4.5 Pre-Course or Pre-Lesson Survey

When using UDL principles to guide your instruction, it is important to know the varying needs, interests, and goals of all of your students. One way to learn this information is to design a pre-lesson or pre-course survey. This can be a formal survey (e.g., using Google Forms) or an informal “thumbs-up/thumbs-down if you agree” activity. The goal of a pre-lesson/course survey is to learn as much as you can about your students so that you can design learning activities based on their interests, needs, and goals.

A K-W-L chart is a good way to start, but this activity focuses solely on students’ knowledge. If you want to engage students in learning, then you need to find a way to pique their interest, tap into their expertise, and incorporate their learning preferences and styles.

Screenshot of a google form with pre-course survey questions, such as "What are the 2-3 most important things you would like to learn from this course?"

Optional Activity: Design a Pre-Course/Lesson Survey

Activity Objective: A pre-course/lesson survey is a good way to understand our students’ needs, interests and expectations. The pre-survey will also help us to predict in advance potential issues in the teaching-learning process and be prepared to confront them.

Activity Instructions: In this optional activity, we ask that you design a pre-course/lesson survey for your students that should include at least 3 questions. Please share your pre-course/lesson survey in our course Google+ Community. We recommend using Google Forms, but you are welcome to use any tool of your choosing. If you need some guidance, please see the examples and resources listed below.

Example Questions

  • Name? Email address?  (Don’t forget logistics!)
  • Please share 3 things you already know about insert topic here.
  • What are your learning goals for this course/lesson?
  • Which of the following digital media tools/apps do you use on a regular basis (e.g., Video recording, video editing, audio recording, audio editing, photography, photo sharing)?
  • Do you have any related experience in the topic that we will discuss during this course/lesson? If so, please describe.
  • How can I support your learning during this course/lesson?
  • Do you have any fears about this course?
  • What are your learning preferences in accomplishing your goals?  
  • For example, for younger students: “Which of the following is your favorite thing to do: Act, sing, draw, design, sculpt, program/write a computer code, play a video game, record a video”
  • What is your greatest strength as a student?
  • What is one skill you’d like to focus on during this course?
  • How can you best support your classmates’ learning?
  • Is there anything you’d like me, as your teacher, to know about you? (e.g. Are you shy? Do you often struggle with a particular grammatical point?)
  • Do you prefer to work independently or in a group? Why?
  • What skills and expertise will you bring to this course?

Example Forms