Digital Leading and Learning · Education · EPortfolios · Technology in Education

UbD Significant Learning Environment

Fink’s Three Column Table and utilizing the backwards design models have been extremely helpful while planning our significant learning environment. While similar in nature (having goals in mind before designing the learning activities) there are some differences as well. Fink’s design asks more questions about the physical learning environment in which the students will be accomplishing their goals. It asks about the characteristics of the teachers and learners before starting the design of the environment. Both models are designed so that the teacher must look at the expected goals and outcomes of the environment before designing the rest of the course, but Fink’s model seems to go into more detail to help you come up with those goals. For that reason, we found that using Fink’s Three Column Table was useful but somewhat tedious and repetitive. Because, as good teachers, we automatically ask ourselves many of those pre-planning questions innately, completing them before completing the design template seemed a bit overdone. We are also more familiar with backward design, so that came more naturally to us. We are designing an entire course, and it seems as  though the UbD model works more for planning a course, and that perhaps the Three Column Table could be more useful for planning a unit in which the teacher or facilitator wanted to integrate differentiated instruction do to the questions prior to creating the goals. Both models are effective and would be useful to anyone not familiar with goals-based planning. 







Created with Ryan King and Kelly Trupe

Adapted from: Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe, (2005) Understanding by Design 2nd

Edition. Virginia: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development


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