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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"The Difficult Lesson" by William-Adolphe Bouguereau.

A lesson is a structured period of time where learning is intended to occur. It involves one or more students (also called pupils or learners in some circumstances) being taught by a teacher or instructor. A lesson may be either one section of a textbook (which, apart from the printed page, can also include multimedia) or, more frequently, a short period of time during which learners are taught about a particular subject or taught how to perform a particular activity. Lessons are generally taught in a classroom but may instead take place in a situated learning environment.

In a wider sense, a lesson is an insight gained by a learner into previously unfamiliar subject-matter. Such a lesson can be either planned or accidental, enjoyable or painful. The colloquial phrase "to teach someone a lesson", means to punish or scold a person for a mistake they have made in order to ensure that they do not make the same mistake again.

Lessons can also be made entertaining. When the term education is combined with entertainment, the term edutainment is coined.


Types of lesson

Falconry lesson

The potential format and structure of a lesson is dependent upon factors such as culture, learning objectives and the style of the individual teacher. Perhaps the most universal lesson presentation is when one person speaks to one or more people in the same room or space. This maybe supplemented with gestures and tools. A lesson may range from a lecture, to a demonstration, to a discussion or a blend of some of these common presentation methods.

Some lessons may involve work by the student. Traditionally this might include reading and writing or creating something, perhaps when the instructor is not present. The student may work independently or collaborate with others.

More recent technologies have expanded the way a lesson can be delivered. For example: film strips, pre-recorded audio and video tapes, television programs and podcasts are some ways to deliver or add to a lesson. Distance education techniques such as video conferencing, or Electronic learning in a Virtual learning environment have allowed interactive lessons to be presented to students who may not be in the same physical location. These tools offer new synchronous, asynchronous and blended ways to deliver lessons.

Lesson plan

Teachers and instructors usually have a lesson plan which dictates the structure of the teaching. A group of lessons may be linked together in a unit plan, scheme, or work. The detail of the plan may vary with some being a simple list of what is going to be taught in a lesson with others working including much more detail, such as a time plan and the learning aims and objectives. Student teachers and beginning teachers are usually advised to put a great amount of detail into the written plan. This ensures that the plan will be cohesive, that all the components of a successful lesson are taken care of, and that one has a checklist to ensure that practicalities are taken care of (e.g, resources, scheduling, and classroom management considerations). Furthermore, beginning teachers are often advised to script some sections for themselves, such as questions they might ask the students in order to get a discussion going at the beginning of the lesson. The expectation is that the teachers can and should depart from the script when appropriate; improvisation is definitely encouraged and the fact of having written it out in advance ensures that an adequate amount of thought has been put into it ahead of time. Another reason for including a great amount of detail is that student teachers are often required to submit lesson plans in advance to their mentor teachers or professors in order to receive feedback on their ideas. When creating the lesson plan it is usual to look at the following:

  • The aims (the broader goals of the lesson, what it is reaching towards)
  • The objectives (the specific, measurable outcomes of the lesson - the particular skills or knowledge students should have acquired by its conclusion)
  • The number of attendees and the student-teacher ratio
  • The previous knowledge of the learners (which may or may not be the same for all) and how this will be activated at the start of the lesson
  • The motivation of the learners (school students, for example, have no choice but to attend so the teacher must build some kind of motivation into the lesson)
  • The time required for each section of teaching and learning
  • The resources required and available
  • Catering for the different needs (cultural differences, learning styles, special needs) of the individuals
  • How the lesson is to be evaluated.


The word lesson comes from Latin lectio "the action of reading (out)". From there, the word was also used for the text itself, very often a passage from the Bible read out during a religious service ("first lesson", "second lesson"). Finally, any portion of a book to be studied was referred to as a lesson.

See also

Study guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Help:Lesson article)

From Wikiversity

This help page is intended to help new contributors to Wikiversity write lessons (as distinct from other resource types). The page is primarily aimed at inexperienced (web) educators with little or no previous experience of writing (online) educational content. There are many resources in the main namespace of Wikiversity which can also be classified as "teacher training" or which help with the creating of learning resources - however these will be more advanced. This help page is nothing more than a help page which covers the basics. It will help contributors who want a fast track to creating learning content for Wikiversity.


What is a lesson?

