An intentional approach to course design that encourages instructors to develop their curriculum in a manner that is ‘backward’ compared to traditional approach. Backward design recommends that learning goals are developed first; learning goals embody the knowledge and skills students should master during the course. The second step of backward design is to consider assessment or the content will be evaluated in course exams. In backward design, the course should be designed around the content that will be assessed and all activities and/or teaching should focus on the learning goals and content that will be assessed. Use of the backward design approach helps instructors to design a course that clearly communicates expectations.
A framework for assessment items (aka ‘test questions’), developed in 1956 by Benjamin Bloom and revised in 2002 by Krathwohl, focused on six levels within the cognitive domain of knowledge acquisition that ascend from lower to higher-order thinking: remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating.
Verbs used within learning objectives to indicate explicitly what the student must do to demonstrate learning. An example of a measurable learning objective is ‘compare innate and adaptive immunity.’ The use of the verb ‘compare’ is measurable and allows the learner to list similarities and differences between innate and adaptive immunity.