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Development Guidance

This document provides “guidance” to LSN Guides and Authors as we pursue development of an open-source life skills “wiki”.  Our objective is to encourage life skill building for ourselves, with families, with clients (e.g. mentees) and with agencies/churches.

General Guidance:

  • Customer:  Our general customer is a person “in need, stressed, struggling with life“.  People might include the recently unemployed, the homeless or teens from troubled families.  This should cause us to write simply (6th grade language) and short (2-page lessons or one point lessons).  We are not writing a technical encyclopedia but an “easy-to-read and use” short document.
  • Page Writing:
    • Encourage as much personal authorship as possible.  Everyone has a “favorite” topic.
    • Sources from books or web sites are OK but require citations to avoid plagiarism.  We need to identify the “benchmark” authors.
    • Initial writing by a single author is only a starting point.  Over time, other members who have interest or use a topic will hopefully provide further content.
  • Page Format:  We want all pages to have an exact format as part of the LSN “brand”.  Some aspects such as skill description, learning map or one-page lessons are part of our uniqueness.
  • Page Approval:
    • Minimum:  Guide actively critiques and edits a page.  The Guide moves a document from Draft to Published status.
    • Desired:  A small group (peer review) discusses and provides input and constructive criticism.

Using the Wiki:

These skill summaries are not in themselves the lesson plan.  They are the “modules” from which lesson plans can be prepared for any situation.  Examples include:

  • You only have 5 minutes:  use the One-Point Lesson only.
  • You have 30 minutes at a church:  use the Skill Description + Faith Worldview + Key Learning Points + Exercises + Questions.

The possibilities are endless with the intent being that a custom-tailored lesson plan can be developed easily from the various modules.   In addition, previously prepared plans will be linked and can be reused (in last section).

Lesson Plan Preparation:

  • Know your audience (e.g. teens, adults, seniors).
  • Determine how much time you have (e.g. 10  min, 30 min, 60 minutes).
  • Assess your goals (e.g. simple overview, skill level 1 = know the concepts, skill level 4 = proficient).
  • Determine if previously prepared lessons will meet your need or develop custom lessons.

If in-depth skill development is needed we may refer people to partner agencies or programs.

Each of the wiki sections are described below…


  • Add a paragraph or two that provides an overview of the skill.  It needs to entice the reader to want to explore the skill, e.g. why it is important in their life.

Skill Description:

  • This includes a small number (typically 1-3) of bullet points focused on activities that can be demonstrated.  It moves beyond “I know the concepts” to “I can do it well“.

Key Learning Points:

  • A short list of points that summarize the skill topic.  In effect, this is the very short “lesson” on the skill topic.

Faith Worldview:

  • A discussion of what Jesus might say on a skill topic.  We need to engage the broadest faith-based audience and avoid being religion-specific.

Learning Path:

  • This is an expert’s perspective on how best to learn a skill topic step-by-step.

Deeper Topics:

  • This section includes a more in-depth look at the skill concepts.

Exercises (by age group):

  • Example short activities that can be done 1:1 in a mentoring relationship or in small groups with a life skills coach.  This can be sub-divided into age groups.

Discussion Questions to Encourage Critical Thinking:

  • Questions to provoke introspection and critical thinking.  These questions could be asked in a 1:1 or group setting or could simply be “homework”.

Tools and Templates:

  • Forms that provide structure and can be completed individually or in small groups.

Word Definition:

  • A dictionary-like summary using Bing/Google and Wikipedia.

Short Stories/Books/Web Articles/Videos:

  • Vetted and recommended-by-member resources with links (to Amazon for books).  These should be in their own section.  Amazon is just a place to see a book description and review.  People can buy the book or see if a copy exists at their local library.


  • Bible references and inspirational quotes from “famous” people.

One Point Lessons:

  • One-point lessons are: 1) short visual presentations on a single point, 2) detailed on one or two pages, 3) supported by diagrams, photographs, or drawings, 4) generated and used at the point of need.  Source:  Reducing Training Costs With One-Point Lessons by Brice Alvord.  It may cover just a sub-topic of the skill.

Related Skills:

  • A list of related skills with links, e.g. Goal Setting is related to Life Purpose or Vision.

Summary 2-page Lesson Examples:

Ready-to-use or easy-to-adapt lessons.  Note that most of the 1st generation lessons were developed for use by the teens at Mentoring Plus in Newport, KY.