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Creating Learning Outcomes

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A learning outcome is a concise description of what students will learn and how that learning will be assessed. Having clearly articulated learning outcomes can make designing a course, assessing student learning progress, and facilitating learning activities easier and more effective. Learning outcomes can also help students regulate their learning and develop effective study strategies.

Defining the terms

Educational research uses a number of terms for this concept, including learning goals, student learning objectives, session outcomes, and more. 

In alignment with other Stanford resources, we will use learning outcomes as a general term for what students will learn and how that learning will be assessed. This includes both goals and objectives. We will use learning goals to describe general outcomes for an entire course or program. We will use learning objectives when discussing more focused outcomes for specific lessons or activities.

For example, a learning goal might be “By the end of the course, students will be able to develop coherent literary arguments.” 

Whereas a learning objective might be, “By the end of Week 5, students will be able to write a coherent thesis statement supported by at least two pieces of evidence.”

Learning outcomes benefit instructors

Learning outcomes can help instructors in a number of ways by:

  • Providing a framework and rationale for making course design decisions about the sequence of topics and instruction, content selection, and so on.
  • Communicating to students what they must do to make progress in learning in your course.
  • Clarifying your intentions to the teaching team, course guests, and other colleagues.
  • Providing a framework for transparent and equitable assessment of student learning. 
  • Making outcomes concerning values and beliefs, such as dedication to discipline-specific values, more concrete and assessable.
  • Making inclusion and belonging explicit and integral to the course design.

Learning outcomes benefit students 

Clearly, articulated learning outcomes can also help guide and support students in their own learning by:

  • Clearly communicating the range of learning students will be expected to acquire and demonstrate.
  • Helping learners concentrate on the areas that they need to develop to progress in the course.
  • Helping learners monitor their own progress, reflect on the efficacy of their study strategies, and seek out support or better strategies. (See Promoting Student Metacognition for more on this topic.)

Choosing learning outcomes

When writing learning outcomes to represent the aims and practices of a course or even a discipline, consider:

  • What is the big idea that you hope students will still retain from the course even years later?
  • What are the most important concepts, ideas, methods, theories, approaches, and perspectives of your field that students should learn?
  • What are the most important skills that students should develop and be able to apply in and after your course?
  • What would students need to have mastered earlier in the course or program in order to make progress later or in subsequent courses?
  • What skills and knowledge would students need if they were to pursue a career in this field or contribute to communities impacted by this field?
  • What values, attitudes, and habits of mind and affect would students need if they are to pursue a career in this field or contribute to communities impacted by this field?
  • How can the learning outcomes span a wide range of skills that serve students with differing levels of preparation?
  • How can learning outcomes offer a range of assessment types to serve a diverse student population?

Use learning taxonomies to inform learning outcomes

Learning taxonomies describe how a learner’s understanding develops from simple to complex when learning different subjects or tasks. They are useful here for identifying any foundational skills or knowledge needed for more complex learning, and for matching observable behaviors to different types of learning.

Bloom’s Taxonomy

Bloom’s Taxonomy is a hierarchical model and includes three domains of learning: cognitive, psychomotor, and affective. In this model, learning occurs hierarchically, as each skill builds on previous skills towards increasingly sophisticated learning. For example, in the cognitive domain, learning begins with remembering, then understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and lastly creating. 

Taxonomy of Significant Learning

The Taxonomy of Significant Learning is a non-hierarchical and integral model of learning. It describes learning as a meaningful, holistic, and integral network. This model has six intersecting domains: knowledge, application, integration, human dimension, caring, and learning how to learn. 

See our resource on Learning Taxonomies and Verbs for a summary of these two learning taxonomies.

How to write learning outcomes

Writing learning outcomes can be made easier by using the ABCD approach. This strategy identifies four key elements of an effective learning outcome:

Consider the following example: Students (audience) , will be able to label and describe (behavior) , given a diagram of the eye at the end of this lesson (condition) , all seven extraocular muscles, and at least two of their actions (degree) .

Define who will achieve the outcome. Outcomes commonly include phrases such as “After completing this course, students will be able to...” or “After completing this activity, workshop participants will be able to...”

Keeping your audience in mind as you develop your learning outcomes helps ensure that they are relevant and centered on what learners must achieve. Make sure the learning outcome is focused on the student’s behavior, not the instructor’s. If the outcome describes an instructional activity or topic, then it is too focused on the instructor’s intentions and not the students.