Possibly the most unpretentious definition ever of the word "lesson" comes from the Moodle help system:

"A lesson delivers content in an interesting and flexible way. It consists of a number of pages." (Moodle)

Lesson structure

This is just a very basic starter kind of structure you can use. It is a structure so common that it is cliched and laughed at, but it should not be ignored, especially if you don't know what else to do. If you use this structure (good), then try not to use the same labels as section headers (bad) - use other words instead, and then people probably won't notice what you're doing.

  1. Preparation / teaser / introduction: warmer; motivational; make the audience feel an urgent desire for the material they are about to get; statement of goals; very short; get ideas from TV show teasers?
  2. Presentation / model / instructions: the main content; you lay your cards on the table.
  3. Practice / consolidation / interaction: the learners begin to recycle the material presented or carry out the instructions, first in more closed/passive/rule-following fashions, but then with increasing open/active/creative exercises.
  4. Production / evaluation / the bit at the end: less agreement between educators what this is about - might be a phase where learners show full independence with the learning material (project), or a formal assessment for the teacher to check on learning success, or some kind of feedback session or link into the next lesson.

Watchpoints for writing lessons

Big yes-yeses

Know your audience, and know what they see in your lesson. It may not be quite what you thought.
  • Identify the audience.
    And be precise about it. Wikiversity is not Wikipedia.
    • Encyclopedia articles are written for a non-existent single, abstract, culturally and ideologically neutral, theoretically educated adult.
    • Lessons should be written with a very precise and real audience in mind all the time. The audience will differ for almost every set of resources. Picture to yourself how your audience will react to each section.
    Identifying an audience is much harder in an online environment - unless you are lucky enough to have your audience in the same room - but you must bear them in mind all the time. Don't over-estimate the audience. Don't invent the audience of your dreams - be realistic.
  • Connect with the audience (style, interest, fun, interactivity)
    Trying to connect with an online audience is rather like trying to tell jokes to a camera. All the same, you have to try. You don't want to be a newscaster. Your style of writing should talk to the audience in a way that makes them feel involved and personally understood. Use techniques to maintain interest, both in the joins from one paragraph to the next, and an overarching technique that keeps the beginning and end of the lesson tightly together. Give the reader reason to keep reading. Lessons can be fun - fun isn't allowed on Wikipedia - but it's critical to a good Wikiversity lesson, if you can manage it. Interactivity can involve things like quizzes, discussions and collaborative writing - but maintain variety and keep each activity small.
  • Use structured sequences
    Chop up the material into manageable chunks and arrange it appetisingly and meaningfully. Sushi, not spaghetti. Find out how to use subpages for the divisions of your lesson, course or learning unit. Don't put more onto one page than a learner will be able to digest in one sitting.
Between known and unknown: it's nice to feel the other end of the rope is safely attached.
  • Start with what is known and move to the unknown
    Lessons start with establishing common ground, such as revising what was learnt before, or finding out what is already known and then responding to this. Learning requires a foundation to build on - if you can't find that foundation, you won't be able to create a learning situation. This is one reason why you really need to identify and connect with the audience any way you can.
  • Use variety
    Use a variety of methods; different parts of your "structured sequence" should use different methods. Also use different media types (video, audio, text, images). Sound and vision are the only two senses the digital learner can rely on, but a real-world class can benefit from all five senses - multi-sensual experiences promote learning.
Intelligence test: what is the best way from St.Paul's to Blackfriars?
In this image we see the learner intent on cracking open the learning goal by any of a variety of means placed at its disposal, fair or unfair.
  • Repetition and redundancy
    Don't feel you constantly have to move on and teach new stuff, cramming as much knowledge into the lesson as you can. That kind of thing is for encyclopedias. Instead, keep (1) your learning goal and (2) your audience in mind, and try to create as many possible different lines of connection between these two things as you can. For example, use different methods to teach the same point (if it doesn't go in one way, it might go in another). Don't be afraid to repeat yourself, but preferably say it in different ways unless you want a laugh. Recycling material after suitable time periods helps memorisation. Methods of repeating and revising material include interactive sections such as quizzes and productive activities - as well as, ummm, saying it again.
  • Bridge theory and practice
    Examples and case studies are good.
  • Feedback
    Somewhere along the line it is good if you get some kind of feedback from your audience. Learners can leave messages on the lesson talk page, your own talk page as facilitator, or they can send you email - as you prefer. They can also indirectly contribute feedback while creating content. Try to motivate user response, even if it's just a userbox or your personal seal of approval which you promise them in return.
  • If you have spare time
    Read things which tell you how to be funny while warning you how not to be stupid - it will make you a more interesting writer.

