Competency 11:

Implement pedagogically context-appropriate sound practices linking assessment for/as/of learningplanning for learning, instructional strategies and approaches to engage all students in relevant and personalized learning

Learning Design Process

Blackberries (S₭ELÁLṈEW̱ in SENĆOŦEN)

You will be learning about unit and lesson design in a variety of courses and contexts. There are many templates, styles and formats to choose from.  The ones included here reflect the wording and layout of the BC curriculum. The templates are intended to guide your thinking processes as you begin planning, using an intentional learning design framework.

You will notice that how you plan is different from how you teach. “Beginning with the end in mind” is a useful phrase to consider. Your plans should start from the end goal of what you are hoping students will learn, and in what ways will the students demonstrate that learning. Once you have those in place, you can begin planning individual lessons/learning sequences.

There is no one “right” way to plan or one template to use, and teachers develop planning strategies that work for them. At the beginning of your practice, however, when working with your mentor and supervisor, it is important your plans are thorough to make your planning “visible” to those who can provide input and feedback. As you get to know your students, your plans will change to better accommodate their needs, and as you respond to the formative assessment you and your students engage in. This is an essential characteristic of professionalism.

Assessment (beginning with the end in mind)

Although you may think of assessment as happening at the end of learning, considering assessment is the very first step in good planning.  What and how you assess learning needs to inform all stages of the planning and instruction.

There are three types of assessment that are part of teaching and learning:  assessment for learning (feedback for the learner), assessment as learning (students monitoring their own learning), and assessment of learning (based on a product or performance). Assessment should not be limited to a high-stress event that occurs after the learning has happened. It should be a natural, cooperative, ongoing process that involves the active engagement of students and teachers.

Principles of Quality Assessment

Within the online documents for the curriculum, the government has identified the following principles for the development of classroom assessment, evaluation and communication of student learning. Quality assessment:

  • is fair, transparent, meaningful and responsive to all learners
  • focuses on all three components of the curriculum model – knowing, doing, understanding
  • provides ongoing descriptive feedback to students
  • is ongoing, timely, specific, and embedded in day to day instruction
  • provides varied and multiple opportunities for learners to demonstrate their learning
  • involves student in their learning
  • promotes development of student self-assessment and goal setting for next steps in learning
  • allows for a collection of student work to be gathered over time to provide a full profile of the learner and learning
  • communicates clearly to the learner and parents where the student is, what they are working towards and the ways that learning can be supported

Once you have your unit developed, it is time to turn your attention to planning the specific learning experiences you are designing for students. Although traditionally called “lesson plans”, more people are using the term “learning plans”, which better reflects the focus on student learning. What is consistent is that you are taking the broad ideas of your unit and planning a variety of experiences for your students to engage in demonstrating what they know, can do, and understand. There is no one “best” template or format; the one offered here is a suggestion that can help guide your thinking processes as you design your unit and learning plans, and incorporates the language and design of the BC curriculum.

Find out more about Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to support all your learners. Perhaps move this up or connect it earlier as well


  • Why is planning important for intentional and appropriate learning?  Does planning preclude spontaneity?
  • As you observe in classrooms, can you identify the learning intention(s) of the lesson?
  • How might teachers communicate the intentions or big ideas of the unit and lesson to students?
  • As you observe teaching, can you sketch out a lesson design from the observation?
  • How can you design units and lessons that reach every student?
  • How does considering assessment first change the planning and teaching cycle?
  • Why are there different types of assessment?
  • What types of assessments best allow students to demonstrate their learning?
  • How will these assessments reflect 21st century learning skills?
  • What assessment practices have you observed and what have been their purposes?