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What are Learning Outcomes? - Open Education Online

What are Learning Outcomes?

At the end of this article, you will be able to explain what learning outcomes are. That’s a learning outcome. Now let’s dive deeper into the topic.

One of the most important aspects of any educational program is ensuring that students achieve the desired learning outcomes. Learning outcomes are the knowledge, skills, and abilities that students are expected to acquire as a result of their participation in an educational program. In other words, learning outcomes represent what students are expected to learn from their experience.

There are a variety of ways to think about learning outcomes. For example, some educators focus on student learning outcomes, while others emphasize programmatic or institutional learning outcomes. Regardless of how they are defined, however, all learning outcomes share one common goal: to ensure that students have the opportunity to learn what is necessary for success in their chosen field.

There are a number of different approaches that can be used to develop learning outcomes. One popular approach is known as the Bloom’s Taxonomy. This approach classifies learning objectives into six different levels, ranging from simple recall to more complex understanding and application. Another common approach is known as the SOLO Taxonomy. This approach focuses on five different levels of learning, ranging from pre-structural to extended abstract.

Regardless of the approach used, it is important to remember that all learning outcomes must be aligned with the goals of the educational program. In other words, learning outcomes should be based on what students need to know in order to be successful in their chosen field.

Learning Outcomes vs Learning Objectives: What’s the difference?

When it comes to learning outcomes and objectives, there is often confusion about what each term means. In simple terms, learning outcomes are what students are expected to know or be able to do by the end of a course or educational program. On the other hand, learning objectives are specific goals that instructors want their students to achieve during the duration of the course.

In order to write effective learning outcomes, it is important to understand the difference between the two concepts. Learning objectives focus on what the instructors want students to achieve with the course, hence they are instructor-centered. On the other hand, learning outcomes focus on what students should be able to do with the knowledge or skills they have acquired, hence they are learner-centered. For example, a learning objective for a math course might be “to be able to solve basic algebra problems.” On the other hand, a learning outcome for the same math course might be “to be able to apply algebraic methods to solve real-world problems.”

It is important to note that learning objectives should always be aligned with learning outcomes. In other words, the objectives should support the achievement of the outcomes. For example, if a course’s outcome is “to be able to apply algebraic methods to solve real-world problems,” then all of the objectives for that course should contribute to that outcome in some way.

What to consider when writing learning outcomes

There are a few key things to keep in mind when writing learning outcomes:

  • Learning outcomes should be stated in terms of what students will be able to do as a result of taking a course or completing a program.
  • They should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART).
  • Learning outcomes should be aligned with the goals and objectives of the course or program.
  • They should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis.
  • Learning outcomes should be used as benchmark to evaluate learner success through surveys and other means

When writing learning outcomes, it is important to use action verbs that accurately reflect the level of learning expected. For example, if you want students to simply understand a concept, you would use words like “explain” or “describe.” If you want students to be able to apply a concept, you would use words like “analyze” or “evaluate.” And if you want students to be able to create something new, you would use words like “design” or “develop.” Action verbs are used because they are measurable.

How to assess learning outcomes?

There are a variety of assessment tools available, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Selecting the right tool(s) for your needs is crucial to ensuring accurate and meaningful results. Some common assessment tools include tests, surveys, interviews, and observations.

Once you have selected the appropriate assessment tool(s), it is time to put your plan into action. Be sure to administer the assessment in a fair and consistent manner, and take care to accurately record and interpret the results. With careful planning and execution, assessing learning outcomes can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of your instructional methods.

When it comes to assessing learning outcomes, there are a few key things to keep in mind:

  • First and foremost, it is important to be clear about what exactly you are trying to measure. Are you looking to assess knowledge acquisition, skills development, or something else entirely? Once you have a clear understanding of your goals, you can begin to develop a plan for assessment.
  • There are a variety of assessment tools available, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Selecting the right tool(s) for your needs is crucial to ensuring accurate and meaningful results. As previously mentioned, some common assessment tools include tests, surveys, interviews, and observations.
  • Once you have selected the appropriate assessment tool(s), it is time to put your plan into action. Be sure to administer the assessment in a fair and consistent manner, and take care to accurately record and interpret the results.

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