How to create a compliant and effective session plan

We are confident that you have heard the expression (and perhaps even used it yourself), “Failure to plan is planning to fail”. When it comes to the facilitation of efficient training, this is undoubtedly true.

Consider the following scenario: you’ve just delivered a training session to a new group of students. Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out quite as well as you had intended.

First and foremost, you simply ignored certain critical topics in your training session. Afterwards, you found yourself running out of time to answer student questions since you had to adapt your training “on the fly” in order to cover the topics you’d overlooked.

Overall, you’re not confident that all your learners gained the knowledge they required, and you wish you’d had a more defined plan for the session. This is exactly why you need a session plan and participate in the session planning sessions.

What is a Session Plan and how does it work?

Session plans (also known as learning plans) are detailed descriptions of the activities and resources that will be used to assist a learner cohort work towards the achievement of specific learning goals and objectives.

These session plans outline the subject and training delivered, how long each part is scheduled to last, the methods of instruction used for each topic addressed, the resources, equipment and facilities needed to deliver compliant training and the measures and criteria you’ll use to ensure that everyone has understood what you intended.

The outline can be as simple as a quick synopsis, or it can be more comprehensive, including scripts, prompts, and lists of questions that you intend to ask.

The session plan is intended to serve as a guide for the trainer rather than a script. It is a normal industry practice that most of the trainers participate in the session planning. They give a focus for the training, they serve to remind the trainer of important concepts, and they serve as a record of the training when used again in the future by the same or different trainers.

What should your Session Plans cover?

Your session plans must cover at least the following areas:

  • Unit code and unit name
  • Number of learners allocated to a trainer
  • Trainer name
  • Prior knowledge required from learners, relevant units previously completed by learner cohort/ learner group
  • Points from previous learning that may need reinforcement e.g. misconceptions
  • Reasonable adjustments and addressing of the needs of individuals
  • Session overview
  • Training package requirements including unit elements
  • Methods of assessment
  • Different topics covered throughout the session
  • Additional learning students must complete before, during or after the session
  • Formative assessment activities
  • Any relevant information of summative assessment activities
  • Resources, equipment and facilities required to deliver the training session including softwares, hardware and any technology support
  • Resources for learners, trainers and assessors and third-party
  • Any workplace health and safety considerations
  • Assessment submission requirements
  • Knowledge and performance evidence
  • Information related to assessment conditions
  • Session timing and date
  • Session number
  • Learning objectives
  • Session length (including break, if any)
  • Session outcome

The benefits of Session Plans

It sets up and serves as a clear guideline for your training session.

When it comes to training, you know exactly what you want to teach your students, but it is only through the use of a session plan that you will have a clear picture of how YOU want your session to proceed, when you should take a break, when to continue, what topics you must cover and what topics you must leave for the next session. Therefore, having compliant session plans will guide you through the process of deciding what topics you will and can address and what exercises will be required. It assists you in planning and preparing for your training session.

Your ability to organise your topics and present the information in a logical order will be enhanced as a result of your session planning strategy. You can choose which topics to address first and which ones to discuss last, depending on your preferences or according to the requirements of the unit of competency. You can also plan the intervals between tasks that you will need to perform while training. You wouldn’t give away the punchline to a joke until you’d gone through all of the preparation.

It provides you with foresight

Because you have previously specified your themes and the sequence in which they will be presented, you can now examine the potential questions or counter arguments that may arise throughout the conversation and training delivery and presentation. This will allow you to prepare your responses in advance and avoid getting caught off guard when unexpected questions are thrown at you.
It assists you in maintaining your course of action.

Having a properly defined session plan can assist you in avoiding detours and keeping your session on schedule. Sometimes, a student will bring up related issues that will branch off into other topics, wasting valuable training time, or you may receive questions that will be answered later in the programme, after the scheduled session has concluded.

Avoid self-destruction by failing to see that your strategy will accommodate the response in a timely and appropriate manner.

It assists you with time management.

Understanding how much ground you will cover throughout your training session can assist you in estimating how long it will take you to complete it. It’s also possible to design your training session based on how much time you have with the learners at your disposal. If your training delivery program includes group discussions or hands-on activities, you must determine how long you can afford for these to take place… else, you risk depriving yourself of valuable time.

The substitute trainers or instructors will find it beneficial.

The fact that you will be present at all of your training sessions is not guaranteed. When a substitute trainer is called in to conduct your session in your place, your session plan will be valuable to the substitute trainer. It will serve as a reference for the substitute when planning the schedule and flow of instruction.

Gives you a professional appearance

A well-planned session gives you a professional appearance, and we could always use a few more brownie points in that area! A trainer’s training session is an extension of their own abilities and professionalism.

A session plan will not guarantee that you will have a fantastic training session every time; but, having one in place will help to minimise any possible problems associated with not preparing for it in advance.

It is usual practise among trainers to have a session plan in place – it does not necessarily have to be detailed down to the minute, but rather a plan consisting of sequential components that allow the session to unfold in a logical and organised manner to aid the students in their learning.

Do you wish to receive a free copy of our session plan template in the email? Send us a request at



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