Lesson Design Using the ‘BOPPPS’ Model – Part 2: Intended Learning Outcomes

Hello SJSU Community!

It’s Dr. Rayna Friendly again. In a previous post, I introduced a model of lesson design that I learned during my graduate degree, that is taught in the Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW), which has been run in more than 100 academic institutions worldwide (Day, 2004)! 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). ‘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

In a previous blog post, I discussed the first component: the Bridge. Today, I would like to delve deeper into the second component: Intended Learning OUTCOMES for the lesson.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) outline what you hope the learning to learn at the end of your lesson, module, or program. There are many online resources for you to check out that explain how to write and utilize ILOs in your teaching. Here is a good one from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, but feel free to Google for other versions that work best for you. The ILOs are important to include so that learners know what you expect from them, and these also should should determine the types of activities and assessments you include in your lessons (more on this in my upcoming blog posts on pre/post assessments and participatory activities!). Let me show you an example of some ILOs for one of the lessons I teach, before explaining the components:

By the end of this class, students will be able to:

•Differentiate two types of metacognition
•Describe developmental trends in explicit and implicit metacognition
Reflect on how you use metacognition for schoolwork
Practice Active Listening, Meditation & “Mindfulness” to enhance your metacognitive abilities

In the example above, you should be able to note 3 important components of writing ILOS:

    1. First, specify the timeframe. When will the student be able to achieve the outcomes? By the end of the lesson, by the end of the module, by the end of the course, etc? I state the ILOs for each of my lectures, at the beginning of class, before we start discussing any course content. I also use these ILOs for my student’s study guides, making a checklist stating what they should be able to know/do by the end of each lecture!
    2. The knowledge/skills learners should be able to gain. In the above example, you can see how the learner is explicitly told what knowledge/skills are important to the instructor. Essentially, it should describe the types of learning that will be assessed later in formal and informal ways. In the example, for instance, this includes “two types of metacognition”, “developmental trends in explicit and implicit metacognition”, and so on.
    3. What the learners should be able to do with that knowledge (i.e., action verbs!). Here is, in my opinion, the most important and useful component of ILOs: the verbs. What should the learners be able to do with the knowledge they’re learning? In the above example, you can see these verbs, such as “differentiate”, “describe”, “reflect”, and “practice”. These verbs relate back to Boom’s Taxonomy (1956), revised in (2001) of types of actions we can do with knowledge. They range from the least effort needed (e.g., simply remembering information) and advance with subsequent complexity up to being able to evaluate or create something new. There are MANY versions of this taxonomy online, I recommend doing a Google Image search for a diagram of the taxonomy that works best for you!  These verbs should then align with the teaching and testing methods you used (e.g., if you say that learners should be able to create something, how can you evaluate this creation?)

Look out for my following blog posts to learn more about the rest of the components of the BOPPPS Model. Next I will go into the pre/post assessments and how to align them with your ILOs!


(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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