Try to understand your audience so that you can better align your learning goals or objectives to meet their needs. While every group of students is different, certain generalizations about their prior knowledge, goals, motivation, and so on might be made based on course prerequisites, their year-level, or majors. 

Use action verbs to describe observable behavior that demonstrates mastery of the goal or objective. Depending on the skill, knowledge, or domain of the behavior, you might select a different action verb. Particularly for learning objectives which are more specific, avoid verbs that are vague or difficult to assess, such as “understand”, “appreciate”, or “know”.

The behavior usually completes the audience phrase “students will be able to…” with a specific action verb that learners can interpret without ambiguity. We recommend beginning learning goals with a phrase that makes it clear that students are expected to actively contribute to progressing towards a learning goal. For example, “through active engagement and completion of course activities, students will be able to…”

Example action verbs

Consider the following examples of verbs from different learning domains of Bloom’s Taxonomy . Generally speaking, items listed at the top under each domain are more suitable for advanced students, and items listed at the bottom are more suitable for novice or beginning students. Using verbs and associated skills from all three domains, regardless of your discipline area, can benefit students by diversifying the learning experience. 

For the cognitive domain:

  • Create, investigate, design
  • Evaluate, argue, support
  • Analyze, compare, examine
  • Solve, operate, demonstrate
  • Describe, locate, translate
  • Remember, define, duplicate, list

For the psychomotor domain:

  • Invent, create, manage
  • Articulate, construct, solve
  • Complete, calibrate, control
  • Build, perform, execute
  • Copy, repeat, follow

For the affective domain:

  • Internalize, propose, conclude
  • Organize, systematize, integrate
  • Justify, share, persuade
  • Respond, contribute, cooperate
  • Capture, pursue, consume

Often we develop broad goals first, then break them down into specific objectives. For example, if a goal is for learners to be able to compose an essay, break it down into several objectives, such as forming a clear thesis statement, coherently ordering points, following a salient argument, gathering and quoting evidence effectively, and so on.

State the conditions, if any, under which the behavior is to be performed. Consider the following conditions:

  • Equipment or tools, such as using a laboratory device or a specified software application.
  • Situation or environment, such as in a clinical setting, or during a performance.
  • Materials or format, such as written text, a slide presentation, or using specified materials.

The level of specificity for conditions within an objective may vary and should be appropriate to the broader goals. If the conditions are implicit or understood as part of the classroom or assessment situation, it may not be necessary to state them. 

When articulating the conditions in learning outcomes, ensure that they are sensorily and financially accessible to all students.

Degree states the standard or criterion for acceptable performance. The degree should be related to real-world expectations: what standard should the learner meet to be judged proficient? For example:

  • With 90% accuracy
  • Within 10 minutes
  • Suitable for submission to an edited journal
  • Obtain a valid solution
  • In a 100-word paragraph

The specificity of the degree will vary. You might take into consideration professional standards, what a student would need to succeed in subsequent courses in a series, or what is required by you as the instructor to accurately assess learning when determining the degree. Where the degree is easy to measure (such as pass or fail) or accuracy is not required, it may be omitted.

Characteristics of effective learning outcomes

The acronym SMART is useful for remembering the characteristics of an effective learning outcome.

  • Specific : clear and distinct from others.
  • Measurable : identifies observable student action.
  • Attainable : suitably challenging for students in the course.
  • Related : connected to other objectives and student interests.
  • Time-bound : likely to be achieved and keep students on task within the given time frame.

Examples of effective learning outcomes

These examples generally follow the ABCD and SMART guidelines. 

Arts and Humanities

Learning goals.

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to apply critical terms and methodology in completing a written literary analysis of a selected literary work.

At the end of the course, students will be able to demonstrate oral competence with the French language in pronunciation, vocabulary, and language fluency in a 10 minute in-person interview with a member of the teaching team.

Learning objectives

After completing lessons 1 through 5, given images of specific works of art, students will be able to identify the artist, artistic period, and describe their historical, social, and philosophical contexts in a two-page written essay.

By the end of this course, students will be able to describe the steps in planning a research study, including identifying and formulating relevant theories, generating alternative solutions and strategies, and application to a hypothetical case in a written research proposal.

At the end of this lesson, given a diagram of the eye, students will be able to label all of the extraocular muscles and describe at least two of their actions.

Using chemical datasets gathered at the end of the first lab unit, students will be able to create plots and trend lines of that data in Excel and make quantitative predictions about future experiments.

