Section 3 Lesson Planning

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Section 3 Lesson Planning

    Section Three: Lesson Planning

    Section 3: Lesson Planning


     The lesson planning process is discussed. Key features of this section include:

     ? Writing learning outcomes (pp. 19-20)

     ? Creating lesson plans (pp. 20-21)

    ? Preparing instructor notes (pp. 21-22)

    ? Handouts (pp. 22-25)

    ? Sharing training materials (p. 26) ? Considering your learners (pp. 26-28)

     ? Being flexible (pp. 28-29)

     ? Planning and reflection (p. 30)

    ? Teaching overseas students (pp. 30-31).

Starting to plan your teaching session

    Effective planning is key to successful teaching. Consider the following when you

    start to plan your session:

    ? Allow enough time. The time involved in the preparation of a new session

    will be several times the amount spent delivering the training. Even when a

    session has been run previously, experience suggests the ratio will be at least


    ? Avoid making your session too content-heavy. Think about how much

    your students can learn rather than how much you can teach. You can

    actually teach at least three times as much as they can learn!

    ? Think innovatively. If you are running a session which has been delivered

    previously by colleagues, it is tempting to leave the content and format as it is.

    Instead, take a fresh look and see if you can find a better approach.

    Writing learning outcomes

    Your first step is to identify learning outcomes for the session. Learning outcomes

    are clear, precise statements of what the learner will know or be able to do as a

    result of attending your session.

    Ideally, your session will be embedded in a module. Each module or course of study

    will have a set of learning outcomes so use these as a basis for developing learning

    outcomes for your session. Discuss with the module leader.

    Learning outcomes can be aimed at different learning levels. For example, a

    learning outcome beginning with the word ‘evaluate’ will involve a higher level of

    learning than one beginning with the word ‘identify’. They can be:

    Handbook for Information Literacy Teaching: July 2009


Section Three: Lesson Planning

    ? Task-based e.g. ‘at the end of this session students will be able to make

    efficient use of Voyager to find journal articles from reading lists’

    ? Generic e.g. ‘at the end of this session students will be able to perform

    effectively in small-group work’.

    Ensure the learning outcomes are stated in student-centred terms. They should

    focus on what the student will be able to do rather than what you will have taught

    them. In theory, there are three parts to a learning outcome:

    ? task: an observable action stated in active terms such as to ‘list, identify,

    state, select, solve, calculate, write, demonstrate, match, translate or

    distinguish between’. Avoid passive terms such as ‘understand’ or


    ? standards: indicate the proficiencies which the student must achieve; they

    should be measurable. They can be of three main types: accuracy, speed,

    quality, e.g. ‘without error’, ‘within ten minutes’, ‘in a coherent and well-

    organised fashion’.

    ? conditions: describe how the task will be carried out, such as the range of

    problems to solve, the tools or equipment to be used, any special aids or

    manuals provided, environmental conditions, special physical demands, e.g.

    ‘without reference to a manual’, ‘by checking the provided chart’, ‘by using the

    evaluation checklist’.

    In practice, while it is important to set the task and the standards in your learning

    outcomes, you may find that in the context of IL teaching it may not always be

    appropriate to set conditions for the activities. Examples of learning outcomes are

    given in the lesson plan in Example 2, p. 100 and in the instructor notes in Example 3, pp. 101-102.

    Creating lesson plans

    Lesson plans set out the learning outcomes, content and structure of a session.

    They are intended for the benefit of the learner. They provide a useful tool to

    manage the expectations of learners and can help them prepare for the session.

    Together with instructor notes, they should help a colleague deliver a session in your

    place should the need arise.

    Lesson plans: items for inclusion checklist

    ? Course title (e.g. MBA, Year 1 Medicine), session title, and date and time

    of session and your name

    ? The learning outcomes of the session

    ? Details of the session content including a description of any activities

    indicating if these will be assessed

    ? Details of any required preparation such as pre-session reading or the

    completion of online tutorials

    ? Sources of help outside the session 20 Handbook for Information Literacy Teaching: July 2009

    Section Three: Lesson Planning

    Lesson plans can be in different formats:

    ? Use a lesson plan template or devise your own. A template is available at

    S:\TEMPLATE\INSRV Templates\Internal Templates but there are many

    other good examples in the literature.

    ? If you are distributing the lesson plan to learners and the sessions are

    embedded within a module, you may be required to use the School’s template.

    See Example 2, p. 100.

    Whichever format you use, your lesson plan will need to be clear and accessible.

    The recommendations for the preparation of handouts on pp. 23-24 and the

    guidelines in Supporting Document 6 pp. 96-97 are also applicable to lesson plans.

    Where possible, distribute lesson plans prior to the session; this will be essential if

    any advance preparation is required of learners. There are a number of options:

    ? Hand them out at the start of an IL programme

    ? Hand out plans at the start of each session

    ? Ask academic staff to distribute them at an appropriate lecture before the


    As an alternative to a lesson plan handout, you may wish to use the first few slides of

    your PowerPoint presentations for the purposes outlined above. It is good practice to

    distribute a handout of the presentation.

