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Personalized instruction and the elements of UbD

Personalized instruction and the elements of UbD

Author: Ashley Sweatt

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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Personalized Instruction and the Elements of UbD

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Hi, my name is Ashley. And today's lesson is titled personalized instruction and the elements of UbD.

In today's lesson, we will review personalized instruction. We'll take a look at, what is UbD? And then we'll look at the six components of UbD. And understand how personalized learning is related to UbD and where W.H.E.R.E.T.O.

What are the five essential elements of personalized learning? Personalized learning offers flexible learning, where learning can happen anytime and anywhere. It redefines and expands the role of the teacher. So the teacher that we traditionally know has a much different role. The teacher acts more like a guide and a coach.

Personalized learning offers project-based authentic learning, allowing students to problem solve and create the end product using real world objectives. Students also are able to drive the learning path in that they have more choices and options.

Lastly, personalized learning is competency-based. Students are able to progress based on mastering competencies, and move at their own pace.

Understanding by Design, or UbD, is a tool for lesson designing created by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe. It's a process for designing lessons with the end in mind. For example, you would plan the assessments before planning the lesson activities. This design method can be applied to any learning process such as competency-based education or project-based learning. Massachusetts continues to have high-performing students, and they also implement Understanding by Design in their curriculum.

Let's briefly summarize the UbD stages, and how to apply it to a lesson. Stage one, identify desired results. In this stage, the teacher will determine what the student is supposed to learn with the development of the essential questions, which are the open-ended questions that promote inquiry and investigation. This stage will identify the knowledge and skills students should have and understanding of at the close of the lesson.

Stage two, determine acceptable evidence. In this stage, the teacher will decide on assessments that will be used throughout the unit. There will be one main performance assessment and then other evidence to assess student achievement as it relates to the desired results. Most often, formative assessments will be used. Such as worksheets, observations, homework, and discussions will be able to demonstrate student knowledge.

Stage three is development of the learning plan. This is where learning activities are planned in order to meet the goals of the unit.

There are six features of the Understanding by Design instructional tool. First is explain. Students should be able to give detailed review of facts discussed.

Next is interpret. Students should be able to make topics personally relevant to themselves, and share ideas and events that coincide with the topics being discussed.

Next is apply. Students should be able to use what they have learned and apply it to new situations.

Another feature of the Understanding by Design is having perspective. Students should be able to see the point of view of other students and their peers, and how it relates to the big picture.

Next is empathize. Students should value and be respectful of other point of views. As teachers, we know students will encounter other students who have different views of their own. It's all about being cooperative and understanding.

Lastly, students should have self-knowledge. Students should be able to perceive the habits of mind and influence our own understanding. They know what they do not know.

What is W.H.E.R.E.T.O? This tool was also created by Wiggins and McTighe. Let's take a look at what this acronym stands for.

Ensure that students understand where the unit is headed and why. This is very important that students know why they're learning and in what direction they're going to be going.

Hook students in the beginning, and hold their attention throughout. Engage your students, and keep their attention. The goal is to have students learning competencies and being able to master objectives. And in order to do this, students must be hooked on the learning activities and stay engaged throughout the whole entire process.

Equip students with necessary experiences, tools, knowledge, and know-how to meet performance goals. This one actually just speaks for itself. We need to be able to give students the information and the tools in order to be able to understand the objectives and make progress.

Provide students with numerous opportunities to rethink big ideas, reflect on progress, and revise their work. This also tells us that we need to give students' actual time. We can't just teach something and move on. We have to give students the opportunity to rethink ideas and to reflect on their own performance. And to be able to go back and make changes.

Building opportunities for students to evaluate progress and self-assess. This one's kind of similar to the one before, where we have to give students the time to be able to evaluate their work and be able to understand what else they need to do in order to make their goals. And they need to be able to assess themselves.

Be tailored to reflect individual talents, interests, styles, and needs. The activities should be tailored or individualized to students' interests and their capabilities.

Lastly, be organized to optimize deep understanding, as opposed to superficial coverage. Organization is key. In order for concepts to be taught successfully, they have to be organized in a way that's easily understood by students.

So now let's take a look at how personalized learning is related to the stages of UbD and the six features, as well as W.H.E.R.E.T.O.

Personalized learning offers flexible anytime everywhere learning. Stage three of UbD involves developing the learning plan, which will involve flexible anytime learning. And the learning plan will equip students with knowledge, tools, and experiences to meet the objectives.

Personalized learning also extends the role of the teacher. This involves stage two of UbD, where the teacher plans evidence for students to show their learning, giving the responsibility to the students. This is connected to W.H.E.R.E. because through the determined evidence, students will know where they are headed. And the teacher will hook students with an intriguing question or problem, which is most likely part of the assessment-- for example, project-based or problem-based learning.

Speaking of which, project-based learning is another feature of personalized learning. And it also involves stage two because project-based learning is an assessment tool. Through project-based learning, students are equipped with information and experiences to meet their goals. In project-based learning activities students have the opportunity to interpret what they know, apply it to other situations, and hear perspectives of other students, while empathizing what they say, whether they agree or disagree.

Being student-driven also involves the learning plan. It is in the learning plan where opportunities are created to allow students to create their own path. Therefore, learning is tailored to their needs and interests. And they are also given opportunities to rethink, reflect, and revise on the learning experiences. This helps students to develop self-knowledge.

Lastly, personalized learning also offers competency-based instruction. This involves all stages of UbD because it, too, focuses on competency-based instruction. Students have the opportunity to evaluate their experiences. and this process moves smoothly when teachers are organized to optimize understanding. This also helps develop self-knowledge. So you can see how all these ideas are intertwined, and they work with each other to create personalized instruction for students.

In today's lesson, we reviewed personalized instruction. We defined UbD. It is a lesson design tool with the end in mind, allowing teachers to identify results before planning the actual lessons.

We looked at the six components of UbD, one of which is explain. We reviewed W.H.E.R.E.T.O. created by Wiggins and McTighe. This gives us a list of things that teachers and students should be doing through the personalized instruction. Lastly, we connected personalized learning to the stages of UbD and the six components, as well as W.H.E.R.E.T.O. They all work together in promoting personalized learning.

Consider how these approaches will benefit your students. For more information on how to apply what you've learned in this video, please view the Additional Resources section that accompanies this video presentation. The Additional Resources section includes hyperlinks useful for applications of the course material, including a brief description of each resource.

Notes on "Personalized Instruction and the Elements of UbD"


(00:00 - 00:15) Introduction

(00:16 - 00:34) What Will You Learn Today?

(00:35 - 01:26) Personalized Instruction Review

(01:27 - 03:06) What is UbD?

(03:07 - 04:18) What are the Six Features of UbD?

(04:19 - 06:42) What is W.H.E.R.E.T.O.?

(06:43 - 9:03) How is Personalized Learning Related to UbD and W.H.E.R.E.T.O.?

(9:04 - 9:43) What Did You Learn Today?

(9:44 - 10:01) Reflection


Additional Resources

Differentiated Instruction & Understanding by Design

This wiki 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.,_Understanding_by_Design_and_Universal_Design_for_Learning:_A_stable_planning_approach

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.