Lesson Design Using the ‘BOPPPS’ Model – Part 1: Bridge-In

Hello SJSU Community!

It’s Dr. Rayna Friendly again, here today to tell you about a model of lesson design that I learned and taught during my graduate/post graduate degree, which I use regularly to enhance my university teaching! In fact, this is the model taught to myself, and many others throughout more than 100 academic institutions worldwide during an intensive 3-day training event called the Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) (Day, 2004). The formation and use of the ISW has been documented, yest more research needs to be done. To date, the ISW has been found to be an effective way to transform instructor’s teaching in the classroom such that ISW participants were found to reduce their teacher-focused thinking in comparison to controls, as well as increase the number of active learning strategies used in their classrooms (e.g., Dawson et al., 2014; Macpherson, 2011). I hope to run the ISW at SJSU some day soon, but meanwhile let me tell you more about the BOPPPS model of lesson design!

‘BOPPPS’ is actually an acronym, which stands for the 6 basic components that are important to consider including when you are designing a lesson or workshop:

  • Bridge into the lesson
  • Outcomes for the lesson (as in Intended Learning Outcomes)
  • Pre-assessment of learners’ existing knowledge of those outcomes
  • Participatory Activities (as in Active Learning Strategies)
  • Post-assessment of learners’ knowledge of the outcomes
  • Summary of the lesson content

Note that these components can be used across the lesson once, or even multiple times if your lesson is divided-up into a few modules. Throughout my blog posts, I plan to describe the components of this model in more detail. For today, let’s delve deeper into the first component: The Bridge!

The Bridge-In component of the BOPPPS model reminds the instructor to include a segway into the content they plan to cover. Rather than jump right in, this encourages us to remember what it is like to be a novice, learning the material for the first time. (I don’t know about you, but I always found it so frustrating when my professors would forget to connect their lecture content to previously-discussed content or to real life in some way. I remember thinking “Why is he/she telling us this? Why is it important or relevant?“). Thus, including a bridge can help learners understand how the upcoming lesson content connects to their lives and/or to previous course content, in meaningful ways!

Some Bridge Ideas:

    • Start off with a DEMO that relates the lesson content to a real-life example
      • (e.g., I use the idea of proving the theory “Santa Clause true/real” vs “Santa Clause is false” when bridging into the topic of falsification in the Scientific Method)
    • Start off by telling learners an ANECDOTE or STORY about a past experience that relate back to the lesson content
    • Start off by SUMMARIZING where you left off last class before going into today’s lesson content
    • Start off by asking learners QUESTIONS or asking them to REFLECT on their personal experiences that relate to the course content

Look out for my following blog posts to learn more about the rest of the components of the BOPPPS Model!


(Note that these BOPPPS posts might be interspersed with content updates from the Teaching Community of Practice (TCoP), which I facilitate.) What is the TCoP, you ask?

  • The Teaching Community of Practice (TCoP) is a group for part- and full-time SJSU faculty (of all levels, across all departments), who are interested in enhancing their respective teaching practices. The TCoP will meet regularly, according to members’ schedules, to exchange strategies, tips and resources that have led to successful (and sometimes, less-than-successful) teaching experiences. Please fill out this form if you are interested in joining this community and you will be added to the groups’ mailing list. For inquires about the TCoP, please contact me at rayna.friendly@sjsu.edu.




Day, R., & the ISW International Advisory Committee. (2004). Instructional Skills Workshop: From grassroots initiative to international perspectives. Paper presented at the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Retrieved from http://iswnetwork.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Hand5_ICED.pdf

Dawson, D., Borin, P., Meadows, K., Britnell, J., Olsen, K. & McIntryre, G. (2014). The Impact of the Instructional Skills Workshop on Faculty Approaches to Teaching. Toronto ON: Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario

Macpherson, A. (2011). The Instructional Skills Workshop as a transformative learning process. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC.

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