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Personalized Instruction and the Elements of UbD

Personalized Instruction and the Elements of UbD

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Author: Jody Waltman
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In this lesson you will apply the 3 stages of UbD, the UbD 6 facets of understanding, and the UbD concept of Whereto to Personalized instruction

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In this tutorial, we'll connect personalized instruction to the elements of Understanding by Design. First, we'll review the concept of personalized instruction, and then we'll look at an overview of Understanding by Design, including its six facets of understanding and the WHERETO acronym. Finally, we'll bring all of this information together to see how personalized instruction and Understanding by Design connect to one another. Let's get started.

To review, personalized instruction is flexible learning that is not limited to the walls of the classroom or the class period as it appears in the daily schedule of the school. Rather, personalized learning can happen anytime and anywhere.

The teacher's role in personalized learning is redefined. No longer is the teacher the only one in the classroom making decisions about what students will learn, how they will learn it, and how they will demonstrate their learning.

The learning in a personalized classroom is authentic and ideally project-based. Personalized instruction features student-driven learning paths. Student interests are a primary factor in making decisions about what tasks will be assigned.

And finally, personalized instruction uses competency-based or mastery-based progression and pacing along students' unique learning paths.

Now let's take a look at Understanding by Design. The Understanding by Design concept was developed by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe. It's an instructional design process that begins by identifying the desired end result.

First, you set your goals. Then you determine the outcomes that you'd like to see. And finally, you design the learning activities that will get you there.

So the Understanding by Design unit and lesson design process has three distinct stages. Stage one is identify desired results. Here you identify the goal that you would like students to meet, the understandings or big ideas that will be developed, the essential questions that will be used, and the key knowledge and skills that you would like students to obtain.

Stage two is determine acceptable evidence. In this stage, you select or design the summative assessment that will be used at the end of the lesson or unit, along with any formative assessment that will be used along the way. This is also when you will design rubrics or other criteria that will be used to evaluate student performance on these assessments.

Finally, stage three is develop a learning plan. This is where you plan the specific learning activities that will take place throughout the lesson or unit.

In addition to the three stages of instructional design in Understanding by Design, there are six facets of understanding that are identified.

Facet number one is Explain. Students should be able to recall facts and data.

Facet number two, Interpret. Students should find relevance in topics and concepts and should be able to expand upon ideas.

Facet three, Apply. Students should be able to apply new knowledge in other contexts.

Facet four, Have Perspective. Students should be able to see how individual concepts and ideas fit into the big picture.

Facet five, Empathize. Students should find meaning and value in other perspectives and be sensitive to the situations of those around them.

Finally, facet number six, Have Self-knowledge. Students should reflect upon their own thinking and understanding. They need to know what they don't know.

Finally, let's recap the acronym, WHERETO, as it applies in Understanding by Design. W stands for Where. Where is the content in the unit heading? And why?

H stands for Hook and Hold. We should aim to hook students into our lessons early on and hold their attention throughout, by making learning meaningful and relevant.

The first letter E stands for Equip. We should equip students with the tools that are necessary to meet their goals.

R stands for Rethink, Reflect, and Revise. We should encourage students to engage in these behaviors throughout the lesson or unit.

The second letter E stands for Evaluate. Students should be participating in self-evaluation. They should be thinking about and reflecting on their progress.

T stands for Tailored, reminding us that our instruction should be tailored to the unique needs of our individual students.

And finally, O stands for Organized. Our instruction needs to be logically organized, in order to help students attain deep levels of understanding through a logical progression of ideas.

We've reviewed what we know about personalized learning, the three stages of instructional design in Understanding by Design, the six facets of understanding in Understanding by Design, and the WHERETO acronyms. So how do all of these pieces fit together?

Here we have the five elements of personalized learning. The first element, anytime, anywhere, flexible learning is aligned with Understanding By Design stage three and the letter E for Equip. As we design our learning plans, we need to equip students with the tools necessary to extend their learning beyond the classroom walls.

Next, the teacher's role in personalized learning is redefined and expanded. As we think about Understanding by Design stage two, where we are determining acceptable evidence, we need to recall that in personalized learning, students may be involved in this decision making process. In the WHERETO acronym, W, for Where, and H, for Hook, are particularly relevant. Students need to understand where they are heading in their individualized learning plans. And we need to hook their attention early on by incorporating content that is interesting to them.

Planning for authentic and project-based learning definitely relates, again, to Understanding by Design stage two. Furthermore, some of the six facets of understanding come into play here. Facets two, three, four and five, Interpret, Apply, Have Perspective, and Empathize. These are all real world skills that definitely contribute to the nature of authentic learning. And finally, the letter E for Equip, from the WHERETO acronym, is applicable, as well.

The next element of personalized learning reminds us that learning paths need to be student-driven. In Understanding by Design stage three, as we are planning the individual learning activities that will be taking place, we should remember that these learning activities should be aligned with student interests and with the performance goals that are outlined on their unique learning paths. Facet six of Understanding by Design, Have Self-knowledge, definitely can come into play here. Students need to be thinking about how they are progressing on their learning paths and reflecting on their progress. Finally, in the WHERETO acronym, letter T for Tailored and letter R for Rethink, Reflect and Revise are particularly relevant.

Finally, the last element of personalized learning, progression and pacing are competency-based. This idea is incorporated in all three stages of lesson design in Understanding by Design. Facet six, once again. Comes into play. As well as the letters E for Evaluate and O for Organized. The skills on a student's learning path should be organized in a logical fashion, and students should be involved in evaluating their own progress, especially in the formative assessments that take place along their learning plans.

In this tutorial, we took an in-depth look at how personalized instruction and Understanding by Design are closely related. We began with a review of personalized instruction, followed by an overview of Understanding by Design, an outline of its six facets, and a review of the WHERETO acronym. Finally, we looked at how all of the pieces fit together.

Now it's your turn to apply what you've learned in this video. The Additional Resources section will be super helpful. This section is designed to help you discover useful ways to apply what you've learned here. Each link includes a brief description, so you can easily target the resources you want.

Thanks for joining me today. Have a great day.

Notes on "Personalized Instruction and the Elements of UbD"

(00:00 - 00:29) Introduction

(00:30 - 01:25) Personalized Instruction

(01:26 - 02:47) Understanding by Design

(02:48 - 03:51) 6 Facets of Understanding

(03:52 - 05:07) W.H.E.R.E.T.O.

(05:08 - 08:14) Connections

(08:15 - 08:37) Review

(08:38 - 08:59) Stop and Reflect

Additional Resources

Differentiated Instruction & Understanding by Design

This blog makes connections to personalized instruction, Understanding by Design, and differentiation. It also provides tools and resources for teachers, including instructional PowerPoints on how to write differentiated curriculum.
https://daretodifferentiate.wikispaces.com/Differentiated+Instruction+%26+Understanding+by+Design


A Summary of Underlying Theory and Research Base for Understanding by Design

This article provides an overview of the research behind Understanding by Design as well as connects UbD to personalized teaching. This is a useful resource as not only does it supply the research behind UbD, it also explains what each component should look like in practice. Finally, the authors provide examples of schools that exemplify UbD in action.
http://jaymctighe.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/UbD-Research-Base.pdf