  • How to Write Learning Goals , Evaluation and Research, Student Affairs (2021).
  • SMART Guidelines , Center for Teaching and Learning (2020).
  • Learning Taxonomies and Verbs , Center for Teaching and Learning (2021).
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characteristics of good learning outcomes essay

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Writing and Assessing Student Learning Outcomes

By the end of a program of study, what do you want students to be able to do? How can your students demonstrate the knowledge the program intended them to learn? Student learning outcomes are statements developed by faculty that answer these questions. Typically, Student learning outcomes (SLOs) describe the knowledge, skills, attitudes, behaviors or values students should be able to demonstrate at the end of a program of study. A combination of methods may be used to assess student attainment of learning outcomes.

Characteristics of Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

  • Describe what students should be able to demonstrate, represent or produce upon completion of a program of study (Maki, 2010)

characteristics of good learning outcomes essay

Student learning outcomes also:

  • Should align with the institution’s curriculum and co-curriculum outcomes (Maki, 2010)
  • Should be collaboratively authored and collectively accepted (Maki, 2010)
  • Should incorporate or adapt professional organizations outcome statements when they exist (Maki, 2010)
  • Can be quantitatively and/or qualitatively assessed during a student’s studies (Maki, 2010)

Examples of Student Learning Outcomes

The following examples of student learning outcomes are too general and would be very hard to measure : (T. Banta personal communication, October 20, 2010)

  • will appreciate the benefits of exercise science.
  • will understand the scientific method.
  • will become familiar with correct grammar and literary devices.
  • will develop problem-solving and conflict resolution skills.

The following examples, while better are still general and again would be hard to measure. (T. Banta personal communication, October 20, 2010)

  • will appreciate exercise as a stress reduction tool.
  • will apply the scientific method in problem solving.
  • will demonstrate the use of correct grammar and various literary devices.
  • will demonstrate critical thinking skills, such as problem solving as it relates to social issues.

The following examples are specific examples and would be fairly easy to measure when using the correct assessment measure: (T. Banta personal communication, October 20, 2010)

  • will explain how the science of exercise affects stress.
  • will design a grounded research study using the scientific method.
  • will demonstrate the use of correct grammar and various literary devices in creating an essay.
  • will analyze and respond to arguments about racial discrimination.

Importance of Action Verbs and Examples from Bloom’s Taxonomy

  • Action verbs result in overt behavior that can be observed and measured (see list below).
  • Verbs that are unclear, and verbs that relate to unobservable or unmeasurable behaviors, should be avoided (e.g., appreciate, understand, know, learn, become aware of, become familiar with). View Bloom’s Taxonomy Action Verbs

Assessing SLOs

Instructors may measure student learning outcomes directly, assessing student-produced artifacts and performances; instructors may also measure student learning indirectly, relying on students own perceptions of learning.

Direct Measures of Assessment

Direct measures of student learning require students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. They provide tangible, visible and self-explanatory evidence of what students have and have not learned as a result of a course, program, or activity (Suskie, 2004; Palomba & Banta, 1999). Examples of direct measures include:

  • Objective tests
  • Presentations
  • Classroom assignments

This example of a Student Learning Outcome (SLO) from psychology could be assessed by an essay, case study, or presentation: Students will analyze current research findings in the areas of physiological psychology, perception, learning, abnormal and social psychology.

Indirect Measures of Assessment

Indirect measures of student learning capture students’ perceptions of their knowledge and skills; they supplement direct measures of learning by providing information about how and why learning is occurring. Examples of indirect measures include:

  • Self assessment
  • Peer feedback
  • End of course evaluations
  • Questionnaires
  • Focus groups
  • Exit interviews

Using the SLO example from above, an instructor could add questions to an end-of-course evaluation asking students to self-assess their ability to analyze current research findings in the areas of physiological psychology, perception, learning, abnormal and social psychology. Doing so would provide an indirect measure of the same SLO.

  • Balances the limitations inherent when using only one method (Maki, 2004).
  • Provides students the opportunity to demonstrate learning in an alternative way (Maki, 2004).
  • Contributes to an overall interpretation of student learning at both institutional and programmatic levels.
  • Values the many ways student learn (Maki, 2004).

Bloom, B. (1956) A taxonomy of educational objectives, The classification of educational goals-handbook I: Cognitive domain . New York: McKay .

Maki, P.L. (2004). Assessing for learning: Building a sustainable commitment across the institution . Sterling, VA: Stylus.

