ORG614: Nonprofit Educational Program Design

Course Description

In this course you will develop an educational program plan in a nonprofit organization to help bring transformational life change in clients. This course is focused on adult education in the social service sector, but principles could apply to other types of programs. In this course you will learn the principles of adult education. In the first part of the course, you will focus on analysis including: assessing client educational needs, designing education to support nonprofit outcomes and researching outside resources and program models. In the second part of the course. you will develop educational program learning outcomes, a course syllabus, a lesson plan (which you will teach) and an evaluation and retention plan.

Course Objectives

After completing this course, you will be able to:

  1. Create a philosophy of adult education for your context based on the principles of adult education and the characteristics of adult learners.
  2. Develop a detailed assessment of your client educational needs and a plan to  assess client needs and capabilities in the future. 
  3. Generate a detailed theory of change and logic model for your organization’s holistic program and explain how your educational program components will support the larger program or organizational outcomes.
  4. Research, evaluate and utilize outside learning resources as well as best practices and program elements from organizations to use in your program. 
  5. Design educational program outcomes that follow best practices and support nonprofit program outcomes.
  6. Develop a syllabus for a course following best practices that supports at least one of your educational program outcomes. 
  7. Create and deliver a one hour lesson plan utilizing instructional strategies that fit with your lesson plan outcomes and your audience. 
  8. Develop a retention and evaluation plan to improve your education program.


Course Materials & Tuition

Planning Instruction for Adult Learners, 3rd Edition. ISBN: 978-1895131253 By Patricia Cranton (required textbook to complete assignments)$27.00
Total Cost of Course$827.00

Requirements to Work with an Organization

For this course, you will need to have a nonprofit organization or ministry for which you will develop an educational plan for training ADULTS. You cannot use an organization that has not yet been started. Suggested organizations might include Rescue Missions, residential addiction recovery programs, community colleges, GED/high school equivalency programs for adults. If you are working with a large educational institution such as a community college, then you should pick one program to focus on (i.e. GED program).

If seeking an outside organization, you may use the email template here:

If seeking an outside organization, you can find tips for your search here: and a video suggestions here:

In week 2 of this course, you will need to submit a summary of an interview with the appropriate staff at your organization (and clients if possible). To assist you in scheduling that, we have provided an introduction email template as well as suggested questions in our Nonprofit Educational Program Course Interview Guide.

In your Final Project Part 3 assignment due in week 4, you will need to submit a summary of an interview or email reply from staff in organizations with programs similar to your organization’s program.  To give you some lead time, this week, you should start to follow the instructions in the Email Template to Use to Learn From Organizations with Programs Similar to Your Organization’s Program to start contacting them.

Week 8. 1) Get feedback from organization on your draft Educational Program plan 2) Teach lesson plan in person (if possible) or recorded to a simulated audience if not as described below.

  1. Present in-person to a live audience (preferred if possible) an adult education lesson for 1 hour. If you picked this option, you should schedule your training time before the end of week 8.
  2. You record your training video as if you were delivering to a live audience (if an audience is not available). If you chose this option then upload to YouTube next week.
  3. You record an online lesson for an online course which you will upload to YouTube. If you chose this option then upload to YouTube next week.