Learning Outcomes

Learning outcomes are a required element of the syllabus. They are statements about what students will know and be able to do with what they know upon successful completion of the course. These statements are further defined as observable and measurable - meaning that student progress on learning outcomes can and is assessed in the course.

Learning outcomes benefit faculty because they form a solid foundation for course organization and planning. Well constructed learning outcomes make the selection and design of assignments and assessments more focused. They also assist with keeping focus on the things faculty most value in the course.

Learning outcomes benefit students by providing specific learning targets to pursue. They can also help students better understand faculty actions and choices in the course.
 
Faculty often wonder how many learning outcomes to include in the syllabus. The answer to that question varies - but typically falls around 5-7. These are the major outcomes for the course. Additional detail breaking down these major outcomes into smaller outcomes within specific topics in the course is appropriate. If the course level list is too long, it makes it difficult to focus on learning targets and priorities.
 

Steps for writing learning outcomes:

 

  • Make a list of the things students need to know and be able to do as a result of your course. Example: Upon completion of the course, students will understand quality differences in internet sources.  
  • Reflect on how students will demonstrate acquisition of the specified knowledge and skills. Will they define, solve, create, compare, etc.? Example: How will I know if students understand quality differences in internet sources? I would know if they could demonstrate the ability to successfully evaluate a list of internet sources based on appropriate rating criteria.
  • Using action verbs from your reflection on how students will demonstrate learning, adjust your outcomes. Example: Upon completion of the course, students will be able to evaluate internet sources using an information literacy guide.
  • Share you learning outcomes with a peer or CTE for enhancement feedback.
 
Additional information on learning outcomes can be found at http://teaching.tamu.edu/Course-Design#C2 For assistance with writing or revising learning outcomes, see this document or contact CTE at cte@tamu.edu.
 
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