Designing Learning Programs

Designing Learning Programs

AITSL STANDARD: 1.2 – Understand how students learn

Structure teaching programs using research and collegial advice about how students learn.

AITSL STANDARD: 2.2 – Content selection and organisation

Organise content into coherent, well-sequenced learning and teaching programs.

AITSL STANDARD: 2.3 – Curriculum, assessment and reporting

Design and implement learning and teaching programs using knowledge of curriculum, assessment and reporting requirements.

AITSL STANDARD: 3.2 – Plan, structure and sequence learning programs

Plan and implement well-structured learning and teaching programs or lesson sequences that engage students and promote learning.

What is a Learning Program?

In this section, I want to explore how you might write your own learning program. A learning program is an essential to your teaching. In this document, you will outline what skills need to be taught and when. You will also outline the required assessment and their placement throughout the term. All of this is essential information as you are mandated to meet curriculum requirements through your department. Below, I have outlined an example table that you can use to record the information with a breakdown of each section.

Learning Intentions

In this section, you need to outline the learning intentions of each lesson for the week. Make it clear and ensure that weeks at the beginning of the term are targeting vocabulary and fundamental concepts. As you move towards assessments and deeper into the term, you can begin looking at more higher-order thinking and skills. Jump over to Bloom’s Taxonomy for more help on learning about the levels of thinking.

Teaching and Learning Focus

Here, you need to summarise what students will do during the lesson. Will they completing a retrieval chart? Will you begin the lesson with a think, pair, share or a stand up, hand up, pair up? Please understand, this is not the lesson itself. The character and personality of the lesson has to be established visually through a powerpoint or Press, or some other means. This outline should be clear enough for other teachers to pick up and develop a lesson. Remember, a learning program might be used and modified for years. You need to allow for this wriggle room.


Each lesson should have vocabulary that you are reinforcing. Remember, establishing vocabulary and defining terminology is a fundamental skill that students need to learn to move to the next stages of their learning. Outline the words that you would like students to know by the end of the week in this section. This will allow you to keep track across the entire year and tick off whether you are covering the necessary content. You do not want any gaps in learning across the entire year.

Reading Strategy

In this section, you will need to outline the reading strategy of the week. Now, this might not always be applicable depending on what you are studying, but it is healthy to consider where these strategies might fall.

Content Descriptors

This is your connection to the overall content descriptors mandated by the Department of Education (or other institution depending on your context). Go through and take the content descriptors and establish whether you have covered all of the essential learning for this area. This is a good checklist to ensure that you have covered your basis. Another way of completing this is to print the descriptors, highlighting the essential learning and assigning them across your entire year. From here, you can identify the dreaded gaps that may need to be filled.

Assessment For Learning

Here, you need to outlined how you will assess students in their learning. Now, this isn’t necessarily summative. Students can be informally assessed throughout the term to see how they are travelling with their understanding. Your goal here is to outline what students are completing, which will support them in their learning as they head towards their summative assessment. If you are planning a summative assessment in week 4 then every lesson and task leading up to this week should support their assessment. In the Assessment For Learning section, state the outcome of the lesson. For example, have students written a paragraph or completed a Venn diagram?

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