’s attention on what is about to be discussed. This part of the lesson plan acts as an introduction to the subject matter- this part can involve videos, games, group discussions, roleplays and a plethora of other activities (just make sure that they are catered to the audience). A lecture can also be used here; however, it is always recommended to employ more creative ways of introducing the topic . The participants’ WIIFM (What’s in it for me?) question is also answered here.
B. Instructional Procedures Proper
This is the part where the subject matter is discussed and where learning approaches are applied. This can be in a form of a discussion, another activity, or a lecture.
The ‘closure’ is the part where the audience is expected to summarize or vocalize what they have learned during the session. This is also used to partially check if the session’s learning objectives are met.
5. Independent Practice or Assessment
Assessments validate if the learning outcomes for the session are met. These can be in the form of Q&A, pop-quizzes, exams, an activity, or a practical assessment.
Lesson planning is slowly becoming a lost art as more and more instructors are merely viewing it as ‘just another requirement for the job;’ - sometimes only doing it for audit purposes. But for the sake of our learners (for whom we are soooo passionate about), let’s all make sure to use the lesson plan to our advantage and make more memorable, engaging, and fun learning experiences for all our students.