Designing a lesson plan for other people to use can be challenging. It’s especially difficult if you’re not sure of other people’s comfort levels with using lesson plans. Before I began in my role, a team member who no longer works with us formatted all lessons using a template. It had seemed like a good way to formalize the lessons and eventually share them with new instructors.
But what happens when no one on the team uses them?
The Original Plans
It’s not that the lesson plans don’t provide useful information. It’s just that the facilitators find the layout distracting. It’s hard to find what they need when they’re in the middle of facilitating a lesson. This is the lesson plan template. You can imagine what it must look like when it’s filled with text:
As you can see, it contains lots of useful information and prompts. However, our facilitators have a combined teaching experience of half a century. Any new hires will likely have facilitation experience as well. They all want the lessons to be clear and to the point.
I’ve been in situations before where well-meaning people take content and try to put it into a context that makes sense to them. The result is usually something that makes sense, but not to anyone else on the team. These kinds of designs need to be a collaborative effort; otherwise, they won’t get used. This has been one of my biggest takeaways from working in this industry. I have been in the position where I’ve produced something without consulting enough people, and then created a product that didn’t get used because people weren’t involved in the process or have any buy-in, even though they’d be the ones using it.
My Lesson Plan Template
As I’ve been creating new lesson plans with the team, I’ve also been trying to standardize them. I consulted with the team by taking suggestions and looking at past lesson designs that seemed to have worked. I wound up designing something that is simple, but doesn’t simplify the learning taking place. Here is the template:
With this template, facilitators can easily see the main objectives, takeaways, and activities. If they wanted to create sections in their own lesson plans for reflection, I think that would be great. But the general template should be as clean and clear as possible.
As with anything, there are limitations. The bullet point design doesn’t always lend itself well to explaining or giving directions. It also doesn’t provide as many cues as the original plans, but the titles still provide context. We’ll pilot these lesson plans and tweak them as we go along!
Rolled papers image from Raw Pixel: https://unsplash.com/photos/CRuuAIvG3PM