Maki, P.L. (2010 ). Assessing for learning: Building a sustainable commitment across the institution (2nd ed.) . Sterling, VA: Stylus.

Palomba, C.A., & Banta, T.W. (1999). Assessment essentials: Planning, implementing, and improving assessment in higher education . San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Suskie, L. (2004). Assessing student learning: A common sense guide. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing.

Revised by Doug Jerolimov (April, 2016)

Helpful Links

  • Revise Bloom's Taxonomy Action Verbs
  • Fink's Taxonomy

Related Guides

  • Creating a Syllabus
  • Assessing Student Learning Outcomes

Recommended Books

characteristics of good learning outcomes essay

Center for Teaching and Learning resources and social media channels

Instruct­ional Resources

Resources for instructors to use when planning, creating, teaching, and assessing

  • Guide to Teaching Online
  • Improving Online Communications
  • On Campus to Remote in 100 Seconds
  • Remote Instruction via Asynchronous and Synchronous Technologies
  • Pre-Planning Flexible Instruction
  • Strategies for Facilitating Asynchronous Learning
  • Strategies for Facilitating Synchronous Classes
  • Some Examples of Flexible Instruction
  • Learning Outcomes: Definition, Characteristics, Benefits
  • Learning Outcomes: Construction
  • Learning Outcomes: Alignment
  • Designing a Course – The Analysis Phase
  • Course Design – Course Components, Structure, and Style
  • Course Design Checklist
  • Estimating Student Hours of Effort
  • Assistive Technologies
  • Teaching Considerations for Students with Disabilities
  • Accessibility Checklists for Microsoft Word Documents, PowerPoint files, and Adobe PDF documents
  • What are Learning Objects?
  • Learning Objects vs Open Educational Resources
  • Learning Object Repositories
  • Finding Free Copyright Material for Your Course
  • Intellectual Property
  • Creative Commons Licences
  • Academic File Sharing Sites
  • AI Text Generation Tools (ChatGPT)

Learning Outcomes: Definition, Characteristics, and Benefits

This resource is designed to help you write and use learning outcomes as you design and teach courses. It includes relevant definitions and the characteristics and benefits of learning outcomes. The resource will be useful for those who are creating a new course, re-developing a course, or teaching a course that was designed by someone else.

This resource introduces learning outcomes. See Planning a Course ,  Constructing Outcomes,  and Alignment for more information on those topics.

Definitions

CITL recommends using objectives at topic level. When students engage in the learning they can use the objective statements to guide their learning, practicing and testing themselves against the objectives.

We provide definitions of goals, outcomes, and objectives not as a definitive list of terms that must be used in your course but as a way to help you in your approach to developing and teaching your course. The following structure shows a relationship between the terms:

Characteristics

Effective learning outcomes are:

  • Clear statements, containing a verb and an object of the verb, of what students are expected to know or do
  • Action-oriented
  • Free of ambiguous words and phrases
  • Learner-centered—written from the perspective of what the learner does
  • Clearly aligned with the course goals: each learning outcome will support a course goal
  • Aligned with the course content, including assessments
  • Realistic and achievable: the audience must be able to achieve the learning outcome within the logistics of the course (time, environment etc.)
  • Appropriate for the level of the learner (see taxonomies)

Learning outcome statements clearly articulate what students are expected to be able to know, do, and value as a result of the learning. They guide the selection of teaching strategies, materials, learning activities, and assessments. They also help guide students in determining what and how to learn in the course.

  • Gronlund, N. E., & Brookhart, S. M. (2009).  Writing Instructional Objectives (8 th  Edition).  Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education Inc.
  • Krathwohl, D. R. (2002). A revision of Bloom’s taxonomy, an overview.  Theory into Practice (41) 4, 212-219.

characteristics of good learning outcomes essay

Writing Student Learning Outcomes

Student learning outcomes state what students are expected to know or be able to do upon completion of a course or program. Course learning outcomes may contribute, or map to, program learning outcomes, and are required in group instruction course syllabi .

At both the course and program level, student learning outcomes should be clear, observable and measurable, and reflect what will be included in the course or program requirements (assignments, exams, projects, etc.). Typically there are 3-7 course learning outcomes and 3-7 program learning outcomes.

When submitting learning outcomes for course or program approvals, or assessment planning and reporting, please:

  • Begin with a verb (exclude any introductory text and the phrase “Students will…”, as this is assumed)
  • Limit the length of each learning outcome to 400 characters
  • Exclude special characters (e.g., accents, umlats, ampersands, etc.)
  • Exclude special formatting (e.g., bullets, dashes, numbering, etc.)

