The Design of Lesson Design

This is the original one-page design for “Lesson Design” using the template laid out in Part 3 of that lecture.

Step 1: Brainstorming

  1. What problem(s) will students learn how to solve?
    • How to figure out who a course is for and ensure that it meets their needs.
    • How to decide on a practical scope for a course.
    • How to design good exercises for a course.
    • How to make it easy for a course’s intended audience to find it.
  2. What concepts and techniques will students learn?
    • What a mental model is (and why it doesn’t have to be complete or completely correct to be useful).
    • The differences between novices, competent practitioners, and experts.
    • How those differences affect instructional design.
    • The difference between formative and summative assessment.
    • The difference between short-term and long-term memory.
    • How the limits to short-term memory affect lesson design.
    • How cognitive load impacts learning.
    • That legitimate peripheral participation is the best way to welcome people into a community of practice.
    • How to use reverse instructional design to create a course that meets learners’ needs.
  3. What technologies, packages, or functions will students use?
  4. What terms or jargon will you define?
    • Formative assessment.
    • Summative assessment.
    • Short-term (working) memory.
    • Long-term memory.
    • Cognitive load.
  5. What analogies or heuristics will you use?
    • Short-term memory is your cache, long-term memory is your hard drive.
    • Experts have a more densely connected mental graph than competent practitioners.
  6. What mistakes or misconceptions do you expect?
    • Your learners don’t think the same way you do (and possibly not even the way you did).
    • “Learning styles” (visual, auditory, kinesthetic) aren’t a thing.
    • Diving in at the deep end isn’t as effective as guided exploration.
    • You can’t just ask people how well they understand something.

Step 2: Who is this course for?


Catalina, 56, is a professor of statistics in Chile. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in her own department, and also manages a course for approximately 300 medical students on experimental design and data analysis. Catalina has used Excel SAS, and R for years. She would like to teach them to the medical students, but given their schedules, needs to put the training online. Since she’s going to do that, she has agreed to turn her materials into a DataCamp course.

While she has been teaching for years, Catalina has no formal training in lesson design. This course will introduce her to a few basic concepts and show her how to apply them to build a course that meets her learners’ needs quickly and reliably.

Step 3: What will the student do along the way?

Step 4: How are the concepts connected?

Step 5: Course overview

Course Description

This course is a brief introduction to modern evidence-based teaching practices, including

Learning Objectives


None. This course is a prerequisite for How to Make a DataCamp Course.