Just as strategy is behind every well-structured business, the lesson plan is one of the factors responsible for the success of a course. Usually, it contains the theme of the class, objective, points to be covered, references used and method of content evaluation. But is that it?
When we refer to the universe of edtech (educational technology), we usually think of sophisticated solutions for these new trends, such as gamification and teaching with virtual reality.
However, the definition of ‘technology’ is purely the use of techniques that seek to facilitate the work or solve a certain problem. So yes, a lesson plan is a technology that makes teaching easier.
In addition to improving the progress of the learning process, serving as a script in the context of online courses, the lesson plan helps the teacher to select the best content, in such a way as to enhance student learning.
In the next few lines, you’ll learn how to make your lesson plan! Good reading.
What is a lesson plan and what is the step by step to create a
The lesson plan is a guide for the teacher to understand what they will offer students and how to pass on this knowledge, so that the learning process achieves the proposed objective.
Those who teach in person are already used to this pedagogical technique. But, for the digital entrepreneur who wants to dare his career and pass on his expertise in an online course, the lesson plan can be a completely new task. Furthermore, teaching online is competing with a multitude of distractions from one-click apps and social networks.
So, check out our step-by-step guide for planning your class online:
Prepare the topic and define the objective of the lesson
Almost everyone has a memory of their school days, of that classmate who would come in and say ‘what is this class?’ Have a well-defined larger theme to be broken down into topics during the lesson or a series of lessons.
This varies a lot between courses, but if your class is 30 minutes you will only get so far in one topic. But if you have 50, you can go a little further and so on. It is essential to measure how much you want to pass on knowledge for the purpose of the class.
So, for example, if the objective of a class in your English course is to make students learn the verb To be, specify whether it will cover the present and past tense, whether it will address negative phrases etc., and which one the relevance of learning the subject—is it a commonly used verb? Is it possible to communicate without it?
Choose a diagnostic assessment method
Something that few digital entrepreneurs pay attention to when producing their online courses, is that everyone has a context, a background. Often, there is already acquired knowledge about a particular subject, but even if there isn’t, it is recommended to ask.
This screening usually impacts in the end, if the student really learned what was passed. Besides, nobody deserves to learn something they already knew, right? It can be tedious and, again, in the digital medium, there are endless distractions.
Also, the pre-class assessment doesn’t have to be anything complex. In fact, students may not even realize that this is an assessment. Start a chat and stimulate brainstorm to find out what level of knowledge students already have.
Determine the format of the class and the resources to be used
A class may require videos, slideshows, audios, practical demonstrations, and collaborative activities, answering questions, debating myths and truths, exercises… anything that your creativity suggests and you think fits with the class should be recorded in the plan of class.
If possible, also include the times dedicated to each format or resource used. It may seem like an exaggeration, but if you spend too much time on slides and too little time on exercises, for example, the student may notice this imbalance. If you teach online, it’s even more important to set the time.
As this part is the core of the lesson, an extra tip is to add humour to whatever format or resource you choose. If the subject is dense and difficult, the student may see the activity as something painful. Humour helps to deal with this.
Gather the best references
In case you are exploring some very recent statistic or from a little-known institute, it is a good idea to insert the reference in the lesson plan for one or another student more curious about data.
But one of the biggest reasons for you to gather your references in the plan is that they can serve as complementary material, inviting the student to delve deeper into the subject and continue learning alone.
In fact, practice can contribute much more to the consolidation of knowledge in students than your class itself. Many different references and didactics are more likely to be clear to their understanding than just your single class with your methodology given at that specific moment.
Select one more valuation method
Now, yes, the final steps in the elaboration of a lesson plan have arrived: that of an assessment method, of knowing whether the proposed objective has been achieved.
Traditional quizzes are well accepted, as are quick quizzes. If so, a comparative chat with pre-class responses can also work, as there is this contrast of recovered knowledge vs. newly acquired knowledge.
Try to align the type of class with the evaluative method. For example:
- If the class was more conceptual (as in an emotional intelligence course), propose reflections and discursive questions;
- For a more procedural class, in which you taught students to do something and get their hands dirty, ask for an outline of what they learned (like in a writing course and the assessment would be writing a short story);
- On the other hand, when the content of the class has been attitudinal, that is, content that teaches attitudes and behaviours, ask for challenges (such as a course that teaches about non-violent communication and the assessment is to practice it with a family member).
Request feedback about the class
Now it’s your turn, as a teacher, to be evaluated. Record a reminder in the plan so you don’t forget to ask students for feedback on the content given. There are also key questions for you to use in this process. It is possible to consult them in any dynamic ready to ask for feedback.
Take this moment for a feed forward as well. So, in addition to discovering the strengths and weaknesses of the given lesson, find out what should be done differently in the next ones — which includes possible changes to the lesson plan itself.
Each student has their own needs, as well as the teacher and the object of study, so what will really guide the success of your online course are these assessments and feedbacks.
Tips for having a good lesson plan
The ideal scenario is to follow this step by step presented, but in case that is not possible, take notes of these quick tips:
- try using ready-made lesson plan templates;
- study the functioning of the learning process;
- include at least one activity that involves students in the lesson, such as a chat.
Thus, the lesson plan is just an instrument with the function of making life easier for an entrepreneur who wants to share his journey. There is a logical sequence to having good lesson planning, but never fail to be guided by student feedback.