The most effective way teach golfers how to play golf is to go on the golf course. Let’s say that is not possible and you only have the practice areas. If that is the case you need to create holes on the range either from a course you play or in your mind. When you pick the hole define where the fairway is, hazards, etc. This will create pressure to execute what you are trying to do. You should be constantly changing your targets, distances, and angles of the shots. This will give you the feel of playing on the course.
As you become a better player, you can keep doing this and incorporate the shape and trajectory of your shots. When you get to the short game you can keep doing this on the range with different distances, heights, and lies if possible. On every shot, you need to go through your whole routine just like you are playing. If you want to make it more challenging, you can make your targets smaller. I would highly suggest keeping score and recording it so you can come back and see if you improve.
Also, a great way to learn how to play and come up with a game plan without stepping on the course is using a course management system like DECADE. DECADE is a great way to learn how to aim and prepare to play a course.
By doing all of these things you are creating focused practice with results and consequences attached just like the golf course. If you can’t get to the course then this is the best way to learn how to play.