Collaborative Lesson Development Training

Collaborative Lesson Development Training

Collaborative Lesson Development Training teaches essential skills and good practices for designing and developing a lesson as an open source project. The training will guide you through the design process and initial development of a new lesson, prepare you to work with the infrastructure we use to build accessible, open source lesson websites, and provide some advice and techniques for effective collaboration on the project.

About the training

Target audience

Collaborative Lesson Development Training is aimed at Carpentries community members who have an idea for a new lesson and want to begin developing it into an open source lesson website, in collaboration with others. The curriculum was developed with a focus on lessons for short-format training (e.g. two-day workshops), but most of the skills and principles taught are applicable to all curriculum design.

What will you learn?

The training teaches fundamental concepts, skills, and good practice in three key areas:

  • Lesson design and development
  • Collaboration
  • Using The Carpentries lesson infrastructure

After attending this training, participants will be able to:

  • collaboratively develop and publish lessons using The Carpentries lesson infrastructure
  • identify and characterise the target audience for a lesson
  • define SMART learning objectives
  • explain the pedagogical value of authentic tasks
  • create exercises for formative assessment
  • explain how considerations of cognitive load should influence the pacing, length, and organisation of a lesson
  • use best practices to configure and maintain accessible and usable lesson repositories that are readily available for collaboration
  • identify and correct accessibility issues in a lesson built on The Carpentries lesson infrastructure
  • use feedback and reflection from teaching to update and improve lesson material
  • review and provide constructive feedback on lessons

Training structure

The training takes place in two parts, separated by an extended break where participants test their new lessons.

The structure of Collaborative Lesson Development Training

In the first part, trainees will learn about backward lesson design, including techniques for the development of effective exercises and accessible lesson content. Trainees will define the target audience and intended learning outcomes of their lesson, produce an outline of the lesson content and narrative, and prepare exercises and examples for a chosen section. They will also be introduced to The Carpentries Workbench, the infrastructure that the community uses to create lessons. Applying these skills as they learn, trainees will begin building their new material into an open source lesson website.

Trainees will trial part of their new lesson with a real audience during the break between this first part and the conclusion of the training, using this opportunity to gather vital feedback on their lesson design.

When they return for the second and final part of the training, trainees will reflect on this experience and discuss how to approach the remaining stages of lesson development. In the concluding stages of the training, trainees will learn principles and practices to ensure they can continue to collaborate effectively on the project.


Income Level Base Fee (2 people, USD)† Additional Person Fee (per person, USD)†
High $5,000 $1,000
Upper middle $3,750 $750
Lower middle $2,500 $500
Low $1,250 $250

†Non-profit fees shown. For-profit organisation fees are 4x listed price.

The base price gives access to the training to two people who will work together as a team on a lesson during the training. Additional team members can be added for an additional 20% of the base price per person.

The fee is dependent on the purchasing organisation’s geographic location, according to the World Bank’s gross national income categorisation (reflected by the “Income Level” column in the table above).


Collaborative Lesson Development Training events are regularly scheduled throughout the year. Send an email to to register your interest in joining Collaborative Lesson Development Training.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who teaches Collaborative Lesson Development Training?

Our Lesson Developer Trainers are experts in curriculum development drawn from The Carpentries community. They have a wealth of experience in design, development, and maintenance of lessons gathered from activities both within and outside The Carpentries. The majority of Trainers are volunteers and all have been certified through a multi-week program of Trainer Training coordinated by the Curriculum Team.

How do Collaborative Lesson Development Training events run?

Collaborative Lesson Development Training is taught virtually, over the Zoom video conferencing platform. Trainers make extensive use of screen sharing and breakout rooms during the training, enhanced by live demonstration and a shared notes document. The training is highly interactive, with participants engaging frequently in discussion and hands-on activities, designing and beginning to create their new lessons as they progress through the training.

Participants join Collaborative Lesson Development Training in teams of two to five people, collaborating together on a single lesson.

Is Instructor Training a prerequisite for Collaborative Lesson Development Training?

At least one person in the lesson team must have attended The Carpentries Instructor Training before the group can participate in Collaborative Lesson Development Training.

How important is it for multiple people to join Collaborative Lesson Development Training as a team?

Efforts have been made to make the Collaborative Lesson Development Training curriculum suitable for individuals who want to develop a lesson alone. However, we believe that the lesson development process is likely to be more successful (and more enjoyable!) when it is a collaborative effort among multiple contributors. We encourage those interested in joining the training to find at least one other person to join the training with them. This is reflected in the pricing of the training.

What options exist for a lesson after the training?

Participants will leave the training with the foundations of a lesson and a plan for how to continue developing it. The Carpentries Incubator provides a platform for collaborative curriculum development supported by the community and the Curriculum Team. Mature lessons from the Incubator can be submitted for open peer review in The Carpentries Lab, with the option of publication in The Journal of Open Source Education upon acceptance. Lessons from the Incubator can also be submitted for adoption into one of The Carpentries existing lesson programs, or, more rarely for consideration as a new lesson program.

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