Original Publication
Open Access

Designing a Teaching Session: The Who, Why, What, and How2

Published: November 28, 2011 | 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9035

Included in this publication:

  • Active Verbs.doc
  • Bibliography.doc
  • Evaluation Form.pdf
  • Folder Content - Exercise specific to color of folder.doc
  • Folder Content - Overview of session.doc
  • Instructor's Guide.doc
  • Sample 60-Minute Schedule for a Teaching Session.doc
  • Workshop Announcement.doc
  • Workshop PowerPoint Slides.pdf
  • Workshop Timeline.doc

To view all publication components, extract (i.e., unzip) them from the downloaded .zip file.

Editor's Note: This publication predates our implementation of the Educational Summary Report in 2016 and thus displays a different format than newer publications.


The success of a teaching session is dependent on multiple factors, including adequate instructor preparation, the balance of learners’ needs with educational goals, active participant learning led by a skilled facilitator, and appropriate assessment of the session’s educational outcomes. Medical educators are often asked to put together a session on a topic or to run a workshop on a particular subject, yet they may lack, or need to review, the necessary skills to present an educational, well-structured teaching session. This module presents a complete faculty development workshop with the aim of teaching medical educators how to use a practical instructional design framework to develop, implement, and assess a teaching session. By presenting principles of curriculum development and having the workshop participants practice using the “Who, Why, What, and How2” framework, the module helps medical educators easily determine teaching session content, identify appropriate teaching strategies, and engage their audience in meaningful learning experiences. Of the 30 participants who attended this 90-minute workshop, 73% evaluated the session immediately afterward. On a Likert scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the highest score, attendees indicated that the objectives of the program had been clearly stated, with 91% providing a score of 1. Participants rated the organization of the program as excellent (1 from 91% of responders). Similarly, learners rated the presenters’ abilities as high in knowledge (1 from 95% of responders), communication skills and offering specific skills (each with 1 from 86% of responders), and encouraging participation (1 from 100% of responders). Eighty-six percent of responders provided an overall teaching effectiveness score of 1 (excellent), with 14% providing a score of 2 (very good). Eighty-six percent of responders would highly recommend the program to a colleague. To help determine if our learners understood the session’s objectives, we posed four knowledge questions based on the session content. Ninety-one percent of responders successfully distinguished between a learning objective and a goal, and 95% recognized an attitudinal objective. Most responders (95%) correctly identified the most effective strategy to teach patient communication skills. One month after the workshop, we asked participants to provide an anecdote to assess if they had the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills they had learned from the session. One attendee shared that he had used the session’s format to conceptualize a provider-director educational intervention and created educational objectives for an abstract submission based on session content. Given that opportunities to use materials within 30 days are limited, we plan to poll participants 6 months after the workshop to assess long-term impact.

Educational Objectives

By the end of this workshop, learners will be able to:

  1. Understand the five components of instructional design.
  2. Describe various techniques to assess their audience’s needs.
  3. Differentiate between a goal and an objective.
  4. Use a common case scenario to determine session content, write learning objectives, and match educational strategies to objectives.

Author Information

  • Dara Brodsky, MD: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
  • Lori Newman, MEd: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
  • Anjala Tess, MD: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

None to report.

None to report.


Brodsky D, Newman L, Tess A. Designing a teaching session: the who, why, what, and how2. MedEdPORTAL. 2011;7:9035. https://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9035