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A well thought out design plan will help promote learning, retention and engagement for your students. Before you start diving into lessons, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions to determine what your lesson is going to look like and consist of! As a course creator, the course content is probably clear as day in your day but it might not be as clear for your students so keep that in mind! This will help your students build on their knowledge and more importantly remember it forever.

What do they need to learn in YOUR course?

A clear objective is essential to stay focused throughout the plan of your lesson, and it should be emphasized to your students at the very beginning to help them stay on track. The objective of your lesson should focus on what your students will be able to achieve at the end of it. It could be for them to learn a new skill or concept. Make sure to keep it simple so as to not give your student information overload!

What’s the best way for students to retain this information?

Some students learn differently than others and some information is better delivered in different ways than others. The top tip here would be to harness the power of visual aids. Humans in general are visual learners, according to E Learning statistics, after 3 days, humans remember 65% of what they see, 20% of what they hear and 10% of what they read. Visual information is more likely to get stored in our brain leading to better retention. There are various types of visual aids – videos, infographics, graphs, illustrations, charts and even animated GIF’s. (maybe create an infographic with this content info) 

Storytelling is a powerful tool to use as well, you can even use images with people in them to create strong and believable characters that your students relate to. Use images that will be hard for your learners to ignore like an intense gaze or people expressing emotion of some sort. Use visual aids as an effective way of communication, not as fillers. 

What is the optimum length of your module?

The top tip across numerous blog posts about lesson planning is to keep your modules short. It is better to have 6 x 5 minutes of content online than 1 x 30 minute modules where possible. This will keep your learners engaged for a longer amount of time and prevent them from missing parts of the content due to information overload. Traditional learning taught us the false narrative that students stay focused for 45 minutes when in actuality that’s not the case at all, and with online courses, it’s very easy for students to just turn off their devices if the content isn’t engaging. As a teacher, you want your students to LEARN your content, not just sit through it. Delivering your content in smaller bites also decreases your price point resulting in an increase in sales. 

How can you help your clients to embed their learning?

Lastly, don’t forget to reevaluate, revise and reflect! This is to determine what works well and what doesn’t whether it’s to do with content or how it’s delivered, it’s great to take a second to reflect and evaluate. The more you assess and reflect, the more successful you will be in creating learning material or an entire course that will truly resonate with your students.

A great instructional design model you can use is the ADDIE (analyze, design, develop, implement, and evaluate) model to effectively assess the performance of your course or lesson content.  You can also encourage students to share their feedback in order to get an idea of what was effective from their own perspective. Based on your analysis, you can then go on to make the necessary adjustments to your content to better engage students.