by MU Instructional Designers
January 26, 2023
15-17 min read
What is Backward Design?
Backward design involves beginning the process with the end in mind. This is often how to begin when writing objectives. What do you want students to know by the end of the lesson? Once you’ve established that, you can move to making decisions about how you will support their learning. In the video below, “Napoleon Schmoleon – What is the GOAL!?” from the YouTube series, Five Moore Minutes, Shelley Moore walks us through an example of how to use backward design when planning instruction. Her environment is K12, but the principle applies to all levels of education.
These are the three core steps to any instructional design:
- Start with your learning objectives, potentially breaking them down into stepping stone learning goals (scaffolding).
- Design varied and authentic formative and summative assessments to measure mastery of those learning goals/objectives.
- Create and curate the instructional content that students need in order to complete those assessments.
For a much more detailed look at the instructional design process, check out Instructional Design Frameworks.
Let’s look at those in more detail . . .
- “Learning Goals,” UDL on Campus, CAST, http://udloncampus.cast.org/page/planning_goal, accessed November 10, 2023.