The Unintentional Trainers Guide to Lesson Plans

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lesson planOnce you’ve done your Training Needs Analysis (TNA) and developed your learning outcomes, the next step is to map our your lesson plan.  Don’t be put off by its jargon-y title it’s just the document which sets out the content and flow of your session.

Why do I need a Lesson Plan?

Great lesson plans are worth their weight in gold!  They provide the blueprint for your session, helping you ensure that you provide content for all of your identified learning outcomes.  They also set out the timings for your session, detailing how long each activity or exercise should take.  This is vital information to ensure your session runs smoothly and helps you manage your session more effectively.

More than this though, the lesson plan is what helps you ensure that your session is delivered consistently.  A must if your session is t be delivered multiple times in the same company.  Don’t get me wrong, there is will always be some variations between sessions based on the delegates and what they bring to the session, but by in arge people should come away with the same core messages and having achieved the same learning outcomes.  Your lesson plan is your key to helping you do that.  Trying to remember content month to month (or even quarter to quarter) is very tricky, especially if you deliver a range of sessions.

If you are still not convinced about the merits of a lesson plan, then maybe this will sway you.  What if, for some reason, you are unable to facilitate a particular session?  If you have a really good lesson plan in place then you can ask someone else to deliver it for you.  If you don’t, then you have to cancel the session and deal with all the issues that go with that.  It just makes good sense to have a detailed lesson plan as a safety net.

What should I include in a Lesson Plan?

Over time I’m sure you will develop your own template, one which is laid out in a way that makes sense to you and which provides the core information that you need.  Until then, here is our list of “must include” information:

  • The session title
  • The session duration
  • Who is it aimed at
  • The learning aim and outcomes
  • A breakdown of the session by activity or topic
  • Timings of the session by activity or topic
  • Detailed facilitators notes for each activity and/or topic
  • List of additional materials required
  • References in the facilitators notes to other supporting documents (e.g powerpoint side or handout)

To help you get started quickly and easily with a really useful template, we’ve provided one in our Material Bank.   And you can access it and download it for free!

We’d love to see any alternative templates that you use, or hear about other information you include in your own lesson plans – please feel free to share in the comments below or on our facebook page.




Founder of Zostera Ltd and The Trainers CPD Club. I've worked in L&D for over 16 years across both the public and private sectors.

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