Reusable Modules & Lessons - Best Practices for Building

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Base your Modules and Lessons on your terminal and enabling objectives.

If you follow these best practices for setting up your modules and lessons, then they will be easy to re-use.

Let's begin with terminology.

  • A chunk is a discrete component of content that can stand on its own.
  • A Module is a topic chunk within a training program, like a chapter in a book.
  • A Lesson is a sub-topic chunk within a Module.
  • A Terminal Objective is a specific statement that describes in measurable terms what a learner will be able to do as a result of engaging in a learning activity.
  • An Enabling Objective is a statement that describes a step that the learner must achieve in order to meet the terminal objective; again, in measurable terms.
  • A Learner Achievement Activity is a method by which the instructor and the learner determine whether or not, and to what degree, the learner has achieved mastery of the objectives being taught. 
 

Best Practice #1

Structure your facilitator guide with a Module for each terminal objective.

In so doing, each Module is a discrete topic chunk that completely and concisely provides the directions, a.k.a. sheet music, the instructor must follow to lead the participants to the desired instructional outcome.

In keeping with the best practice of chunking, include Lessons that address the enabling objectives within each Module.

Here is an example of how a Table of Contents might look like when structuring a Facilitator Guide this way.

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Best Practice #2

Begin each new Module with a module overview page.

Include the following categories on the first page of each module. This information will quickly refresh your memory when you are considering reusing the module. And, it serves as as an advance organizer for the instructor. 

  • The Module Name - A concise descriptive phrase that captures the essence of the topic being taught.
  • The Module Goal - The Terminal Objective. 

  • The Module Time - Precisely how much time is required to teach the module.
  • The Module Overview - A brief description of what the instructor will be doing and the activities the learners will engage in. In other words, the process of instruction.

  • The list of Materials Needed  - Specific, complete, and limited to just the Module.

Here is an example of a Module Overview page.

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Best Practice #3

Create a Lesson for each enabling objective.

The number of lessons within Modules will vary, depending on how many enabling objectives are associated with each Module's terminal objective.

Begin each new Lesson with the following information:

  • the Time required to complete the Lesson
  • the Enabling Objective the Lesson will teach

  • a very brief Overview of the process of instruction for the lesson.

Then, structure the Lesson pages by setting down:

  • specifically what the instructor is to say and do
  • in the logical order required to effectively deliver the instruction. 

For example, if the instruction involves a slide, the participant workbook, and an activity, your Facilitator Guide Lesson page might look like this:

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Best Practice #4

Include a Learner Achievement Activity as the closing Lesson of each Module.

This is important when your intention is to build reusable Modules. Otherwise you will need to store and cross index to your Learner Achievement Activity Lessons in a logical way so that they are easy to find and grab when you are reusing a Module.

 

Best Practice #5

Automate the development process as much as you can.

Use as many of the advanced features of Word as possible to speed up the document layout and formatting, and to ensure consistency. 

Consistent use of styles is one of the hallmarks of professionalism. There's a new app to help you set up reusable Quick Styles in Word that is free and easy to use. It's called AuthorTec™ Quick Styles.

 

Consistent document formatting and the use of icons to cue instructional actions is another hallmark of professionalism. An easy way to automate development is to use either Elements Pro or LeaderGuide Pro. Both of these tools are specifically designed for the Development phase, to build facilitator guides and participant materials. Both can be affordably licensed on a month by month basis, or annually. Download LeaderGuide Pro to try both tools for free for 3 days each.


 

Best Practice #6

Get a head start.

We all know that waiting until the last minute is a recipe for stress. Use these best practices and you will be able to hit the ground running the next time you are tapped to be a miracle worker or have just run out of time.