• The training program will provide an overview of the Collaborative Lesson Development Training curriculum, the key concepts and principles behind it, and opportunities to discuss all of this with the other members of the cohort.
  • In addition to attending weekly discussion sessions, trainees are required to complete reading and occasional homework tasks before they become certified Trainers.

Backward Lesson Design

  • Backward design describes a process for curriculum development that begins with the definition of skills learners will obtain from following the curriculum.
  • The main steps of backward design are:
    • defining learning outcomes,
    • designing learning experiences to achieve those outcomes,
    • developing content to support these experiences,
    • assessing learners’ progress towards the desired outcomes,
    • and evaluating the curriculum design based on this assessment.
  • Backward design helps keep curriculum development focussed on the intended learner, and it can make it easier to trim down lesson content to focus only on what is required to achieve specific outcomes.
  • Creating a new lesson/curriculum with backward design can take more time than an alternative, “content-first” approach.

Target audience and teaching objectives

  • Getting a clear image of the target audience at the beginning of the lesson development process helps with better focus and making sure that the lesson will address the needs of the learners.
  • Understanding your audience’s prior knowledge will help you choose the right level of instruction and set realistic goals.
  • Communicating the target audience clearly will help you attract the right participants.
  • Bloom’s taxonomy serves as a very useful bank of action verbs for use in learning objectives.
  • SMART framework is a valuable tool used for defining clear objectives.

Formative Assessment & Feedback

  • The effectiveness of a lesson can only be assessed by teaching it.
  • Direct and indirect feedback collected while teaching should be used to improve the lesson for next time.
  • Trainees are required to try teaching a section of their new lesson in a “trial run” during the break in Collaborative Lesson Development Training.


  • Good collaboration allow you to create better lessons, faster, and to have more fun while you are doing it.
  • Structured decision-making, especially among close colleagues and/or friends, can feel unnecessarily formal early in a project.
  • On the other hand, it is easier to establish decision-making processes early and before any substantial disagreements have occured.

Using the Lesson Infrastructure

  • Lesson developers will initialise a new lesson from a template repository, which they will then need to configure and start adding episodes to.
  • Developers will often need some support with the first stages of lesson setup, especially if they are not yet familiar with GitHub and/or Markdown.

Training Logistics

  • Collaborative Lesson Development Training is designed to be taught in two parts, with an extended break in between.
  • The Carpentries Incubator is a space for community development of lessons. Lessons developed in the Incubator can be submitted for open peer review and acceptance to The Carpentries Lab, and/or adoption as a new official lesson one of The Carpentries lesson programs.
  • To complete certification, trainees must participate in both parts of the training and perform a trial run of at least some of their lesson during the break.