Backwards Planning (design)

Effective elearning evolves from a well thought out series of instructional strategies and visual design. A simple framework for thinking about effective instructional strategies is backwards planning. It is a simple process that is sometimes called backwards design.

The process helps an instructor to place the basic element of a course, the lessons, into the context of the big ideas, the “how am I doing types of assessment“, and the culminating assessment of learning. In other words, before designing any of the  lessons, the instructor gives thought to the type of assessment as learning as well as the culminating assessment of learning.

A thoughtful application of backwards planning or  backwards design can make the content come alive. It involves 3 stages.

  1. Identify the desired results of the course – why is the course being taught? what should the learner remember 3 years from now?
  2. Determine acceptable evidence of learning – how will you assess the learner’s understanding of the big ideas?
  3. Plan the learning activities – now you can start to think about the specific instructional strategies
Backwards design will help you make sure that the big ideas drive and are the focus of each  learning activity and assessment.