Preparing a lesson plan is the first step in any instructional design where you consider how best to present your course material based on the psychology of learning.
This is the most critical step leading to your success as a trainer. Once you skip any of the necessary steps involved in the process and jump straight-in and start writing your lesson plan, you may have unknowingly decided to sell both yourself and your potential trainees short as well!
The time you invest in doing your homework is a very small price to pay in comparison to the pay-back you may receive once you reach the training room and see all those faces staring at you.
Before you get into the actual process of writing a lesson plan, there is need for you to research on the subject material.
The question that comes to mind then is whether you as a trainer are expected to be a research scientist or a specialist.
This not necessarily so since Instructional research is nothing more than getting together all available information you can on your subject then using what is relevant information for your lesson plan.
You may think yourself an expert in your subject of specialisation. So doing your homework will only reinforce your knowledge and your status if you are one.
An important part of doing your research is that it allows you to review all supporting materials and training aids that could or would be used along with the lesson plan to support your training programme and your training objectives.
During this phase it is important to consider and develop your training sequence and trainer notes and checklists that will act as guides throughout the course of instruction.
Proper sequencing of training is a very important aspect of your planning prior to writing your lesson plan. This is so because you want your training to flow in naturally and orderly.
Let’s take a simple activity like putting your shoes on. The first step of course is finding them; second step is making sure you put each on the right foot.
Sounds simple isn’t it? Now, let’s assume you are teaching a child how to put their shoes on for the first time!
You have to stop and think about what sequence is best to use to ensure the child learns how to perform this simple task by themselves, but to a child this is not a simple task.
In some training environments you will need to develop a pre-training checklist, which is used to ensure the trainer has all the required training supplies and equipment available and ready to use during training.
And finally, you need to prepare trainer notes to be used to alert the trainer that they need to do something.
The trainers’ notes can be anything from telling the trainer to emphasise a main teaching point or procedure to use or which graphics to use next.
Normally these trainers’ notes are written into the lesson plan where a new trainer can clearly read them.
There is need then for you to incorporate your learning objectives into the lesson plan. Objectives are the foundation, the base of the entire instructional pyramid.
Presenting them to your students is the most important part of your instructional lesson plan development process.
Your objectives will definitely act as general guide as to which direction your lesson will take.
What follows is a good guide to use for a lesson plan. But you need to make this work for you and use it as a tool that you can use and teach from. And remember the lesson plan outlines what will be taught and the order of disseminated information.
Formatting of your lesson plan using the typical outline format seems to be the acceptable general method used in most training environments. The following are few items that need attention when coming up with a lesson plan:
Consistency of information from class to class;
Record what will be taught so that a back-up instructor can disseminate the same information in your absence;
Allow for planning of class length;
Allow for revision based on student evaluation.
If it is not written down, how do you know what to revise?
Paul Nyausaru is a training and development practitioner. Views contained in this article are personal. You can contact him on email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com