Teaching: Developing the content

Last updated: Tuesday, December 31, 2019

After you have developed your learning outcomes and decided upon your delivery method, you are now ready to develop your content.

One of the most important points to remember is that the human brain can only process a small amount of new information over a given time. If a learner is given more new information than they can cope with, they may stop learning (‘cognitive overload’). Ways you can avoid this include;
    • Tailoring the session according to your learners existing knowledge and/or skill. Bridge the new information to what the learners know already. 
    Breaking up your content across several sessions 
     • Presenting only essential information – remove anything unnecessary 
    Don’t over complicate your content, try to simplify complex material 
    • Using plain English as far as possible, avoid jargon and unfamiliar abbreviations 
    Using worked examples to teach learners new information  

If you are using slides as part of your session, you can help your learners concentrate on what you are trying to teach them by;
    • Using bullet points and align your text to the left 
    • Using simple animation to drop one bullet point in at a time 
    Pausing to let learners read the text 
    Asking questions before moving onto the next point 
    • Including only essential information, using keywords, not cramming the slides with text 
    Using pictures to display information instead of text 
    • Going at your learners pace  

When writing your content keep referring to your learning outcomes to help keep you on track.

Remember that learners may switch off quite quickly if you are speaking to them, so plan activities for them if you are able. If this is not practically possible, you can still ask questions of your learners throughout your session to try to keep them engaged. Take care to give them time to answer your questions: don't speak too soon.

Rehearse your session, especially your opening lines, to increase your confidence prior to your teaching session. Practise in front of a mirror, your flatmates, your partner or even your dog! Get feedback and iron out any problem areas.