4d. Instructional Design Principles

Model the use of instructional design principles with educators to create effective digital learning environments.

ISTE Standards for coaches 2019

Reflecting back on my learning around the ISTE standards for coaches and specifically indicator 4d of the Learning Designer standard which is about instructional design principles, I started thinking about one of my blog posts that was centered around using the design process in classrooms. In my blog post Supporting Innovative Thinking and the Design Process, I spent time digging into different resources and thinking about how to support educators in incorporating the design process into their classes. Some things that came out of this learning for me were the idea that the design process is really about asking the right questions. We should be asking questions not around how to solve problems for ourselves but how we can solve problems for others and what that might look like. One of the resources that I was able to look at was from The Institute of Design at Stanford where they talk about the idea that the design process really is continuous. You start by asking questions and learning about your intended audience, then you go through a cycle that eventually takes you back to the beginning to reevaluate your questions and what you’ve learned. In my mind this is what education is all about. How are we asking the right questions and pushing our own thinking to go deeper into our learning? Something else that came to mind from this blog post was how I might better collaborate with fellow facilitators in helping educators intentionally weave the design process into their instruction. For me this looks like intentionally planning with other facilitators around how we bring this into our work with educators. Part of this means providing the time for educators to collaborate and plan together. An example of this is two of my colleagues and I are working with a group of teachers to begin to plan for next school year. We are starting by reflecting on things that went well this year. From there we are going to brainstorm as a group ideas for next year where we want to draw on student interests and potentially build in project based learning opportunities into the curriculum. This means as a group we have to start by asking questions about our curriculum and our students, then come up with some ideas, potentially test some ideas out this spring, and come back together to refine our plan. 

Yet another example of my work around this indicator is my use of backwards planning or UbD when planning with others. I’ve used much of what I learned from reading Understanding by Design by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe in not only my own planning but when working and co-planning with other educators. I am currently thinking about a conversation I recently had with a group of math teachers where we were talking about how to plan for next year and the uncertainty of it all. While the conversation kept wanting to veer towards what skills students might not be coming into the classroom with, I was able to keep bringing it back to what our goals for the students are. What is it we as educators want the students to know and understand so that we can design our learning around that. This was helpful in the conversation as instead of focusing on what lessons we needed to get through we could focus on what learning targets we wanted to get to for students. 

Next Steps

Things that I’m still thinking about with this particular indicator are how I can connect the backwards design thinking with Universal Design for Learning as that is one of the focuses of our district. I would like to think through ideas with other facilitators for how to support Educators in really starting with what their goals for students are and then planning from there instead of starting with, “well we need to teach lesson 3.1” which is what often happens in classrooms that I’m in. I also am stuck thinking about how we might continue to build in those opportunities for weaving in not only the content but also things like the ISTE student standards or PBL or computational thinking into classrooms in order to support student learning. I’m also thinking about the role of our district’s learning management system and other digital resources in supporting educators and students in authentic and engaging learning. One resource that I would like to look more at in order to determine how or if it might support my work with educators is the Learning Accelerator website and specifically their section on blended & personalized learning at work. The website has some clear strategies and resources for supporting hybrid and remote instruction that I want to look further into to see how I might share them with educators in order to help with planning and setting up routines for classrooms in the fall.


ISTE Standards for Coaches (2019). Retrieved from: https://www.iste.org/standards/for-coaches

Tools for taking action. (n.d.). Stanford d.School. Retrieved May 2, 2021, from https://dschool.stanford.edu/resources

Wiggins, G., & Mctighe, J. (2005). Understanding by Design, Expanded 2Nd Edition.