What makes a good Learning Plan?

Learning plans are part of best practice teaching and training. Our NCALNE (Voc) candidates need to produce individual learning plans for their learners following the diagnostic assessment that they do in one of our assessment tasks.


It makes sense to use very specific literacy and numeracy-focused information from diagnostic and formative assessment to inform learning plans. Learning plans can work great for groups too.

But all of this begs the question: What are the features of great learning plans? I think there are several features that you should include to make a great learning plan. My context is literacy and numeracy skills development, but these would work in any context. Here they are:

  1. Negotiated: Good learning plans are the result of a negotiation between learner and teacher. This isn’t always possible I realise. Time pressures and other factors sometimes get in the way. But if you can work these out together you get buy in from the learner.
  2. A clear learning goal: In my mind I separate out learning outcomes that I set as the tutor from learning goals that I might negotiate with my learner. The learning outcomes might relate to a particular assessment or standard that I am assessing against. A clear learning goal for a learner (or group of learners) might relate to a much smaller aspect of an assessment or course component however. A learning goal might also relate to something in the learner’s world that doesn’t connect directly with my larger outcomes. However, it could be connected in the learner’s mind. E.g. “Get my driver’s licence” might be critical to the qualification outcome for the learner.
  3. Actionable steps: I think it’s a great idea to take one specific learning goal and break it down into a series of smaller actionable steps.
  4. Timeframe: For each of the action steps I think you need to set a timeframe. These can be long or short-term depending on what you are trying to achieve. The main idea is to give people a sense of progression or movement towards achievement of the goal.
  5. Resources: Some action steps need specific resources. These can include people as well as other resources such as specific training resources, reference materials, or other resources. It’s good to identify these at the point you set the learning goal.
  6. Evaluation: Somewhere in the process you and your learner need to review and evaluate the learning and progress. Having clear milestones and timeframes can help with this.

You know what I’d really like? For the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) to enable the Literacy and Numeracy Assessment for Adults Tool (LNAAT) to generate learning plans. That would just make my year.

What else? Anything I’ve missed…? Let me know in the comments.

Author: Graeme Smith

Education, technology, design. Also making cool stuff...

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