Writing Course Learning Outcomes Video

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Steps for Writing Outcomes

The following are recommended steps for writing clear, observable and measurable student learning outcomes. In general, use student-focused language, begin with action verbs and ensure that the learning outcomes demonstrate actionable attributes.

1. Begin with an Action Verb

Begin with an action verb that denotes the level of learning expected. Terms such as know , understand , learn , appreciate are generally not specific enough to be measurable. Levels of learning and associated verbs may include the following:

  • Remembering and understanding: recall, identify, label, illustrate, summarize.
  • Applying and analyzing: use, differentiate, organize, integrate, apply, solve, analyze.
  • Evaluating and creating: Monitor, test, judge, produce, revise, compose.

Consult Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy (below) for more details. For additional sample action verbs, consult this list from The Centre for Learning, Innovation & Simulation at The Michener Institute of Education at UNH.

2. Follow with a Statement

  • Identify and summarize the important feature of major periods in the history of western culture
  • Apply important chemical concepts and principles to draw conclusions about chemical reactions
  • Demonstrate knowledge about the significance of current research in the field of psychology by writing a research paper
  • Length – Should be no more than 400 characters.

*Note: Any special characters (e.g., accents, umlats, ampersands, etc.) and formatting (e.g., bullets, dashes, numbering, etc.) will need to be removed when submitting learning outcomes through HelioCampus Assessment and Credentialing (formerly AEFIS) and other digital campus systems.

Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning: The “Cognitive” Domain

Graphic depiction of Revised Bloom's Taxonomy

To the right: find a sampling of verbs that represent learning at each level. Find additional action verbs .

*Text adapted from: Bloom, B.S. (Ed.) 1956. Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The classification of educational goals. Handbook 1, Cognitive Domain. New York.

Anderson, L.W. (Ed.), Krathwohl, D.R. (Ed.), Airasian, P.W., Cruikshank, K.A., Mayer, R.E., Pintrich, P.R., Raths, J., & Wittrock, M.C. (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing: A revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives (Complete edition). New York: Longman.

Examples of Learning Outcomes

Academic program learning outcomes.

The following examples of academic program student learning outcomes come from a variety of academic programs across campus, and are organized in four broad areas: 1) contextualization of knowledge; 2) praxis and technique; 3) critical thinking; and, 4) research and communication.

Student learning outcomes for each UW-Madison undergraduate and graduate academic program can be found in Guide . Click on the program of your choosing to find its designated learning outcomes.

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Contextualization of Knowledge

Students will…

  • identify, formulate and solve problems using appropriate information and approaches.
  • demonstrate their understanding of major theories, approaches, concepts, and current and classical research findings in the area of concentration.
  • apply knowledge of mathematics, chemistry, physics, and materials science and engineering principles to materials and materials systems.
  • demonstrate an understanding of the basic biology of microorganisms.

Praxis and Technique

  • utilize the techniques, skills and modern tools necessary for practice.
  • demonstrate professional and ethical responsibility.
  • appropriately apply laws, codes, regulations, architectural and interiors standards that protect the health and safety of the public.

Critical Thinking

  • recognize, describe, predict, and analyze systems behavior.
  • evaluate evidence to determine and implement best practice.
  • examine technical literature, resolve ambiguity and develop conclusions.
  • synthesize knowledge and use insight and creativity to better understand and improve systems.

Research and Communication

  • retrieve, analyze, and interpret the professional and lay literature providing information to both professionals and the public.
  • propose original research: outlining a plan, assembling the necessary protocol, and performing the original research.
  • design and conduct experiments, and analyze and interpret data.
  • write clear and concise technical reports and research articles.
  • communicate effectively through written reports, oral presentations and discussion.
  • guide, mentor and support peers to achieve excellence in practice of the discipline.
  • work in multi-disciplinary teams and provide leadership on materials-related problems that arise in multi-disciplinary work.

