Monday, 23 April 2012 16:12

Lesson Cycle

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How to plan an online module Construction workers looking at a blue print © 2012 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

In the online environment, planning a module is much like planning a lesson for a face-to-face course. Many models for lesson planning exist. The one you choose will depend upon your specific needs. Regardless of the model selected, a typical lesson includes the following segments: introduction, body, summary/conclusion.

Lesson Cycle


The introduction serves a variety of purposes, including:

  • Sparks the students’ interests
  • Activates their prior knowledge
  • Establishes a purpose for learning
  • Bridges into the body of the lesson and to prior learning segments

When preparing a module or lesson, you should also include the following information in the introductory segment:

  • Outcomes or Objectives: Outline the specific learning objectives for a learning segment, helping students anchor their learning.
  • Required Resources: It’s helpful to list the resources needed so that the student can be prepared for the lesson. You may also include a “snapshot” of the learning segment, including a brief list of the assignments/activities included in the lesson.
  • Pre-assessment: Provide an opportunity for students to participate in a pre-assessment activity that encourages them to identify what they already know or believe about the topic so that they have a foundation on which to attach learning. Pre-assessments also allow them to self-evaluate their own learning growth as they move through the lesson.

Use attention-getting strategies will allow the student to become more engaged with the material. Some strategies include:

  • Anecdotes and short examples
  • Interesting quotes or expressions
  • Rhetorical questions that are addressed
  • Startling statistics, interesting facts, or other relevant statements


During the body of the lesson or module, you guide the student through the learning activities. Usually you should include the following items:

  • Instructions on the resources and learning activities that are needed for this section, as well as suggestions for study strategies for this information
  • Activities to establish relevance and meaning for the learning activities
  • Opportunities to participate in active learning activities
  • Opportunities to share your expertise when appropriate
  • Activities to encourage reflection and application of knowledge
  • Opportunities for students to practice their learning before being assessed
  • Assessment activities:
    • Assignments
    • Quizzes
    • Exams
    • Other


The summary acts much like the introduction, by bringing the learning full-circle by reinforcing the key concepts and bridging the content from the introduction and body into the next learning segment or lesson plan. The summary should leave the student interested and engaged in learning, prepared for further learning, and confident of their understanding of the content in relation to the outcomes.

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