Backward Design

Hello fellow educators and Bloggers,

I have been looking again at backward design principles as introduced by Wiggins & McTighe (2005).  I have been introduced to this concept before so it is not new to me however it is always interesting to hear different presentations of ideas as they give you different perspectives.  Basically backward design is about starting with what you want your students to achieve and moving backward to forming the learning experiences.  It seems quite basic really – know what you want your students to know then design a lesson/unit that teaches it!  Below is a video form Grant Wiggins, one of the authors and creators of Design for Learning (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005), and in he explains the concept.  It is always great to hear an explanation straight from the creator.  (For some reason the video does not appear on the page when I look at it.  I hope it does for you but just in case here is a link).

Many of my fellow pre-service educators, such as Vicky Heng, Jia Lerk Koh and Ms Stokes, have also been contemplating backward design and most highlight the three main characteristics of:

  • Identify the desired results – usually from curriculum documents,
  • Collect evidence – what evidence will you require students to provide of their learning, &
  • Learning experiences – what learning experiences/lessons will we provide to enable students to achieve the desired learning outcomes?

There are more areas to consider within backward design so this is not a comprehensive look into it, rather I hope that I have encouraged you to consider how backward design can be effectively used in your classrooms.



Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J.  (2005).  Understanding by design (2nd ed.).  Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

2 thoughts on “Backward Design

  1. Pingback: Backwards Design | brookesbrilliantblog

    • Hi Brooke.
      Just wondering if the video was embeded when you looked at my post. My view just shows the link but I have been having some issues with the Blog as I see. Would really appreciate your feedback. Thanks.

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