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What Makes a Good Outline?


An outline is the skeleton that illustrates the progression of the lesson at a high level. Curriculum Developers review the lesson strategy and scope of subject matter the course will cover. A good outline will eliminate surprises or misconceived expectations during content creation.

In the process of writing a lesson, an outline should be completed before work begins on the narratives and checkpoints.

Place in Content

Outlines are a precursor to content. They're a tool which guides development of the course, but not an actual content item. Curriculum Developers and reviewers can refer to the outline to ensure the lesson is fulfilling the claims made in the outline.

Quality Standards


  • All learning standards and objectives are listed at the top.
  • Each exercise / project step is listed in order. Contains:
    • Brief description of narrative content
    • Checkpoints / instructions
    • Workspace Theme (for example, if the learner is building a website about cacti, mention that)
    • Specific learning standard and objective covered
    • Required assets (if any). Any expected major ART requirements, such as GIFs, diagrams, or interactives, should be flagged.
    • Components necessary (I.E. text editor and output terminal)



  • Highlight new pieces of information as introduced and give context (why are you teaching it in this order?)
  • Content and explanation for pedagogical strategies used in the lesson (why are you teaching it this way?)
    • Reviewer should understand why you are approaching the exercise in this way.
  • Be explicit about any metaphors or analogies used to convey material.


While not required, it can be helpful to use the Template Outline.

Do you have feedback on these standards? Please let us know and fill out the Feedback Form. Thank you!