Backward Design reverses the conventional process of starting with what to teach and how to teach it, and instead begins with the end in mind, to first define the student learning goals and outcomes, then identify assessments that evaluate those outcomes, and finally develop activities and instructional materials to scaffold student learning to reach those outcomes.
Stages of Backward Design
Identify desired results
What should students know, understand, and do? What is most important?
Determine acceptable evidence
How will students demonstrate that they have achieved the desired results?
Plan learning experiences and instruction
What activities, materials, teaching methods, and tools will provide students with the necessary knowledge and skills to reach their goals?
Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005) Understanding by design (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
Backward Design is beneficial because it provides:
Clear, transparent vision and structure for the course
Intentionality of content; everything has a purpose
Alignment of learning goals, assessments, and instruction
When we design a course, we can use a Course Design Map, a template that integrates the Backward Design framework into the course design process. Learn more about the InterPro Course Design Map at InterPro – Build a course design mapIn the following video: “Educational Innovation at UW-Madison: The Backward Design Framework”, Professor Erica Halverson explains Backward Design.