Learning Center

How to plan a lecture

There are several tools available to help you plan your teaching, from planning a whole semester to planning parts of a lecture.

Didactic relation model
This is a model meant for planning a complete course, but it can also be used to plan a lecture or a seminar. The model highlights different aspects to consider when planning. Who are my students? What kind of preknowledge do they have? What are the learning outcomes in the course? How will the students be assessed? What are the situational factors: teaching hours, the size and shape of the lecture hall, number of students? What is the content for the course or the seminar? Which learning activities and tools can I as a lecturer choose between? The model also highlights the fact that these considerations interact.

(Bjørndal and Lieberg, 1976)

Constructive alignment
This is also a model meant for planning a complete course, and is especially helpful when writing a course description. Are the learning goals, learning activities and forms of assessments aligned? Do the forms of assessment measure if the students have achieved all the learning outcomes in the course? Do the learning activities help the students meet the learning goals?

(Biggs and Tang, 2007)

Tools to plan a lecture
A 45 minutes lecture might be split into 10 - 15 minutes parts, where visualization, examples and dialogue are methods that can be used to break the lecture into smaller pieces and enhance student understanding. Something as simple as letting the students look through their notes in a short break, can improve the students' concentration.

MAKVIS is a mnemonic rule for planning a lecture:

  • M - Motivate the students
  • A - Active the students
  • K - Make it specific for the students (and simplify)
  • V - Use a variety of teaching methods
  • I - Try to meet the needs of different types of students
  • S - Collaboration as a type of learning activities.

Which parts of the curriculum do I need to cover in a lecture?
You don't have to cover everything, the students can read a lot for themselves. It is ok to ask questions on the exam, that has not been covered in a lecture. But you need to set the expectations, and be transparent about what you want the students to learn, and what you will help them with, and what you expect them to learn for themselves. Spend time in class on what is both difficult and important to understand for the students, in order to make it easier for them to learn the rest through self-study. When you don't have to lecture that much, you also free up time in class for doing more engaging learning activities and giving students feedback.

You can also cover some material through creating thematic videos, for example for the difficult theories and models that the students would need to watch several times to understand.

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