Using Learning Outcomes

A Culture of Scholarship in Education

Teaching courses based on Learning Outcomes has several advantages:

  • Students will know up front (from the Learning Outcomes section of the syllabus) the key skills and competencies they will learn and be able to demonstrate when they complete the course.
  • Instructors will be better able to plan the content knowledge, skills, and competencies students will demonstrate when they complete the course.
  • Faculty can more readily determine whether certain assignments, exams, projects, and other assessment measures work as intended in their courses, i.e. determine whether Assessments map to Learning Outcomes.
  • Faculty and assessment coordinators will be able to evaluate the sufficiency or need for improvement of the course and program curriculum across semesters.
  • With learning outcomes in place for each course in a program, the faculty and program director will be able to map out the place of each course in the program.
  • Evidence of sufficiency or need for improvement visible in measured Learning Outcomes for specific courses will feed into the Learning Outcomes of a program.
  • Learning Outcomes present a map of skills acquired across the courses in a particular program.
  • Once courses are mapped into the program, and a program is based on Learning Outcomes, and the program has compiled specific Program Learning Outcomes—then faculty, students, and parents too, will be able to know exactly what knowledge, skills, and competencies the students will demonstrate upon completing the program.
  • Students will be able to see “the big picture” and better understand the reasons why they must take a particular course, or why there is a particular sequence to follow when they take particular courses (i.e., prerequisite skills for an upper level course).

Learning Outcomes are also important in the process of accreditation at all levels: program, school, and Institute.

Measuring Learning Outcomes in the process of teaching a course—over the entire process of education—is in fact the Assessment Process that is essential to building a Culture of Scholarship in Education.