Big no-noes

A class in the hand... solves a lot of problems with getting the hang of online lesson design.
  • Too much collaboration too soon is really, really bad.
    Wikis are temptingly collaborative, but collaborative online education is massively difficult to pull off successfully. A collaborative resource with 0-1 participants lies somewhere between funny and sad; it does not educate. Ditto 100 people crammed into the state of confusion created by misdirected participatory requirements. Many good resources on Wikiversity - perhaps the majority of the good ones - are written and completed in an individualistic manner for a passive audience. Write something for a passive audience first, then graduate to the next level. When you start with collaborative lessons, bring your own classes for the first ones, otherwise you or your materials may die of loneliness, or you may never become aware of the mass confusion you caused.
  • Don't try to be what you're not.
    Be yourself and not somebody else - teachers have naturally different styles, and trying to adopt someone else's style can turn a good teacher into a bad teacher. If you are new to teaching, you may not be aware of your style yet.
  • Don't follow methodological fads.
    Especially not the one you just read or went to a course about. Unless it naturally fits your style. Or unless you can take the risk of massive failure (remembering always that failures are great learning opportunities, provided you live).
"Build it and they will come", croaked the web educator and died.
  • "Build it and they will come" is not a good principle of web education.
    Try: hard work, quality, a bit of marketing such as proper resource categorisation, really nice piccies and layout, bring your own class anyway just to make sure, and if all else fails, tell them the answers to the next test are numerologically disguised in the text.
  • Collaboration is not wiki-heaven.
    Collective resource creation (if it works) brings conflict. Guaranteed. But it could be educational if you manage to steer things in the right direction. Just be prepared, get your expectations right and bring a sweat bowl.
  • Try not to do everything at once.
    Did this page have a lot on it? Never mind. If you got half of it first time round, that's great. Go and make a resource, and another, and then come back here and pick up some more ideas, or leave your comments and experiences on the talk page.

Case study

This section is under construction.

Courses and other resources on Wikiversity which help with lesson creation

For the most part, these pages will be of interest only to experienced educationalists or trainee teachers. Reading these resources will require a significant investment of time.

External links

These resources are down-to-earth.

See also

Wiktionary-logo-en.svg Look up Lesson in
Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Wikipedia-logo.png Run a search on Lesson at Wikipedia.
Wikipedia-logo.png Run a search on Pedagogy at Wikipedia.
  • Help:How to write an educational resource
  • Help:Resource types - find out what other kinds of resources you can contribute to Wikiversity.
  • Help:Lesson plan
  • Wikiversity:Learning
  • Wikiversity:Learning resources
  • Wikiversity:Learning projects
  • Wikiversity:Readability

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010
(Redirected to The Lesson article)

From Wikisource

The Lesson
This is a disambiguation page, which lists works which share the same title. If an article link referred you here, please consider editing it to point directly to the intended page.

The Lesson may refer to:

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

LESSON (through Fr. leQon from Lat. lectio, reading; legere, to read), properly a certain portion of a book appointed to be read aloud, or learnt for repetition, hence anything learnt or studied, a course of instruction or study. A specific meaning of the word is that of a portion of Scripture or other religious writings appointed to be read at divine service, in accordance with a table known as a "lectionary." In the Church of England the lectionary is so ordered that most of the Old Testament is read through during the year as the First Lesson at Morning and Evening Prayer, and as the Second Lesson the whole of the New Testament, except Revelation, of which only portions are read. (See LECTION and LECTIONARY.)

<< Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

Leste >>


Up to date as of January 23, 2010
(Redirected to René-Primevère Lesson article)

From Wikispecies

(20.III.1794 - 28.IV.1849)

French surgeon and ornithologist.
Abbreviation : R.Lesson

Simple English

A lesson in school is a planned period of time for learning. It involves one or more students being taught by a teacher. A lesson may be either one section of a textbook or a short period of time during which learners are taught about a subject or taught how to perform an activity. Lessons are generally taught in a classroom but may instead take place in a situated learning environment.

Also, a lesson also means a learner learning something he did not know before. Such a lesson can be either planned or accidental, enjoyable or painful. The slang phrase "to teach someone a lesson", means to punish or scold a person for a mistake they have made making sure that he does not make the same mistake again.

Lessons can also be made entertaining. When the term education is combined with entertainment, it is called "edutainment".

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