By the end of this blog, you will be able to:
- identify what are learning outcomes.
- describe the importance of learning outcomes.
- demonstrate how to write observable and measurable learning outcomes.
- describe alignment of learning outcomes across the different levels of a course.
What are learning outcomes? Learning outcomes are statements of what your students will be able to do by the specified time they are assessed. The above paragraph is an example of learning outcomes for my blog posting. The learning outcomes clearly state what you will be able to do after reading this entire blog. I won’t actually be assessing at the end of the blog, but you should be able to do those things if an assessment were given at the end.
Why are these learning outcomes important? After you read through that paragraph, my vision or direction for the blog was clear. The learning outcomes set the understanding I am going to blog this information, and by the end of the blog, you will be able to do these things.
Now we have an understanding of what learning outcomes are and understand their importance, here are some tips and resources for helping you to write your own observable and measurable learning outcomes. One of the key components of learning outcomes is they must be observable and measurable. Here is a list of verbs and activities that might help with ensure your outcomes are clear, concise, and measurable.
There are several levels of learning outcomes. At Northwest, we have three major levels of outcomes, and each course then can be broken down into smaller outcomes to provide a detailed vision/direction for the course.
- Institutional Level Learning Outcomes
- The institutional learning outcomes were set by the university during the Spring 2017 term. These learning outcomes are what each student that attends Northwest is assessed on at some point during their coursework, regardless of their major.
- Core Level Learning Outcomes
- The Core Learning Outcomes were developed by faculty teaching the Core courses. these learning outcomes are what each student that attends Northwest is assessed on at some point during their core coursework, regardless of their major.
- Program Level Learning Outcomes
- The program level learning outcomes were sent to the interim Provost, by the directors and chairs for the departments and schools, the end of March 2017. These learning outcomes are specific to the vision/direction of what students will have been assessed upon during the completion of that program.
- Course Level Learning Outcomes
- The course level learning outcomes are determined by the instructor for the specific course. There should be a consistency across all instructors teaching that course.
Each level of outcome should align with the level above it. What does that mean? When we look at the course level outcomes, some of those will be content related outcomes. They won’t directly relate, or align, back to a program level outcome or an institutional outcome. Same with the program level outcomes. At least some, if not all, of the program level outcomes will align back to the institutional outcomes. For example, my course level outcome, “By the end of this course, you will be able to produce and organize data from assessments,” aligns with the program level outcome, “Teacher candidates analyze assessment data to improve student.” The course level outcome is not the same as the program level outcome because the student isn’t analyzing the data yet, but is necessary to know before learning how to analyze the data. The course level outcome and the program level outcome both align to the institutional learning outcome, “Northwest students will locate, retrieve, organize, store, synthesize, and annotate various forms of information.” Each level of learning outcome provides a bit more detailed view of the institutional outcome.
After reading this blog, have we achieved the following learning outcomes:
- identify what are learning outcomes – Learning outcomes are statements of what your students will be able to do by the specified time they are assessed.
- describe the importance of learning outcomes – The learning outcomes set, or clarify, the vision of what the student will be able to do by the time of the assessment.
- demonstrate how to write observable and measurable learning outcomes – The key component of learning outcomes is they must be observable and measurable. The provided document above will help you be able to demonstrate how to write these.
- describe alignment of learning outcomes across the different levels of a course – Alignment of outcomes across the different levels shows how each course outcome is contributing to the achievement of the program level and institutional level outcomes, as is the alignment of the program level outcomes with the institutional outcomes.
For more assistance, please reference https://www.nwmissouri.edu/academics/ltc/teaching/outcomes.htm.