UbD Design Template

The Fink's 3 Column Table and the UbD (Understanding By Design) Template are both instructional design frameworks that provide educators with structures for planning and organizing their curriculum. However, they differ in their approach and emphasis.  The Fink's 3 Column Table, developed by L. Dee Fink, centers on designing significant learning experiences (Fink, 2013). It consists of three columns: learning goals, teaching and learning activities, and assessment methods. Educators are prompted to clearly articulate the desired learning outcomes, align teaching strategies with those outcomes, and select appropriate assessment methods to measure student achievement. The emphasis of this framework lies in creating engaging and transformative learning experiences that surpass simple content acquisition.

In contrast, the UbD Template, developed by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe, offers a more comprehensive and backward design framework (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005). It begins by identifying the desired results, including understanding goals and essential questions. Then, educators plan the assessment evidence that will demonstrate student understanding. Finally, the template guides the design of instructional activities and materials. The UbD Template places a strong emphasis on understanding over mere knowledge acquisition and encourages educators to prioritize enduring understandings and transferable skills.

Although both frameworks emphasize the alignment between learning goals, activities, and assessments, the UbD Template provides a more structured and systematic approach by focusing on the identification of essential understandings and the backward design process. On the other hand, the Fink's 3 Column Table offers a simpler and more focused structure that emphasizes the alignment of learning goals, activities, and assessments.  

I personally prefer using the UbD Template, as I am more familiar with the format and have used it since 2012, in designing unit plans.  The biggest concern I have, in regards to my Innovation Plan, is will the students also be prepared to start blogging as a form of reflection.  I truly believe it will be a good learning experience, however, because many of my students are ELL's, I'm concerned about their ability to blog effectively. Regardless, the more practice they have writing and editing, along with receiving peer feedback and teacher feedforward, will increase their English language acquisition.  


Fink, L. D. (updated 2013). A self-directed guide to designing courses for significant learning. Retrieved December 8, 2018, from Fink Consulting: http://finkconsulting.info/major-publications/

Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by Design (expanded second ed.). Alexandria, Virginia: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development






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