Knowledge Area BEPs: Education Planning Principles


Taking an organized and thorough approach to planning your education or outreach initiative has many benefits. It helps ensure that you have thought about what you are trying to do and how you will get there. It also provides an opportunity to look at what resources are already available, what is needed, and what your target audience wants and needs. Finally, the process helps you to find out whether you accomplished your goals. Elements which are addressed as part of planning for a community-based initiative include (Andrews, 1995):

  • Mission of the hosting organization
  • Community needs assessment or situation analysis
  • Networks, partners, and resources
  • Goals and objectives
  • Program design
  • Program delivery
  • Evaluation


  1. Use effective instructors and good instructional design
  2. Provide effective management, including: effective marketing, good facility or location, appropriate scheduling, appropriate pricing, customer support
  3. Follow the principles of program planning established in research literature:
    • Planning should be flexible
    • Programs should be based on client needs
    • The client system and planning context should be thoroughly analyzed
    • Clients should be involved in the decision-making process of program planning
  4. Create and maintain positive relationships and supportive environments
  5. Pay attention to factors which enhance success of the learning environment
    • Practical/real-life focus
    • Monitoring participant reactions and learning
    • Motivated and prepared participants

On this Website, see also

Accomplish What? Decide on a Strategy – For any education or outreach initiative, there are strategies and resources to help you design the most effective initiative. This section helps you explore opportunities and limitations of each of these strategies.

Tips for how to apply planning principles – A step-by-step process for using education planning strategies to assure a successful initiative.

Tools for Teaching – Tips for how to teach, how to facilitate, and models for different types of programs that you might consider.



Andrews, E., E. Farrell, J. Heimlich, R. Ponzio, K. Warren. 1995. Educating Young People About Water. A Guide to Planning and Evaluation. ERIC/CSMEE, The Ohio State University or the University of Wisconsin Environmental Resources Center,

Sork, T. J, editor. 1991. Mistakes Made and Lessons Learned: Overcoming Obstacles to Successful Program Planning . In New Directions For Adult And Continuing Education , No. 49, Spring 1991. R. Brockett and A. Knox, editors. Jossey-Bass Inc.: San Francisco.