Effective lesson planning is the greatest tool in your teaching toolkit. In this teaching tip, learn about the BOPPPS Lesson Plan, and find downloadable resources to help you apply this strategy in for face-to-face and remote lesson delivery.
The lesson plan is the “travel guide” or “road map” to the lesson that you deliver in class. It contains the structure, sequence, and materials needed to get from the beginning to the end of the lesson. Use an intentional structure, like the BOPPPS model, to help navigate this journey.
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Understanding The BOPPPS Method
Effective lesson planning gives you the chance to document and revise lessons, improving as you go. BOPPPS is a trusted lesson planning approach to engage learners, increase retention, and promote active learning. There are 6 main parts of the BOPPPS model, described below. (Some versions separate presentation and interactive practice.)
Grab attention. Use a video, audio clip, or a personal anecdote relevant to the topic to arouse students’ interest in the topic. Rosegard & Wilson (2013) show that using a “hook” can greatly increase student retention of material.
Be obvious. Use concrete statements like “By the end of today’s class, we will have analyzed the messages in a variety of commercials.” Anderson, Hunt, Powell, & Dollar (2013) found that using statements like these helped students to better understand the purpose of the class. This resulted in motivation to “put in more effort” and work more “efficiently.”
Test the waters. Being able to gauge how new learning relates to what students know already is important. McClelland (2013) showed that deliberately activating prior learning with a few pre-questions can be very helpful. This is a great opportunity to try a Kahoot or Socrative activity in your classroom. Don’t focus on what the ‘strongest’ students know or can do, but try to focus on what most learners seem to understand. If there are large gaps in the general knowledge in the classroom, this pre-assessment gives you the chance to address these immediately.
Presentation and interactive practice combines a combination of faculty-led instruction through new content, and practice and participation by students.
Present New Material
- This is your chance to share your knowledge and skills. You are the reason students show up to class, after all! “The lecturer’s presentation makes things human, quirky and interesting; makes it worth doing,” (Wood, Joyce, Petocz, & Rodd, 2007). Find ways to ensure your lesson delivery is engaging and reflects your content expertise.
Practice and Participation by Students
- Provide opportunities for practice and active engagement throughout. Try out some innovative active learning strategies. In an experimental study of three designs for one marketing course, Black, Daughtrey, & Lewis (2014) found that “active learning designs are likely to be more effective than traditional passive designs. In many cases, …traditional lecture design produces outcomes that are statistically inferior to those of active learning designs.”
This is your chance to get some formative assessment. Use it to demonstrate to yourself and to the class that learning has occurred, and to what extent. Ask questions using Kahoot or Socrative, or do a brief practice quiz in eConestoga. This is another chance to correct any misunderstandings students may have, either before the end of class or at the beginning of next class, to activate prior learning.
Have a clincher. “A strong and powerful ending often stays clearly in the students’ minds,” yet Cheng (2012) found that few professors provide a rich ending. Many teachers find themselves out of time and stop suddenly. Try a memorable quote, an overall conclusion, a student testimonial, or an image that sums up the learning.
Tips and and Innovations
Write it Down
Document your lesson plans. Try out our lesson plan template. Decide on a flow for your lessons and document each section of the class experience. After each class, go back and make adjustments to the plan. Course updates will be much easier to do each semester.
Think about Talk
You may want to also monitor the volume of teacher versus student talk in each section. The better planned your lessons are, the harder the students will work and the less you will speak during the class time. The students should be working harder than you in the class time as you do a lot of your work prior to the session.
The BOPPPS model focuses on the structure and sequence of an individual lesson. In a course where lessons connect, one week’s post-assessment is another week’s pre-assessment! Connections can also be made between live (synchronous) and anytime (asynchronous) learning materials and activities.
Technology and Features for Remote Lessons
It may be useful to identify the technology and features of the technology that you aim to use when developing a BOPPPS lesson. Keep this information in mind when creating practice activities, explaining instructions, and providing alternative participation options for students.
Find the below downloadable resources to support your use of this lesson structure.
Anderson, A. D., Hunt, A. N., Powell, R. E., & Dollar, C. B. (2013). Student Perceptions of Teaching Transparency. The Journal of Effective Teaching, 13(2), 38-47.
Black, G. S., Daughtrey, C. L., & Lewis, J. S. (2014). The Importance of Course Design on Classroom Performance of Marketing Students. Marketing Education Review, 24(3), 213-226.
Cheng, S. W. (2012). “That’s it for today”: Academic lecture closings and the impact of class size. English For Specific Purposes, 31234-248.
DiVall, M. V., Alston, G. L., Bird, E., Buring, S. M., Kelley, K. A., Murphy, N. L., & … Szilagyi, J. E. (2014). A Faculty Toolkit for Formative Assessment in Pharmacy Education. American Journal Of Pharmaceutical Education, 78(9), 1-9.
McClelland, J. L. (2013). Incorporating rapid neocortical learning of new schema-consistent information into complementary learning systems theory. Journal Of Experimental Psychology: General, 142(4), 1190-1210.
Rosegard, E., & Wilson, J. (2013). Capturing Students’ Attention: An Empirical Study. Journal Of The Scholarship Of Teaching And Learning, 13(5), 1-20.
Wood, L. N., Joyce, S., Petocz, P., & Rodd, M. (2007). Learning in lectures: multiple representations. International Journal Of Mathematical Education In Science & Technology, 38(7), 907-915.