Aligning learning objectives, assessments and activities

Using backwards design and constructive alignment to link course learning objectives, assessment tasks and learning and teaching activities in course design.

The last phase of the (re)development process is to ensure that the courses are designed to achieve the programme outcomes identified in the mapping process. In this phase, we advise you adopt a Backwards Design (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005), or Constructive Alignment (Biggs and Tang, 2011) approach to developing your course curriculum.

Things to consider

Both these approaches assert that when you begin your design process you should:

  1. Start by thinking about what (and how) you want your students to be able to know, think or do when they have completed a specific course, year-level, programme or major (these are your course learning objectives).
  2. Next, decide how you will judge they have met your learning objectives (assessment and assessment criteria).
  3. Finally, decide what learning and teaching activities will best help students develop the knowledge, skills and experience they need to achieve the learning objectives (learning and teaching activities).


There are many useful resources available online for finding out more about Backwards Design, Constructive Alignment, and other aspects of curriculum design.