    Preparing instructor notes

    Preparing good instructor notes is an important element of your planning. They

    should provide a practical framework for the session and will assist you during

    delivery. They can also enable a colleague to deliver a session in your absence.

    Instructor notes should include two elements:

    ? Information on the session content: i.e. the core points including examples

    to be used in demonstrations

    ? Information on the process by which that content is to be delivered: for

    example, whether the content is to be delivered only by the instructor

    (instructor-led learning) or through the instructor asking the group questions

    and developing the content through the responses (student-focused learning).

    Will the questions be put to the whole group (global questioning) or to named

    individuals in turn (specific questioning)?

    Handbook for Information Literacy Teaching: July 2009 21

Section Three: Lesson Planning

    Instructor notes: items for inclusion - checklist

    ? Course title (e.g. MBA, Year 1 Medicine), session title, and date and time

    of session (if applicable)

    ? Checklist of items to bring or things to set up at the start of the session,


    o Handouts to be distributed

    o Evaluation sheets

    o Equipment that needs to be set up

    o Any other special instructions

    ? Sub-headings together with timing guidelines

    ? Details of example searches or demonstrations

    ? Details of activities / how the students will learn

    ? Your initials, filename given to the document and date of last revision.

    These should be at the end of the document. A template is available at: S:\TEMPLATE\INSRV Templates\Internal Templates.

    The precise format and design of instructor notes inevitably depend on the nature of

    the session and your own preferences. When using PowerPoint, instructor notes

    may be added to each individual slide and printed off using the Notes Pages output

    format (see Section 5: Teaching Technologies, p. 49 for further information).

    To assess whether your notes are sufficiently clear, you may wish to ask a colleague

    to read them and consider whether he / she would be able to use them to deliver the


    Example 3, pp. 101-102 illustrates a useful approach whereby the instructor notes

    take the form of a detailed plan, including learning outcomes.


    Handouts are useful:

    ? as a memory aid - students will have information to refer to after the lesson

    ? to encourage good note-taking practice - students are more likely to be

    engaged in the presentation when not preoccupied with taking down the main


    ? to allow students to recap on key points during a presentation.

    They may take various forms:

    ? Directly related to session content, e.g. a PowerPoint-generated handout

    of a slide presentation. See Example 4, pp. 103-105.

    ? As an information sheet or permanent source of reference. See Example

    5, p. 106 and Example 6, pp. 107-114.

    22 Handbook for Information Literacy Teaching: July 2009

    Section Three: Lesson Planning

    ? As a worksheet / workbook to be completed by the students as a

    session progresses. See Example 7, pp. 115-118, Example 8, pp. 119-120,

    Example 9, pp. 121-122 and Example 10, pp. 123-126.

    ? As a combined workbook and permanent source of reference. See

    Example 11, pp. 127-133 and Example 12, pp. 134-138.

    ? As an activity sheet to spark discussion amongst students. See

    Example 13, pp. 139-140.

    ? As an evaluation aid / checklist. See Example 14, pp. 141-142 and

    Example 15, pp. 143-144.

    Preparing handouts

    Consider identification and layout:

    ? Include your name or initials, your library and the date of preparation, and

    also the course of study, the module and the title of the session

    ? When sessions are embedded within a teaching module the School may

    require the handout to follow its house style

    ? Handouts must conform with the requirements of the current INSRV

    Communication and Style Guidelines which are available on the

    Communications section of insrvSpace.

    1Bear in mind the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). This places a duty on all educational institutions to make reasonable adjustments so that

    disabled learners are not put at a substantial disadvantage. Learners who are

    dyslexic, have concentration difficulties, or are visually impaired will benefit from the

    following measures:

1 Disability Discrimination Act 1995 [online]. Available at: [Accessed: 6 August 2009] as amended

    by the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 (SENDA) [online]. Available at: [Accessed: 6 August 2009] and the

    Disability Discrimination Act 2005 [online]. Available at: [Accessed: 6 August 2009].

    Handbook for Information Literacy Teaching: July 2009 23

Section Three: Lesson Planning

    Accessible handouts checklist

    ? Prepare handouts using at least 12pt Arial font ? Use bold text for headings and avoid feint text at all times ? Avoid excessive use of capitalisation, underlining and italicisation ? Leave plenty of space between blocks of text ? Left justify text and leave the right margin jagged ? Use matt finished paper in cream or pastel colours ? Keep an up-to-date electronic copy for advance circulation, if requested

    For more information refer to Supporting Document 6, pp. 96-97.


    Whichever type of handout is used, it should be well-structured, well-designed and

    checked rigorously for errors. It is good practice to ask a colleague to check it, to

    ensure that the information and any instructions given are clear and correct.

    Creative use of handouts

    Handouts can be used to provide opportunities for active learning during the lesson

    by, for instance, leaving blanks for students to fill in or by inserting a ‘question’ slide

    and asking them to make appropriate notes on the handout. This helps students

    engage with the material and encourages critical thinking.

If you are distributing copies of your slides at the start of the session, don’t

    necessarily include them all. You may hold students’ attention more effectively if you

    include a few surprise elements in your delivery!

