Planning a “one-off” teaching session

what’s brought you here?

Why plan?

If you know what you’re talking about, you don’t need to plan right?  Well…think about it, the world is full of brilliant people who “know” a lot, but fail to teach well.

Why is that?

Teaching is a skill


It takes more than just knowing, we need to understand and build experience in how people learn. We need to be able to translate, design, communicate, plan and reflect. 

 Learners need master crafts people who care about them and have the motivation to plan effective sessions and reflect on how they might make them better…



Where to start? 

Planning out a session can give you the confidence to deliver something of quality. But where to start? 

The tips below will help you to begin to think about planning evidenced based, best practice teaching.



An easy and important place to start is with the WHO. Who are the learners you would like to teach? The more you know about them and what they need to learn, the more you will be able to make an effective plan.

For example: you have been asked to teach Basic Life Support…how you will do this will very much depend on whether they are, for example:

1) 5-year olds

2) third year nursing students

3) the care staff of a nursing home.

This question is a great example of how the theory of constructivism plays out.


The educational setting is often forgotten when planning teaching. Make it part of your plan to consider these key issues:

How will I choose and set up the space (real or virtual) to support how I want to interact with the learners (and the learners with each other)?

What impact will this setting have on the learners? For instance, if it’s in A&E will they be able to concentrate? If its in the educational centre, how can I make it authentic? If its online, how can I minimise distractions?

The “what”…objectives

Objectives describe the finer details of “what” learning we want our teaching sessions to deliver. It is essential to be clear to ourselves about the objectives of our session. What do we really want our learners to learn?

There are many tools out there to help you think about this. Learning taxonomies have been used by teachers for decades to think about what kind of learning they want to achieve.




The WBYHT teaching plan

Teaching plan template

This basic template was created to help you consider your lessons and plan for learning

The how…

Luckily, there is a lot out there to help us with “the how” of delivering learning  

Online teaching

There are loads of tools to help us deliver learning online and many of them are free or have free versions. In the tech blog, Nate describes some tips from his ammo box

one-off tech

Maximising interactivity

You will likely have experienced recently what it feels like to be in a lecture where you haven’t been engaged. The person leading the session hasn’t interacted with you in anyway and you’re starting to zone out and look at your phone…

interactive theory

Social learning

At the frontier of learning theory are the social learning theories such as Engstroms activity theory, communities of practice and transformational learning

social learning


The “affective” /feeling domain is really important to me when I plan lessons. I want people to connect with each other and what’s being taught




I want to ensure maximum interactivity. I need to plan what I want them to learn and how best to do it interactively


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