Proposal Tips

Below are some tips on submitting a successful proposal.  Some of the sections are tips on how to complete/answer certain questions on the proposal form, others are just general tips for a successful proposal.  It is highly recommended that you refer to this page as you complete your proposal.

Needs Identification

Provide a clear explanation of how the need for the course was identified. Also, identify the gap between the existing condition and the desired condition on the lines below. This should identify a problem and solutions to the problem.

Example: Children and youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders are entering recreation and youth development programs in record numbers as parents recognize the potential benefits to having their children participate in natural environments. Many recreation professionals lack the skills and confidence to welcome and support youth with ASD, while also desiring to provide those services. This workshop will provide concrete strategies for adapting the environment while supporting positive behavior and communication, resulting in meaningful participation for all. (Kids Included Together, presented at NIRI, Sept. 2008)

Learning Outcomes

Provide three observable and measurable learning outcomes. Limit to one sentence (20 words or less) per outcome.

A. Learning outcomes are statements that specify what learners will know or be able to do as a result of a learning activity.Outcomes are usually expressed as knowledge, skills, or attitudes.

Learning outcomes should flow from a needs assessment.The needs assessment should determine the gap between an existing condition and a desired condition.Learning outcomes are statements which describe a desired condition – that is, the knowledge, skills, or attitudes needed to fulfill the need. They represent the solution to the identified need or issue. Learning outcomes provide direction in the planning of a learning activity. They help to:

1. Focus on learner's behavior that is to be changed
2. Serve as guidelines for content, instruction, and evaluation
3. Identify specifically what should be learned
4. Convey to learners exactly what is to be accomplished

B. When writing Learning Outcomes, use verbs that are observable and measurable.

Since the learner's performance should be observable and measurable, the verb chosen for each outcome statement should be an action verb which results in overt behavior that can be observed and measured. Sample action verbs are: compile, create, plan, revise, analyze, design, select, utilize, apply, demonstrate, prepare, use, compute, discuss, explain, predict, assess, compare, rate, critique

Certain verbs are unclear and subject to different interpretations in terms of what action they are specifying. Such verbs call for covert behavior which cannot be observed or measured. These types of verbs should be avoided: learn, understand, know, appreciate, become aware of, become familiar with.

Example: Upon completion of the session, the participant will be able to assess limitations and capabilities of various types of surveillance equipment and select appropriate equipment to ensure adequate coverage of a given area. 

Learner Assessment

Provide a clear statement of how the participants will demonstrate their attainment of the learning outcomes/objectives. The session must provide means for the presenter to measure the participant’s achievement of the learning outcomes and to provide feedback to the learners on the achievement of the outcomes. Participants must demonstrate their attainment of the stated learning outcomes during the session. How will you know at the end of the session if the attendees have achieved the stated learning outcomes?

Assessment Method Examples: Questions, oral test, written exercise, demonstration, case study, discussion, oral report, list, recite, solve problem, construct, illustrate or evaluate.

State the method(s) used in the session to assess the participants attainment of the stated learning outcomes. Please do not list the session learning outcomes for the learner assessment, as they are two separate items.

Education Session Outline

Each proposal must submit a session outline.  The outline must show the sequence of instruction and planned instructional strategies. Include times and relate the outline to the Learning Outcomes.  Off-Site Institutes (OSIs) have a slightly different outline due to the nature of the event. (OSI Sample Outline).

Sample Outline

(Session Title)
(Speakers’ name)
(Total length of presentation, in minutes*)

Introduction (length of this portion, in minutes)
* Audience grabber & Introduction of topic
* Objectives for audience

Presentation of your topic (length of this portion, in minutes)
* Needs identification and the importance of your topic
* Suggested solutions/strategies/resources
* Benefits/impact of implementing suggested strategies
* Case studies/examples/audience participation

Conclusion (length of this portion, in minutes)
* Questions and answers
*Assess the audience’s understanding of the objectives

Education Session Length

The total length of a presentation should add up to:

  • 60 minutes for a 1.25 hour session
  • 120 minutes for a 2.25 hour session
  • 180 minutes for a 3.25 hour session

General Proposal Tips

Session proposals that present a complete overview of a topic are the ideal type of proposal. So, keep in mind, complete session proposals compete more successfully.

Sessions should provide a variety of perspectives. Do not propose a session in which three team members from the planning department talk about the same project. Provide comparisons from community to community, from different perspectives within the community, from different parts of the country, or from differing points of view. We're looking for multifaceted discussions.

Understand that all your speakers are giving a live presentation; make certain your speakers are good speakers.

Put effort into the proposal. The more thought you put into the proposal up front, the smoother the process of pulling your session together will be. Be certain to review and edit your proposal. It may be helpful to have someone else look it over to make certain your ideas are expressed clearly.

Consider using elected and appointed officials or colleagues from allied professions, agencies, and departments as speakers.

The maximum number of speakers for sessions are:

  • Two for a 1.25 hour session
  • Four for a 2.25 hour session
  • Six for a 3.25 hour session

If your proposal is selected, we request that you remain as flexible as possible regarding your session’s assigned day and time within the conference schedule.

Try something new! NRPA encourages innovative and well-designed sessions. Please note that due to the large attendance at sessions meeting rooms will be set up to accommodate as many attendees as possible. We will limit attendance in sessions once the meeting rooms are at capacity.

Preparing and Submitting an Education Session Proposal

Fill out the form completely! If you do not provide certain requested information, your proposal will not be processed.

Be sure to provide complete contact information for all speakers. We will use this to contact them as we prepare for the conference. All session correspondence will be sent directly to the lead speaker and all speaker correspondence will be sent to each individual speaker.

Enter all session information as indicated by the required fields. If you leave a required field blank, you will be unable to submit the proposal.