University of Denver

Foundations: Instructional Design Guide

Use Learning Outcomes & Standards-Based Assessments to Train Better Lawyers
Director of Legal Education and the Legal Profession
Director of Research
Academic Analytics Advisor
Legal Education and Employment Advisor

This instructional design guide is for educators who are interested in using what IAALS has learned from the Foundations for Practice project as a basis for learning outcomes and standards-based assessments.

The guide uses a step-by-step approach to implement a Foundations-based instructional model in the university law classroom. The methodologies described are designed to be accessible and comprehensible for instructors who have not previously used standards-based instruction.

The framework for this guide is based on:

  • The Model Learning Outcomes that IAALS developed in collaboration with Columbia Law School, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, University of Denver Sturm College of Law, and Seattle University School of Law
  • Results of the Foundations for Practice survey of more than 24,000 lawyers from across the country
  • Collaborative working sessions conducted with 36 different legal employers in New York, Chicago, Denver, and Seattle representing a variety of practice areas and organization sizes

The guide and accompanying toolkit are designed to walk educators through the following process:

  1. Analyzing objectives and goals of coursework
  2. Developing clear definitions
  3. Writing learning objectives
  4. Operationalizing learning objectives
  5. Designing appropriate assessments
  6. Designing observational and scoring rubrics

More information about Foundations for Practice—including resources for educators, employers, and students—is available here.

Publication Series