Aligned Course Design

With Aligned Course Design "learning [aims] define what we should be teaching, how we should be teaching it, and how we could know how well students have learned it" (Biggs and Tang).

A "backwards design" (Wiggins and McTighe) process includes three components:

  1. Identify desired results (cognitive, affective, kinesthetic learning aims).
  2. Determining appropriate assessments (multiple means for students to demonstrate level of learning).
  3. Planning learning and teaching activities (during class preparation, peer interactions, and class session activities students gain practice and feedback related to aims).
Large triangle made up of 4 smaller triangles. In the middle is Atmosphere with Learning & Learners. Aims is at the top with Learning & Development. On the lower right is Assessment with Feedback, tasks & tests. On the lower left is Activities with Teaching & Learning.

The 4As framework

The 4As framework presents a practical and reflective design process you can rely on when creating new courses or redesigning existing courses.

The four framework elements each making a specific contribution to the design process and include:

  1. Creating an atmosphere that supports learning, so that students become learners.
  2. Writing aims that reflect what we intend as these points of “arrival” for learner.
  3. Selecting teaching and learning activities that align with aims and assessments to engage learners constructing meaning and practicing aims-related skills through relevant learning activities.
  4. Developing multiple assessment opportunities and formats that engage learners in sequentially and/or cumulatively demonstrating their mastery of the intended aims.

Begin exploring the 4As framework