Simplicity in designing lessons

Published by Tammam Kbeili On 2019/08/01

Everyone understands the power of simplicity. Everyone knows the importance of simplicity. Everyone thinks what they produce is simple, yet that’s rarely the case. Indeed I would argue simplicity is one of the hardest things to arrive to and it takes lots of iterations and deliberate effort.

Simplicity is very important with many things like product design, instruction manuals, restaurants menus…etc. When it comes to teaching and designing lessons, simplicity is a core and a must-have Element. This is especially true because sometimes losing students for 5-10 minutes could mean losing them for the whole lesson, whole week or possibly whole term.

How to get to Simplicity

I will keep my advice simple and say: the one sure to way to keep your lessons simple is to eliminate as much as possible from them.

“perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there >is no longer anything to take away” Antoine de Saint Exupéry

Ask yourself for every section or piece of material in your lessons: Can I remove this? Can this be easily self-learned? Can student infer from other things taught? Can this be learned indirectly from homework or quizzes?

This usually takes a few iterations and results in distilling lessons down to the core principles using language with as little jargon as possible.

Simple doesn’t mean easy, indeed simple is usually hard to get to and generally under-appreciated. It’s generally easy to find reasons to keep something in or to add something, that said, to keep things simple, the opposite must happen. You must be in the habit of saying no to as many things as possible.