5313- Understanding by Design (UbD)

Unit Design for the implementation of ePortfolios beginning with the introduction of the concept to teachers. I created this UbD plan following the three stages of learning, Desired Results, Assessment Evidence, and Learning Plan (Wiggins and McTighe, 2005).


As I continue to learn how to create significant learning environments, and ways to successfully implement my Innovation Plan, I was introduced to two forms of designing, Fink’s 3 Column table and the UbD template by McTighe & Wiggins.

Fink’s 3 Column table is based on the Taxonomy of Significant Learning, including, Foundational Knowledge, Application, Integration, Human Dimension, Caring, and Learning How To Learn. It asks the creator to begin with an overarching course goal, or BHAG: Big Hairy Audacious Goal (Fink, 2003). Beginning with a BHAG and working backward, the creator of the course is able to develop a significant learning environment where the learners are active participants in their learning and the focus is the outcome. Using the 3 Column table design process allows me to ensure that all components work cohesively and develop a more expansive view of the overall course.
(3 Column Table- C. Dickerson)

In Understanding by Design by McTighe & Wiggins, the course designer also begins with the end in mind by following the 3 stages of learning. By setting the “Desired Results” in the first stage, the creator is able to easily develop the course which aligns with the expected outcome. In stages 2 and 3, the designer creates performance tasks, assessment evidence and a plan for learning. Using the UbD design process allows me to center on what I want my learners to experience and know. It provides a way for me to set the goals, then easily plug in the information needed for successful understanding, questions we need to answer and a plan for learning activities and assessment.
(UbD- C. Dickerson)

Reviewing these design processes, I see where both would prove very beneficial in the creation of courses related to my innovation plan. The 3 Column table and UbD template both require the designer to really focus on what the end goal is for the course. I would use the 3 Column table to develop my entire innovation plan as a whole because it can be designed by focusing on the overreaching goal of the entire plan where as the UbD would helpful for me to create individual, smaller goals that support the larger. I might find creating some kind of hybrid of the two to be something that I would be most successful for me. Either way, both will help me in creating some significant learning environments for the teachers in my plan, and hopefully it will be prove to be much more engaging than the old, sit and get professional development that teachers have grown to abhor.


Fink, L. D. (2003). Self-directed guide to designing courses for significant learning. Jossey-Bass

Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design. Google Books. Retrieved February 14, 2023, from https://www.google.com/books/edition/_/N2EfKlyUN4QC?hl=en&gbpv=1&pg=PP1

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