Backward Design (Wiggins & Mctighe)Backward Design (Wiggins & Mctighe)

Originally published in 1998, Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe introduced the concept of backward design, an approach to lesson planning that starts with an end goal and then works backwards from there. In this short White Paper, they discuss each stage of the backward development in more detail and provide examples. Wiggins & McEnroe (2005, p. 18) Structures backward-facing designs in three successive phases: Identifies the desired result, identifies acceptable evidence, and understands the design framework. [Sources: 0, 8, 9]


Following the Wiggins-McTighe model (Fig. 1), we focus on the information that is relevant to sleep, that we know and understand from our sleep, as guided by the educational standards discussed above. Our approach is to rank the information we have gathered during sleep according to its ability to answer basic questions, and thus determine its relevance to our learning. We use Wiggins and McLaren’s filter model in Fig. 2, and we follow their models in Fig. 1. [Sources: 5]


Shumway and Barrett (2004) used the backward-looking design model to strengthen their understanding of the importance of sleep in education. The faculty worked with a team to redesign a GTC biology course without a major to accommodate students “needs, using a backward-looking design model within the UbD. This experience seems to enable teachers on duty to do exactly what we have done by using the design models of Wiggins and McTighe from back to back (Wiggins et al., 2004). [Sources: 3, 11]


The authors point out that the logic of the backward-looking design requires us to put the proposed learning activities to the test, especially levels 1 and 2. Wiggins and McTighe disapprove of the focus on these activities as being excessively concentrated by the instructors (Wiggins et al., 2004). Teachers will be able to get students through the course with as little effort as possible, no matter how many weeks it takes. As the logic of reverse design reminds us, we are obliged to consider the evaluation factors implied by the results we seek, rather than regarding the evaluations primarily as a means of generating grades. [Sources: 2, 7, 12]


Finally, it is important to be as specific as possible when determining the desired results. Wiggins and McTighe (2005) offer a set of guidelines that can help us narrow things down when we define our big ideas and set our goals. [Sources: 10, 12]


When you watch this video, think about what you want to teach and demonstrate to your students and how you could implement the backward design process. See the Spotlight box below for more information on how backward-facing designs can help determine how – to the instructive design. [Sources: 8, 12]


The first step in the backward design process is to define the desired results of a lesson or program. The backward concepts begin with what is expected of students to learn and be able to do, and then lead to the creation of lessons that achieve these desired goals. This is called “backward design,” because teachers start at the end and move forward to determine desired results, develop evaluations, and then create lesson plans. Reverse design starts with the goal of the lesson, not the result of what students expect to learn or do. [Sources: 1, 12]


Wiggins and McTighe (2005) advise to take into account the results of the first two stages, which will lead to lessons that need to be learned more about learning and less about teaching. By thinking about teaching and teaching, Wiggins and McTigshe [2005] encourage teachers to determine how they rate their students “learning. That means performance – based assessments, assessments of student performance and assessments of teacher performance. [Sources: 7, 9, 12]


Wiggins and McTighe [2005] say that “big ideas” can help set learning priorities that really focus lesson planning (see Figure 2). Viewing these things can help clarify goals and define curriculum content, which ultimately leads to higher student achievement. To guide the assessment in backward-looking design, a variety of evaluations and types of results can be used to emphasize a lasting understanding that verifies whether the execution of a task or project is open, completed, complex, and authentic. [Sources: 5, 12]


Backward design helps teachers create courses and units that focus on the learning goals, not the teaching process. In other words, it helps educators to create a logical course of teaching that leads students to achieve specific and important learning goals. [Sources: 1]


The effective development of curricula reflects a three-step design process known as backward design, which delays planning activities in the classroom until goals are clarified and evaluations are designed. [Sources: 6]


The guiding principle behind this process is called backward design and was popularized by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe in Understanding Design. [Sources: 4]


The concept of backward design is not new, but Wiggins and McTighe (2005) developed a method to use it to design lessons, units and courses. Understanding Design (UbD), which uses this approach to design curricula, allows teachers to focus on the desired learning outcomes and give students a structure to learn. The teaching activities are targeted and help to set clearly defined teaching objectives, which are based on the assessments made in Level 2. Understand the Design offers a practical approach to designing courses in the teaching context and can be applied to the challenges and opportunities of working on the Coursera platform. [Sources: 9, 10, 13]