Understanding By Design

What is Understanding By Design (UBD)?

Seeing UBD in Action

UBD Template

Using my 3 Column Table as a guide, I reviewed the learning outcomes of the 1st Unit of learning of my Innovation Plan to create a template using the Understanding by Design framework, or more accurately, the UbD Template (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005). Completing the UbD Template aligns the outcomes from the 3-Column table by showing how those goals would be achieved through 3 Stages of Desired Results, Assessment Evidence, and the Learning Plan. 


Through backward design, The 3-Column Table and the UbD Template aid in the matching of outcomes, activities, and assessments, as well as the creation of relevant learning environments. The UbD Template focuses on specific learning objectives and goes deeper, whereas both frameworks start with the end in mind and work backwards from there. This reduces the amount of activity- and coverage-based instruction, which encourages learner to memorize a variety facts. The 3-Column Table incorporates background information such as the learning environment, situational conditions, and questions to assist educators in developing meaningful learning objectives, although the UbD Template is more extensive and focuses on students cognitive learning.

The 3-Column Table & The UBD Template

Both frameworks should, in my opinion, function cooperatively. Start with the 3-Column Table to review all elements, create a BHAG, and outline my objectives, evaluations, and actions, but I then utilize the UbD Template to dig deeper into the goals and begin the planning process. The UbD Template looks to be better suited for unit development, which is more common in the lesson planning phase of education. Whilst the three-column table appears to be better suited for overall course development. The frameworks can be combined to create a significant learning environment (CSLE) for learners to better foster their full potential and capabilities.


Fink, L. D. (2003). A Self-Directed Guide to Designing Courses for Significant Learning. Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by Design (expanded second ed.). Alexandria, Virginia: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.