Learning Outcomes are statements that describe or list measurable and essential mastered content knowledge. These statements set forth the skills, competencies, and knowledge that students will have acquired and will be able to demonstrate after successfully completing the course. Bloom's Taxonomy can help identify appropriate verbs for developing learning outcomes. Here is another presentation of the Bloom's Taxonomy.
Another very useful tool is the Degree Quality Profile (the DQP). Funded by the Lumina Foundation, the DQP "provides a baseline set of reference points for what students should know and be able to do to earn associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees. In short, the DQP represents a comprehensive and ongoing effort to clearly define what postsecondary degrees should mean in terms of specific learning outcomes."
When writing Learning Outcomes, keep the following in mind:
1. The student is the subject of your statement. Talk about the student, not about the content or what your students will learn if you use certain teaching methods.
2. The Learning Outcomes statement declares competencies, skills, actions, behaviors, and ability to use course content that students must be able to demonstrate. The emphasis is on the student's skills not on the course content, or the teaching methods used by the instructor.
3. The stated Learning Outcome should be measurable, i.e. you should use action verbs that have a concrete measure such as: demonstrate, apply, evaluate, compare and contrast, analyze, be able to use, discuss, decide, debate, write, calculate, form, locate, perform, design, etc.
A good rule of thumb is NOT to use (because they do not name directly measurable actions), verbs such as remember, understand, learn, appreciate, like, believe, know, feel comfortable, have an idea about…, etc.
Note: For courses with multiple sections taught by different instructors, all sections of a course should have a core of the same Learning Outcomes statements. Additional Learning Outcomes statements could be present in different sections, if different instructors assess additional outcomes.
- Students who successfully complete this course will demonstrate the ability to apply Fundamental Theorems and rules to solve symbolic and graphical problems.
- Students will demonstrate the ability to apply the methods of “modern” physics to explain and analyze existing and future technologies and engineered products involving nuclear phenomena.
- more examples
Questions to Use as Guidelines to Evaluate Student Learning Outcomes
1. Are the students meeting the course’s benchmarks or Student Learning Outcomes?
a. Are the Student Learning Outcomes clearly written and measurable?
b. Does the course assess student learning adequately?
c. Is the assessment aligned with the course outcomes objectives?
d. What changes have been made in the course as a result of assessment?
e. Are those changes appropriate to reflect continuous improvement?
2. Does the course support student Learning Outcomes?
a. Is the course based on a solid core of knowledge, at all levels of thinking (see Bloom’s [revised] taxonomy: Remembering, Understanding, Applying, Analysing, Evaluating and Creating), that supports the learning experience for students?
b. Is the course content rigorous? Does the course immerse students in the discipline as applied to real life?
c. Does the course provide appropriate opportunity for students to apply their knowledge and skills? (projects, labs, field trips, internships, etc.).
3. Does the environment support student learning?
a. Is there enough institutional support for the learning environment?
b. Does the course provide adequate mentoring and advising for students?
c. Does the program set a standard of excellence, with clear outcome objectives?
d. Is there a description of evidence of learning outcomes and program improvement?