Create a lesson plan

This page contains guidelines for creating a lesson plan.

Constructive alignment

Constructive alignment is at the heart of solid course design (Biggs, 1996; Cohen, 1987). The constructive alignment principle views the student as the centre of the learning process and considers learning to be efficient when the learning activities (i.e. what the student does) and the assessment are in line with the learning objectives. This alignment is described in a so-called constructive alignment table. This table provides an overview of all the learning activities, learning objectives and assessments within a course.

Design a lesson plan

To organize learning objectives and learning activities within a learning unit (i.e. a class, lecture or other form of teaching session), lesson plans are devised. Lesson plans can be important tools in determining how classes will be developed, how content is presented, which activities are implemented, and how interaction and collaboration among peers fits in (De Oliviera Dias & Reategui, 2016). When designing a lesson plan, the fundamental principles of constructive alignment should direct educational design. Make sure that the student engages in an activity that allows the student to practice the learning objective and that the teacher should play a supporting role. The following guidelines can help in constructing a lesson plan.

Lesson plan guidelines


  1. Define the allotted time for each step in your lesson plan
  2. Use a bridge-in to capture students’ interest, explain the relevance and motivate them to learn.
  3. Articulate the learning objectives
  4. Assess prior learning, questions and student expectations


  1. Employ strategies to actively engage students in the learning process
  2. Identify and use media to support the active learning activities
  3. Accurately describe the activities for the teacher and the students
  4. Provide opportunities for practice and feedback


  1. Assess what students have learned (formatively)
  2. Summarise the lesson
  3. Connect the lesson to real life and/or the next lesson


Considerations for a lesson plan

In order to design an effective and suitable lesson plan, it is important to know the students. Try to tailor the plan to the overall group of the students and then make modifications to cater for specific needs (e.g. disabilities, motivational issues, honors students, etc.).

Consider that not all students have the same preferences or learning curves. Account for differences, such as extroverts and introverts, and thus allowing for working together and/or alone. The same applies for learning curves: some will need more time than others. Design your lesson plan accordingly, try to allow opportunities for all types of interactions. Most activities can be changed (and thus be made to fit a different context) to be done separately, in pairs, or in groups.

Be sure to assess students’ work and progress. After the guided practice, assess your students. Do they seem to have mastered the learning objective? What other strategy can you employ to attain this objective? If you have a class with ample time to cover the subject matter, leave ten minutes or so at the end for questions.

This lesson plan could serve as an example:

Topic Learning objective Teacher activity Student activity Teaching aids Mins Total time

Welcome and programme


Introduce topic, discuss relevance, explain link to practice and previous class







Introduce topic of discussion, give instructions





Conditions for active learning: the student perspective

Describe conditions for active learning to take place


Discuss conditions in groups of 3, write them down

Pen, paper



Ask each group to share conditions, comment

Share conditions

Pen, flipover



Connect assignments to the learning objectives and handbook