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Effective Lesson Planning

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Effective lesson plans are essential to providing instruction that meets the needs of learners. A good lesson plan is an important tool that focuses both instructor and learners on the purpose of the lesson and, when carefully constructed and followed, enables learners to efficiently meet their goals and instructors to maximize the use of their time, resources, and skills.

There are many ways to plan an effective lesson, but the most important point is that you make a plan. A lesson plan is like a road map. It identifies the destination (objective of the lesson) and marks out the route (activities along the way at each stage of the plan).

Effective lessons emerge from what the learners want to learn combined with existing state standards and program curricula. There are several things to consider in the design of effective lessons, including matching lesson objectives to students’ needs and abilities, identifying the types of activities and grouping strategies that will support the objective, and sequencing and pacing lessons. Teachers should also consider other information about the learners such as their educational background, level of English language proficiency, and any specific learning difficulties or disabilities. In this course, we will learn about basic components of lesson design and examine five stages of an effective lesson plan.

Through the online course format, you can learn at your own pace from the comfort and convenience of your own home or office. Facilitators, available to help you throughout the eight-week course, lead you through the content and technical aspects of the course.

Each week's lesson addresses a topic in adult education pertaining to lesson planning. Course activities include readings, assignments, and discussions. The lessons are sequential.

Lessons and resources included in the course:

  • The Basics of Lesson Design
  • Warm Up and Review
  • Introduction of Material
  • Guided Practice and Communicative Practice
  • Application and Extension
  • Evaluation and Assessment

Completion of the course is designed to require a minimum of 24 hours of your time; approximately three hours a week. However, you may find that you want to spend longer with some topics.

In order to receive the certificate for participating in the Effective Lesson Planning training, you must complete all assignments, respond to each discussion question, and respond at least once to one of your classmates in any of the week’s discussion/assignment forums.

Remember that, although you will gain from doing the activities, you will learn most from discussions with your online colleagues and facilitator. To keep our discussions as productive as possible, you must stay within the timeframe outlined for this course.

To begin your registration for this facilitated online course, please go to ERO and register for the How To Be a Good Online Learner short tutorial course. This short tutorial course serves as a prerequisite to all of our facilitated online courses and will help familiarize and prepare you for participation in our longer courses. The short tutorial course will not take much of your time and only needs to be completed once. If you have already completed the short tutorial course, return to How To Be a Good Online Learner in Blackboard to download the contract for this course and email it to

This course is available to out-of-state participants for a fee of $150. To begin the registration process for out-of-state participants, please send an email to

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The Literacy Institute @ VCU  |  Contact Us  |  © 2012 VALRC. All rights reserved. Updated: 06-13-16
The VALRC, located at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU School of Education), is funded primarily through the VA Department of Education.