Understanding by Design
Defined Learning’s projects are built utilizing the Understanding by Design Framework® (UbD). UbD is a revolutionary educational concept providing students opportunities to apply their knowledge using project based learning. As a result, students improve understanding and achievement.
What is Understanding by Design?
The Understanding by Design Framework, created by nationally recognized educators Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins, is a structure supporting teachers in implementing relevant project based learning tasks.
UbD seeks to reimagine education for stronger student engagement through two key ideas:
- Focus on understanding and retaining knowledge rather than memorization.
- Designing curriculum “backward” from the idea of understanding to then developing a teaching format.
These key ideas inform the seven tenets of UbD and how it can be used to enhance knowledge transfer, college and career readiness, and educational assessments.
Jay McTighe, co-author of Understanding by Design, discusses Knowledge Transfer, College & Career Readiness, and Assessment.
Why use the Understanding by Design Framework?
The UbD framework allows teachers and districts to maintain existing curriculum by simply refocusing it from itemized learning to full understanding. By embracing this ‘backwards’ design, teachers are able to create courses and units focused on the goal of learning rather than the process of teaching. By reframing the direction of educational design, they create more space for individualized learning.
In an increasingly interconnected world, students benefit from the opportunity to look at problem-solving in a global context. Defined Learning performance tasks ask students to step into a STEM career role and use critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity to design a product and/or solve a problem.
Constructed Response Tasks
According to the most recent nationwide assessment of American high school seniors’ writing skills, only one in four can produce a college-level essay. Defined Learning’s constructed response tasks target reading, writing, and thinking skills in grades K-6 to develop communication competency. These tasks complement student’s current lessons with broad, open-ended questions.
Project-Based Literacy Tasks
Building from the constructed-response tasks, literacy tasks guide students grades 6-12 through real-world situations that require writing informational or persuasive products. Students have access to resources to help them develop critical thinking skills within a writing framework. Critical persuasion writing can be applied to any subject as an effective tool in reinforcing concepts.
Defined Learning provides my teachers with everything they need to implement engaging performance tasks in the classroom. The hands-on projects make careers come alive for students because they can apply their classroom knowledge in a real-world setting- Dr. Genevra Walters, Superintendent of Kankakee School District, IL
I have discovered Defined Learning is a great tool to help me create relevant lessons. The supplementary curriculum provides students with research resources, videos, and project prompts that encourage students to think outside the box and put them in real-world situations.- Anthony Johnson, SW Regional & RSS District Teacher of the Year & TED-Ed Innovative Educator, Salisbury, North Carolina
The collection of performance tasks developed by Defined Learning supports the UbD framework for curriculum, instruction and assessment. Through the utilization of ‘real world’ performance tasks and related resources, teachers engage their students in meaningful learning and authentic assessment – and that is the best preparation for the world outside of school.- Jay McTighe