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Planning Your Lesson

Lesson Planning and Learning Objectives

Developing clear, measurable learning objectives is the most important step to take when preparing your lesson. Alignment of content, learning activities, and assessment with objectives is essential.

When creating objectives, you may find it helpful to consider the SMART criteria:

  • Specific – Is there a description of a precise behaviour and the situation it will be performed in? Is it concrete, detailed, focused and defined?
  • Measurable – Can the performance of the objective be observed and measured?
  • Achievable –  With a reasonable amount of effort and application can the objective be achieved? Are you attempting too much?
  • Relevant – Is the objective important or worthwhile to the learner or stakeholder? Is it possible to achieve this objective?
  • Timely – Is there a time limit, rate number, percentage or frequency clearly stated? When will this objective be accomplished? 

Lesson Planning with "BOPPPS"

It is very helpful to think of each class you teach as a “cyclical lesson” rather than a “linear class”. There are many lesson planning models available, but one that many university instructors use successfully is called the “BOPPPS” Model. It is named after the acronym created by its six parts: Bridge-in; Objective; Pre-assessment; Participatory Learning, Post-assessment, and Summary.

  1. Bridge-in: Also known as “motivational set” or “topic hook”, the bridge-in helps gain and focus the learner’s attention and build their motivation for learning what will be taught in the lesson.
  2. Objective: Stating the learning objectives – the knowledge, skills, and / or values that the student should be able to demonstrate at the end of the lesson.
  3. Pre-assessment: Lessons build on learner’s pre-requisite knowledge; either from a previous lesson in the same class, or another course. The pre-assessment focuses on what individual learners already know about the lesson material, and helps set the stage for building connections.
  4. Participatory Learning: Also known as the “lesson body”, include learner participation as much as possible in your planned learning activities. If your instructional strategy for a lesson is primarily lecture, integrate pauses for questions or student reflection.
  5. Post-assessment: After the “body” of the lesson, assess – either formally or informally – if the learners have accomplished the learning objective as you had intended, and what they have learned. Provide feedback and corrections or clarifications to students.
  6. Summary: Also called “lesson closure”, wrap up your lesson by summarizing (or having students summarize) the main points of the lesson and the “key takeaways”. Provide an opportunity for learners to reflect on what they’ve learned, and recognition for what has been learned or accomplished in the lesson. 

Sequencing and Chunking 

Our brain can better understand information that it receives when it appears in a logical or family order. Sequencing and chunking your content will help your students more efficiently and effectively process the information.

Sequencing involves organizing your content so that concepts build on one another. (scaffolding). Students must learn to add before they can divide. Blueprinting your course can help you to make sure that your course is well sequenced, but it is important to plan your lessons with this concept in mind as well.

Chunking content into appropriate manageable blocks usually helps individual remember the needed information. For example, phone numbers are displayed as (306) 555-5555 as opposed to 3065555555. Pneumonic can also be useful ways of chunking information. ROYGBIV is often used for remember the correct order of the colours in a rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet).