The Edvocate’s Guide to Learning Outcomes

Student outcomes denote what learners will know or accomplish once they finish a class or program of study. Learning outcomes are descriptions of the capabilities, skills, and knowledge used to assess learner learning. Learning outcomes should outline what learners possess and show upon completing a learning experience or set of experiences. When creating a list of learner learning outcomes for educators to set as curriculum objectives to improve learner learning, contemplate the following recommendations:

How to Build Student Learning Outcomes

Choose between 3-5 learning outcomes: You should select acceptable learning outcomes to ensure learner progress can be measured without becoming complicated for educators to assess. Not all learning experiences will assess all learning outcomes. Each educational activity can assess learners’ development and comprehension, focusing on 1-2 learner learning objectives. Less than three objectives likely means that the learner learning objectives are not robust enough for an entire class.

Learning outcomes should be simple: The outcomes identified in your plan should be concise. They should avoid compound statements that connect more than one statement to communicate efficiently. Each learning outcome should focus on creating one skill or meeting one goal, be straightforward and ensure efficient knowledge acquisition.

Learning outcomes should be written in the future tense: It is essential for the proper implementation of learner learning outcomes to be expressed in the future tense. The statement should express what a personal learner should do in regard to specific instruction or an educational activity. Outcomes should be observable to be quantified for examining crucial learner success metrics through learning assessment. They should create and use information literacy skills.

Learning outcomes should be realistic: to ensure learner learning outcomes are successful, they must be attainable for the learners for whom they are designated. Outcomes need to be designed with learners’ ability, initial skill sets, cognitive development, and the institutional time frame’s length to attain these skill sets in mind. Further, they should also align with the content being taught to learners.

Learning outcomes should align with the school curriculum: The learning outcomes developed should be consistent with the objectives (curriculum) within the program and discipline in which they are taught. This is especially essential when interpreting assessment results to analyze where changes in instruction should be made. Curriculum mapping is one example of an efficient way to ensure that chosen learning outcomes correspond to the designated curriculum. A curriculum map is a visual plan that explains which learning outcomes are plotted against specific program classes. This ensures that learning goals are reached promptly.

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