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This content is taken from the National STEM Learning Centre's online course, Planning for Learning: Formative Assessment. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 1 second DYLAN: Welcome to this five-week course on Planning for Learning. We’ve designed a range of activities and some pre- and post-session ones, with the aim of helping you develop your understanding and experience, as well as influencing and challenging your thinking of how best to plan with learning in mind. We will draw on current understanding and explore a number of different ideas examining how you can purposefully plan to produce evidence of your students’ learning, in the moment, during the lesson, which subsequently impacts teaching decisions.

Skip to 0 minutes and 41 seconds CHRIS: We’ve designed the course to be flexible and included a range of activities demonstrated in a number of real classrooms to exemplify how you can plan to be more responsive and adapt teaching during, and in between lessons. We’d also encourage you to try out some of the ideas in your classroom and then take the opportunity to engage in online discussions with other learners.

Skip to 1 minute and 4 seconds DYLAN: Before the course gets properly underway, we’d like you to introduce yourself and to describe the kind of educational establishment you teach in, the main subject and the age range that you teach, your previous experience of planning for learning, and what you hope to get out of the course.

Skip to 1 minute and 21 seconds CHRIS: Dylan and I very much hope that this course proves to be useful and enjoyable and that overall it helps you get to grips with the principles and practical approaches of how we can implement planning for learning.

How do you plan for learning?

How do you know where to start your lessons? What would happen if your class can’t progress? How do you plan for learning?

Welcome to Planning for Learning, from the National STEM Learning Centre.

As a teacher who wants to promote the learning of your students, you’ll want to make evidence-informed judgements and apply a range of approaches to respond and adapt teaching during and in between lessons. Experts in assessment for learning, Emeritus Professor Dylan Wiliam, Dr Chris Harrison and Andrea Mapplebeck, will guide you through how to plan for learning.

You’ll have access to high-quality content, including videos of teaching in real classrooms, discussions to learn with teachers from both your region and across the world, activities for you to plan for learning in your classroom and a supported professional development experience to help you make a positive impact on student learning.

Professional development for teachers

This course is designed as professional development for teachers and others supporting the education of young people aged 5-19 years old. It is one of three courses that draw upon assessment for learning principles to transform your teaching and your students’ learning:

We encourage you to work with others in your school or college if possible, to support each others’ understanding and consider how to improve your students’ learning together.

We have used examples from science and mathematics in this course to illustrate teaching approaches. If you are not a teacher of a STEM (science, technology, engineering or mathematics) subject, then this course will still provide you with the principles of planning for learning. We welcome your ideas in the course discussions throughout.

Course support

Your experienced course mentors, Jane and Mark, will be supporting you between 5 October - 22 November 2020 in the discussions. Jane and Mark will be recording a video diary to highlight some of the main discussion points at the end of Week 5. Keep an eye out for their requests to quote your comments.

Shortly after 16 November 2020 we’ll be recording a Question and Answer (Q&A) session with the course educators. All the online courses for teachers from the National STEM Learning Centre include Q&A sessions, allowing you to follow up with any of the ideas raised in the course or to share an issue about your teaching context with our expert educators. Post your questions on step 5.12.


We’d really like to get to know you and encourage you to get to know each other. In the comments below, describe the kind of educational establishment you teach in, the main subject and the age range that you teach.

In all discussions and activities in this course, please do not personally identify your students, colleagues or other individuals in your comments.


You’ve completed the first step

When you complete a step on the course, click Mark as Complete at the bottom right. This helps you keep track of your progress. Mark over 90% of the course steps complete and you’ll be eligible for a Certificate of Achievement when you Upgrade.

Next, Chris explains planning for assessment opportunities to support learning. This ‘assessment for learning’ approach underpins this course and we’ll spend the first part of this week establishing what makes for an effective assessment for learning classroom environment.

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This video is from the free online course:

Planning for Learning: Formative Assessment

National STEM Learning Centre