Using Backward Design for More Effective Teaching

Backward design is a concept that is taught in some user education/library instruction classes, but it not a large part of the education of every library worker who teaches or trains. First introduced by Gant Wiggins & Jay Tighe in their book Understanding by Design, its basic steps can be adapted to any teaching context, whether it's training student workers or giving a workshop on computer skills to seniors. This course will cover the basics of backward design, ask participants to practice them in several different contexts, and then apply them to a context in their own work. 

This course will be mostly asynchronous with synchronous sessions at the beginning, so that participants can get to know each other, and at the end, so they can present their final projects.

By the end of the course, the participant will be able to:

  • Explain the purpose of using backward design and connect it to their own teaching and learning experiences
  • Design lesson plans and assessment using the principles of backward design
  • Incorporate learner's motivations, transferability, and assessment of learning into lesson planning
  • Apply backward design to their own teaching context(s)


Elizabeth Galoozis is Head of Information Literacy and Student Engagement at The Claremont Colleges Library, whrere she focuses on integrating information literacy into students' first two years, leading pedagogical development for teaching librarians, and engaging students and faculty with research and the library, 

This course is aimed for anyone who teaches or wants to teach users (other staff), regardless of library type. While it's introductory, all levels of experience are welcome for those who are new to the idea of backward design or would like to build on their teaching skills.