We recommend an iterative lesson design process that begins with
identifying the target audience, before defining learning outcomes, then
creating assessments, writing explanatory content, and evaluating the
lesson in a workshop.
Thinking about the target audience early in the design process helps
to ensure that your lesson is built around the needs and motivations of
Use the description of your target audience to help attract people
with the appropriate interests and prior knowledge to your lesson.
The goal of lesson development is to ensure that the
attained curriculum matches the intended
curriculum as closely as possible.
Assessments are a way to determine whether the objectives you
defined for the lesson have been reached.
Formative assessment happens during
teaching and provides feedback both to an instructor and a learner
- about progress and whether learning of new concepts occurred but also
about any misunderstandings and misconceptions which can hinder further
It is important to detect misconceptions as early as possible and
formative assessments (such as multiple choice questions) can help us
So far, we have learned about the importance of defining a target
audience and objectives for a lesson, how assessments can be designed to
provide specific feedback about learner progress, and how to use The
Carpentries Workbench to build an open source lesson website.
Spending time on preparing your teaching and feedback collection
will make you and your participants get the most out of your workshop
Creating clear setup instructions as part of your lesson and
circulating them ahead of the pilot is time well-invested and will give
you more time when teaching the lesson.
Instructor Notes are teaching tips that you should include with your
lesson to help you (a few months down the line) and other instructors,
who have the relevant topic knowledge but have not been involved in the
lesson design and development, deliver your lesson more
is the enemy of good” - your lesson does not need to be perfect
before you pilot or release it for community review. Early feedback from
the target audience will help you avoid straying off your lesson
Identify changes and improvements you want to make as a result of
trialling your lesson and schedule co-working sessions to work on these
You should make an active effort to attract potential collaborators
and try to make them all feel welcome and included. The Carpentries Help
Wanted page and featuring in the
Incubator Lesson Spotlight can boost the visibility of your lesson.
Creating the appropriate documentation and using GitHub features such as
labels, and issue/pull request templates will help lower the barriers
for contributions to your project.
When you design your lesson with new contributors and increased
accessibility in mind, you make things better for everyone in the
Scheduling regular co-working sessions, blocking time in the
calendar for issue triage, and setting and being responsive to GitHub
notifications will ensure regular progress on the lesson.
Documenting your lesson project, curating your lesson repository,
welcoming new contributions, and taking advantage of GitHub’s project
management features all make it easier for people to collaborate with
Any lesson can be improved with feedback, including this one.