Training the Trainer: A Free Lesson Plan Template

“How do you organize your thoughts?”  It’s a question I always ask at the beginning of a train the trainer session.  Some people outline their thoughts in PowerPoint.  Some use post-its or scraps of paper.  Some begin with their goals and objectives.  Some say that they’ve done certain presentations so many times they no longer need to “organize” their thoughts.

I like to get all of my thoughts together in a lesson plan first, then I’ll create additional materials – flipcharts, PowerPoint, handouts, job aids, etc.  Below is an image of this template.  Click here if you’d like to download a pdf version of the file.

02042013 - Lesson Plan

Think you might want to include images of your slides on your lesson plan document? This previous post offers a slightly different lesson plan template: Training Lesson Plan Templates: Design vs. Delivery

Here are several advantages I’ve found in using this format:

  1. Anti-lecture Triple Check. There are three features of this lesson plan I’ve found to be helpful in ensuring my lessons are engaging and learner-centric.  The Objectives section nudges me to create an action-oriented, participant-focused foundation (by the end of this session, learners will be able to describe or explain or plan or role play or model something).  The Ways to Assess section prods me to make sure that if my objective claims learners will be able to do something (such as list the steps for a process), then I’ll need to be sure there is an activity in the lesson plan that gives learners an opportunity to show me they can list those steps.  The Instructional Technique section allows me to see, at a glance, the types of activities that I will use throughout the session. I’ll be able to see whether I have stacked too many of one kind of activity (lecture, large group discussion, etc.) in a row.
  2. Contingency Planning. On more than one occasion, I’ve been sick or stuck in traffic or for some reason unable to deliver a session.  When I draw up a lesson plan, it’s not a verbatim script of what I plan to say, but it’s detailed enough that anyone with a basic level of familiarity with the topic can deliver the session and generally look like they know what they’re talking about.
  3. A Lesson Plan Library. I have folders and folders full of these lesson plans.  When I’m asked to deliver a session similar to, but not quite exactly like, a lesson I’ve done in the past, it’s easy to pull up one of these files and update it.  I can also send these lesson plans to colleagues who are working on similar projects and don’t want to re-invent the wheel.
  4. A Lesson Plan Archive. Similar to #2, having an archive of past lesson plans saves me a ton of time and planning when I only facilitate a topic once or twice a year. When it’s that time of year again, I pull up the file, review what I did last year and make adjustments on things that weren’t quite perfect.

Do you think this would be helpful in organizing thoughts for your upcoming presentation?  If so, drop me a line and let me know how you plan to use it. Do you have a different or better way to organize your thoughts?  Drop a line and let me know how you’re organizing your thoughts.

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18 thoughts on “Training the Trainer: A Free Lesson Plan Template

  1. Pingback: “I want to deliver a presentation and then ask: did we go too far?” « Train Like A Champion

  2. I can testify that this lesson plan template is indeed useful and I encourage any and every trainer to use it! I have also expanded on it by including PPT screenshots just in case I get ‘lost in the midst of things!’.
    Brian, tell us alittle more about ‘objectives’. What is a good resource for developing objectives.

    • Thanks Terene! Love the idea of modifying it to include screenshots of PPT slides.

      Objectives, eh? I could (should?) write an entire post about that. A quick and dirty explanation of “objectives” – they need to be learner-centered (objectives are not: during this training I will talk about…; objectives are: by the end of this training, my LEARNERS will be able to…); they need to be action-oriented and observable (learners will be able to “know” how to do something is NOT a good objective because a facilitator cannot see what a learner “knows”… but if the learner can describe, explain, demonstrate, compare, etc., the facilitator can see it).

      If you do a search for “Bloom’s Taxonomy” or “Bloom’s Verbs”, you should be able to find a bunch of objective-ready verbs and phrases that can be helpful!

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  13. Brian — I love your idea of a Lesson Plan Library and Lesson Plan Archive. I facilitate many classes that are similar, but have different modules, or that have the same modules but customized. You mentioned you have folders and folders of lesson plans. Are they electronic? Do you have a good system for cataloging or tracking your various lessons or modules? This includes PowerPoint decks. I am looking for a better system than relying on my memory.

    • Thanks Karen. Yes, all of my folders upon folders of lesson plans are electronic. They’re generally organized in folders by event/year… that’s as far as I’ve gotten when it comes to any system of organization. So, for example, I’ll have a folder for “Annual Meeting 2014” and within that folder, I’ll have sub folders for “Lesson Plans”, “PPT Slides” and “Handouts”. Not sure that helps, but it’s the system I’ve been using… if you have other ways to organize, I’d love to hear about them!

  14. Thank you so much Brian! I am a new trainer for early childhood teachers in GA and a new grad I just got my Master’s Degree in Early Childhood. Sometimes, putting theory to action can be difficult and this is where the problem lies for me because it’s all new to me. Your blog has given me a hope and a newness :)! Thank you so much! Your lesson plans are exactly what I need especially the lesson plan with the PowerPoint slides! I did my slides first to help develop my training I am very visual when it come to learning and teaching. Thank you again!

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