Understanding by Design

Backward Design Diagram

Understanding by Design: Backward Design

The Understanding by Design (UbD) framework (most frequently used in K-12 education, but now appearing increasingly in higher education environments) was developed by Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins (2012) and has 2 key ideas:  “1) focus on teaching and assessing for understanding and learning transfer, and 2) design curriculum “backward” from those ends” (McTighe & Wiggins, 2012, p. 1).

This alignment map utilizes a basic Backwards Design focus.  The objectives are first determined, then how they are measured, then teaching and learning activities.  A more modern, androgogical emphasis would be on learning and teaching activities, as opposed to teaching and learning activities.  Check out the linked alignment map and see how it can be used.

Video Icon  Watch this video, which shows Jay McTighe, one of the authors of the Understanding by Design (UbD) Framework, explaining what it is and how to use it.  

The video is seven minutes long.  Be sure to take some notes for yourself along the way.


Play icon indicating proceed to next pageNext, Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction.

Home icon sending the user back to the beginning of the lessonOr, return to your module on “The Basics of Instructional Design” here.