If you don’t know where you’re going, how can you choose the best path?
To implement this appropriately named approach, designers start from the eventual goals and map out the material leading up to them. This means analyzing the desired endpoints, creating opportunities to demonstrate proficiency in them through significant projects or assessments, and working backward from there to finish out the complete design:
[T]he backward design approach has instructors consider the learning goals of the course first…. the second stage involves consideration of assessment. The backward design framework suggests that instructors should consider these overarching learning goals and how students will be assessed prior to consideration of how to teach the content.*
Tracing back from the endpoints ensures that students are given the material, activities, and practice they need to prepare for meeting those ultimate goals—and that they can successfully demonstrate doing so.
*Ryan S. Bowen, “Understanding by Design,” Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching, last modified 2017, https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/understanding-by-design/.