A Robust Procedure For Lesson Design

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Darryl L. Sink and Associates, Inc. (DSA) helps organizations design and develop learning and performance solutions that get results. DSA works cooperatively with organizations to:

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How do you fit old and new ideas from learning theories and best practices in instruction into a structure that is robust enough to accommodate a wide range of approaches?

Refinements of Robert Gagne’s Events Of Instruction (1985)* over the years has produced a robust lesson design structure that accommodates an eclectic approach to design while providing structure.

Here are the basic steps

Activity Reason
1. Introduce the topic Gain attention
2. Present the objective Provides direction
3. Present the material Provides stimulus
4. Show correct performance Provides a model
5. Let them try it Provides practice
6. Give them corrective or confirming feedback Provides knowledge of how they are doing
7. Assess their performance Provide certification of the key performance
8. Provide review and summaries Enhances retention and transfer

The key is not to see this lesson procedure as lock-stepped but rather as the components of any good lesson or module. For example you could use an activity right off the bat as an introduction to gain attention. In one of our instructional design workshops, for a module on needs analysis, I start with a case study. The structured case study serves to gain the attention of the audience and to help them discover a key concept (training is not the answer to many performance problems). In the case study they are given directions, a role to put themselves into, a scenario and choices to make first individually and then as groups of 5-7 people. The group discusses the choices and comes to consensus. A debrief follows with expert answers provided and discussion. The case study helps with a key concept in the module and helps the learner into a readiness state to learn how to do a full needs analysis.

When we leave any of the Lesson Design steps out your chance that the learner will learn and transfer the learning to the work environment are decreased. Give it a try with any type of content or learning approach. You’ll find it is golden.

* Gagne, R. M. (1985) The conditions of learning (4th ed.). New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

See you next time,