“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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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