Introduction to Lesson Plan: Entry Requirement
Perhaps one of the most frequently asked questions during our Instructional Design training is the difference between previous knowledge and entry requirement. To some – especially new teachers, both are the same but simply a matter of choice of terminologies.
Nonetheless, this is not so. Known instructional design models place previous knowledge and entry requirement under different stages of the instructional design process. This fact is known to every experienced instructional designer.
In this post, I will trace the reason why some people confuse one for the other. More so, this post differentiates between entry requirement and previous knowledge in the simplest and easiest to understand terms. Finally, this lesson plan guide: entry requirement explains how to correctly and easily write entry requirement in your lesson plan/note.
That some teachers think it really doesn’t matter whether or not one correctly writes entry requirement in their lesson plan; is the reason school administrators and supervisors must ensure that teachers do. Did you ever wonder why some students do not understand some lesson even though 99% of the rest of class understand it? Well, this is one – such student may not have attained the entry requirement for that lesson.
But how do you know whether a student possesses the entry requirement or not if you did not even give it a good thought? You won’t even be able to effectively and efficiently help such student catch on!
Meaning of Entry Requirement
Entry behaviour or entry requirement is the prerequisite knowledge, skill and attitude expected of a learner to possess before he or she can understand a new lesson.
Compare this definition of entry requirement with that of previous knowledge. And it may be obvious to you why some people confuse one for the other.
The distinguishing word in the definition of entry requirement is prerequisite. While Entry Requirement as well as Previous Knowledge are experiences in relation to the current topic; entry requirement is the experience that the student MUST possess before he or she can understand a new lesson. Whereas, previous knowledge is just any experience at all that relates to the topic.
In other words, we can say that all entry requirement is previous knowledge; but not all previous knowledge is entry requirement.
An example to illustrate meaning of Entry Requirement
Take JSS 2 topic in Computer Studies: Practical Graphic Design for example. Any experience that the students may possess that relates to Graphic design may aid their understanding – i.e. getting the most – of the topic. Such include:
- Meaning of graphic design
- Examples of graphic design packages
- Knowledge of graphic products like ID Card, Business card, posters, cover art, etc.
Now, although all the points I have mentioned above are previous knowledge for our topic: Practical Graphic Design. However, we may not regard any as entry requirement. This is because not possessing of the above does not stop the student from acquiring the practical graphic design skill.
Instead, a point we may consider as entry requirement for the topic is the ability to manoeuvre pointing devices like mouse and others. This is because, under normal circumstances, if a student cannot control pointing devices; then it will not be possible for such to acquire practical graphic design skills. To make the student acquire the skill, the teacher must first of all teach the student how to control pointing devices.
Does the explanation above clarify the meaning of entry requirement for you? I hope it does. Let us now see why people confuse entry requirement for previous knowledge
Why do some people confuse Entry Requirement for Previous Knowledge and Vice Versa?
Well, the answer is simple: both entry requirement and previous knowledge describe the knowledge, skill and attitude that a student possess in relation to the current topic.
Is Entry Requirement or Entry Behaviour the same as Previous Knowledge?
No, entry requirement or entry behaviour is not the same as previous knowledge. I have explained this earlier.
What then are the differences between Entry Requirement and Previous Knowledge?
Well, from my earlier explanation the differences should be clear to you now. But for further clarity, let me categorically state it again.
The differences between entry requirement and previous knowledge include:
- Previous Knowledge is the experience – knowledge, skill and attitude – that a student possesses which relate and can aid or hinder the understanding of the current topic; while entry requirement is the experience – knowledge, skill, and attitude – that a student is expected to possess before he or she can understand the current topic.
- Previous Knowledge may be formal or informal experience – experiences they acquire from the school or outside environment like home; but entry requirement is mostly formal – experiences that the student acquire from school.
- According to instructional design models; previous knowledge is under analysis of learners under general characteristics; while entry requirement is analysis of learners/content under specific competencies or entry behaviour. Simply put; we may place Previous Knowledge under Analysis phase of the ADDIE while we may place entry requirement under Design.
How to Easily Write Entry Requirement in Your Lesson Plan
The final spot in the Lesson Plan Guide: Entry Requirement is how to easily write entry requirement in our lesson plan.
After deciding the learning goals and using measurable verbs to state acceptable evidence of attainment (according to UbD Model), or specifying content and objectives (according to Gerlach and Ely model); Gerlach and Ely model provides that the next phase of the design step is Assessment of Entry Behaviour. Similarly, the ASSURE model mention analysis of specific learners’ competencies as part and parcel of learner analysis.
It is quite easy to set entry requirement. You can determine the entry requirement for your lesson plan by asking yourself questions on each of the lesson objectives and answering the questions accordingly.
Here is the two-step approach:
- Pick each of the lesson objectives and ask yourself: “what does the student need to already know, what attitude does he/her need to already possess; and what skill does s/he need to already have acquired before s/he can attain this goal?”
- Write your answer to question 1 above; and that becomes your first entry requirement!
Note however, that general competencies that learners in a particular level will normally possess may not be written as entry requirements. Instead, you should write only specific competencies. Let me further illustrate as well as conclude with the following example of entry requirement.