Anatomy of a Training Lesson Plan: The Basics of Lesson Plan Design

“training lesson plan template” or some variation of that phrase is the #1 search term to steer viewers to the Train Like A Champion blog over the past year.  The two most popular articles on this site are Training the Trainer: A Free Lesson Plan Template and Training Lesson Plan Templates: Design vs. Delivery.  Neither of those posts describe, in detail, how to effectively use each component of the lesson plan.  This post is an attempt to rectify that situation.

02042013 - Lesson Plan  Modified Lesson Plan - 9

Click here to access a pdf version of the basic template.  Click here to access a pdf version of the Design vs. Delivery template.

Dissecting the Basic Lesson Plan Template

Title of Training Segment: This is a simple field, where the name of the segment can be as plain as “Advanced Sales Training Techniques” or it could be something more creative like “To Train or Not to Train: Why Not Training is Sometimes the Best Training Intervention”.  While the lesson plan is generally for your eyes only, a catchier title can help steer traffic to your presentation if you’ll be facilitating a workshop at a conference.

Date & Time: Sometimes you’ll design a presentation for a specific day and time, and if you’re offering multiple workshops during a trip, this field can help you keep track of which presentation you’ll be facilitating on which day and at which time.  Sometimes you’ll design a lesson plan that will be used over and over again, and you may wish to simple enter “90 minutes” into this field.  Keep in mind that this template is designed to provide structure to your presentations, but should be adapted to best meet your needs.

Objectives: COMPLETE THIS SECTION PRIOR TO ANY OTHER PLANNING YOU DO IN YOUR LESSON PLAN.  This section is intended for you to design learner-centered, action-oriented objectives.  Put differently, what should your learners be able to do by the time you’re finished with your session… and how will you, as the facilitator, know that your learners have accomplished this objective?

Well-crafted learning objectives will basically write your lesson plan for you.  Do you want your learners to be able to explain a concept?  Then be sure to make room in your lesson plan for an activity that allows your learners to actually explain the concept.  Want them to demonstrate something?  Then you may need to design an activity that involves role playing or some other simulation of a skill.

Ways to Assess Whether Learning Objectives were Accomplished: As I alluded to earlier, you want to design activities by which you, the facilitator, can determine whether or not your learners are able to do what you set out to teach them.  Going back to your traditional school days, some make call this a “test”.  And a paper-and-pencil, multiple choice exam is indeed one way to assess whether or not the learners get it.  Take a look at the verbs you’ve used in your objectives, and then be sure to craft an activity that allows your learners to demonstrate those verbs.  If you have a learning objective such as “by the end of this presentation, learners will be able to demonstrate the five phases of coaching,” then you’ll need to have an activity in which the learners can show off the coaching skills they’ve learned.  And  you may wish to have an observation rubric to provide feedback (or even to provide a score) on the skill your learners have attempted to demonstrate.

Materials: Do you need blank flipchart?  Markers?  Are you going to prepare flipchart prior to the session?  A PowerPoint presentation?  Handouts?  Post-its?  Tape?  Name tags?  Name tents?  Be very specific about the materials you’ll need.  In the event you’re in a hurry to get to the training room, a complete list of materials you’ll need can be a very good reminder for you.  Showing up unprepared for a session is a good way to lose credibility with your learners.

Estimated Time: It’s helpful to break your session down into smaller segments in order to be sure to keep a good pace and to keep on time during your presentation.  How much time do you want to devote to the welcome/introduction?  Icebreaking activities can be fun, but if you don’t have a plan, they can run way over time, which means you’ll be playing catch up for the rest of your presentation.  How much time do you want to allow to introduce a topic?  How much time should your learners have to practice a given skill?  Don’t forget to leave time to wrap up and tie everything together.

Content/Key Points: Here is where you want to describe, in some detail, how each section of your lesson plan should be facilitated.  While it’s not necessary to write a verbatim script, it may be helpful to be fairly specific in your instructions.  If you have to give this same presentation a year from now, you’ll be happy you took the time to write out specific instructions for each section.  And if you’re stuck in traffic and need a co-worker to cover for you, they’ll need a fairly detailed explanation of how to facilitate your activities.

Instructional Technique: Here you should simply describe how you plan to deliver your content.  Will you use some lecture? Small group activities?  Large group de-brief?  Role play?  Simulation?  Will you show a video?  When you describe how you plan to deliver your content, you’ll be able to see, at a glance, whether your lesson plan would appeal to auditory learners (lecture, discussion, listen to recording), visual learners (use of visual aids, flipcharts, handouts, video) and kinesthetic learners (simulations, role plays, gallery walks).  If each instructional technique field relies too much on one technique (such as lecture), you run the risk of a monotonous, boring presentation.

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3 thoughts on “Anatomy of a Training Lesson Plan: The Basics of Lesson Plan Design

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