    24 Handbook for Information Literacy Teaching: July 2009

    Section Three: Lesson Planning

    HILT Pick

     Use word clouds to liven up your teaching materials.

    Word clouds are visual representations of text giving

    greater or lesser prominence to words depending on how

    often they appear in the source text. They can be

    produced in a wide variety of styles and colours. An

    example word cloud (based on text from this section) is

    shown below. For an example which was used on a

    handout, see Example 16, p. 145. Free software for

    creating word clouds is available at

Handbook for Information Literacy Teaching: July 2009 25

Section Three: Lesson Planning

    Sharing training materials: the Training Materials Repository

    The Training Materials Repository has been created to facilitate the sharing of

    training materials within INSRV. Everyone is encouraged to upload their own

    materials which they would like to share with other teachers in the Division. You can

    also make use of the materials already on the repository and adapt them for your

    own needs.

    The repository is available as a Blackboard module at (log

    in to Blackboard using your usual network username and password). The Training

    Materials Repository module is visible to registered users only, so please email if you are a member of INSRV and would like to be


    A structure has been created to make it easier to organise the materials. Categories


    ? Orientation and Voyager

    ? Finding Information

    ? Evaluating information / critical appraisal

    ? Plagiarism and Referencing

    Notes on how to add your own materials, and how to download files from the

    repository to adapt for your own purposes, are included in the ‘Guidelines’ section of

    the module.

    Considering your learners

    Learners will already have developed strategies for finding information, for example,

    using a search engine. You will need to design lessons which build on existing

    experience but create opportunities to assimilate or accommodate new techniques to

    old understanding.

    HILT Pick

    Challenge existing practice by using an activity which

    asks students to evaluate resources they rely on

    such as Google and Wikipedia; see Example 10, pp.

    123-126 and Example 13, pp. 139-140.

26 Handbook for Information Literacy Teaching: July 2009

    Section Three: Lesson Planning Also think about the following issues:

    ? Skill levels. Within any group, skill levels will vary. Your planning will need

    to recognise and accommodate the variations in skill levels across the group.

    Consider auditing skills through a pre-session questionnaire.

    ? Motivation. The most effective learning takes place when it is based on real

    needs and placed within authentic contexts. Try to optimise relevance and

    timeliness, for example by basing the session on a forthcoming assignment.

    ? Learning preferences.

    o People learn in different ways. Some learners like to look at the big

    picture then fill in the details later; others prefer to learn in a logical

    sequence achieving a complete overview at a later stage. Try to

    appeal to different preferences by offering a choice of activities.

    o Different formats such as worksheets or online tutorials can also cater

    for different preferences

    o You can cater for a number of learning preferences within the same

    session. For example, if you are defining plagiarism, you could use

    more than one of the following methods:

Method For students who prefer to learn by…

    reading the detail themselves Use a PowerPoint slide with a text


    hearing a concept explained Verbalise the concept using alternative

    words to the slide

    Give an example of plagiarism applying a concept to real life Ask the learners to suggest definitions of exploring a concept in an open-ended plagiarism themselves way and taking part in discussions

    engaging with visuals and humour Use a PowerPoint slide featuring a

    cartoon about plagiarism

    relating to concepts in a personal way Give a personal account of a plagiarism


? Support needs.

    o Check with the School’s disability contact to find out if there are

    learners with additional support needs and, if necessary, seek advice

    on how best to include them

    Handbook for Information Literacy Teaching: July 2009 27

    Section Three: Lesson Planning

    2o The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) places a duty on all

    educational institutions to make reasonable adjustments so that

    disabled learners are not put at a substantial disadvantage

    o When designing activities, consider the demands on all learners’

    capacities such as vision and hearing, concentration and stamina,

    social skills and awareness

    o General principles for planning accessible teaching sessions include:

    ? Creating a logical structure

    ? Making handouts available in advance, either electronically or

    in paper form

    ? Using multiple modes of communication

    ? Varying methods of presentation

    ? Planning mini-breaks or changing activity types

    ? Incorporating checks on learner understanding so you can

    monitor the effectiveness of your communication

    ? Ensuring your plan is flexible so you can offer options to


    For further information see Supporting Document 5, pp. 94-95

    Being flexible

    Your learning outcomes can be achieved in a variety of ways. Build some flexibility

    into your plan so that you can react to the situation on the day.

    ? Allocate free time. If your session is 90 minutes long, plan for 70 minutes of

    lesson content. Allow 5 minutes at either end for students to arrive/leave and

    save the remaining 10 minutes to be used elsewhere in the session. This

    might be used to:

    o Give the students a break if necessary

    o Review progress with the class: are you meeting the learning


    ? Prepare extra material

    o To have further activities available for quick learners if they complete

    the scheduled work

    2 Disability Discrimination Act 1995 [online]. Available at: [Accessed: 6 August 2009] as amended

    by the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 (SENDA) [online]. Available at: [Accessed: 6 August 2009] and the

    Disability Discrimination Act 2005 [online]. Available at: [Accessed: 6 August 2009].

    28 Handbook for Information Literacy Teaching: July 2009

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