Course Learning Outcomes

  • identify, formulate and solve integrative chemistry problems. (Chemistry)
  • build probability models to quantify risks of an insurance system, and use data and technology to make appropriate statistical inferences. (Actuarial Science)
  • use basic vector, raster, 3D design, video and web technologies in the creation of works of art. (Art)
  • apply differential calculus to model rates of change in time of physical and biological phenomena. (Math)
  • identify characteristics of certain structures of the body and explain how structure governs function. (Human Anatomy lab)
  • calculate the magnitude and direction of magnetic fields created by moving electric charges. (Physics)

Additional Resources

  • Bloom’s Taxonomy
  • The Six Facets of Understanding – Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by Design (2nd ed.). ASCD
  • Taxonomy of Significant Learning – Fink, L.D. (2003). A Self-Directed Guide to Designing Courses for Significant Learning. Jossey-Bass
  • College of Agricultural & Life Sciences Undergraduate Learning Outcomes
  • College of Letters & Science Undergraduate Learning Outcomes

Writing Intended Learning Outcomes

When embarking on course design, instructors often focus on content, but it is equally important to focus on the net result of a course: student learning. Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) do just that — they articulate what students should be able to know, do, and value by the end of a course. They are also the key to creating an aligned course: a course in which content, context, instructional strategies, learning activities, and assessment all work together to support students’ achievement of the outcomes (see CTE's Aligning Outcomes, Assessment and Instruction page). This tip sheet outlines key principles to consider when creating learning outcomes and includes a variety of examples. The principles discussed here can be applied at the program level for more global outcomes, as well as to individual lessons or modules within your course.

Instructional Goals vs. Learning Outcomes

Consider the following intended learning outcomes:

  • Articulate design considerations that reflect both individual and societal concerns
  • Formulate conjectures and discover proofs
  • Analyze the behaviour of realistic nonlinear systems
  • Identify all major syntactical constructions of the Latin language
  • Critique a variety of methodological approaches to the study of literature

Each outcome focuses on the  learner , specifically stating what each student should be able to know, do, and/or value by the end of a course.

In contrast, instructional aims or goals tend to focus on what  we  will do as instructors and the opportunities a course will provide to students:

  • Present various human resource challenges and explore the implications for business decisions
  • Offer students the opportunity to participate in open dialog about the impact of technology on society
  • Cover the following topics: Euler’s Formula, Complex Numbers, and Factoring Polynomials
  • Enhance students’ understanding of phase transitions and Landau Theory
  • Provide a broad introduction to microbiology to non-biologists

Rather than focus on what an instructor will do in a course, ILOs focus on what learners can achieve, and thereby can shift the focus of instructional design efforts to student learning. They can prompt us to ask, "What assignment or learning activity will help my students reach the intended learning outcomes of the course?" In this way, ILOs are valuable because they aim to describe what would constitute evidence of student learning — they help instructors think through how best to assess that learning.

Characteristics of Effective Learning Outcomes

To make your assessment decisions easier, ensure that these three principles are represented in the outcomes for your course.

Specificity

There is a fine balance between too generic and overly specific. Consider an outcome related to writing:

  • By the end of the course, a student should be able to  write an essay .

Unless this outcome is for an introductory composition course, the problem with  write an essay  is that it is too vague to be easily assessable. This learning outcome is not connected to the desired analytical skills you may want students to demonstrate in their essays or to the content of the course.

At the same time, it is possible to be too specific:

  • Summarize  War and Peace  in a 5-page essay

The specificity of this outcome makes it rather rigid for a course-level outcome; it would be more appropriate as part of an assignment description. Again, what do you actually want students to be able to do? Could they achieve the intended outcome if the essay were based on a different book? Is the 5-page essay a critical component of assessment? Are there other ways to accomplish the writing task other than through an essay?

To improve this outcome statement, consider what your students need to achieve in the course. Are they expected to simply comprehend the text or do they need to analyze it? Perhaps the focus is on the skill of developing an argument in an essay and the text to be analysed is a secondary component. Here is a more specific outcome that emphasises analysis rather than writing:

  • Appraise character development in 19 th  century Russian literature

The wording of ILOs is also important to consider: action verbs such as  write ,  summarize , and  appraise  connect to clearer learning behaviours than  understand  or  know . Specific learning outcomes help students to make sense of the kinds of learning they need to demonstrate in a course as well as help you to streamline your course design.

Attainability

An attainable outcome describes a realistic expectation of your students. For example, first-year accounting students would not be required to analyze a complex tax case study because they would not have the needed prerequisite knowledge. Similarly, engineering or math students would not study differential equations before they have completed first-year calculus. In both cases, a fairly linear progression through the program’s curriculum is required. In other disciplines, the content might not change as much as the required learning activity. Consider the review of journal articles by second-year students and master’s students. While the second-year student might be expected to find credible sources within the discipline, the master’s student is expected to critically evaluate those articles. It is valuable to understand where your course fits into the broader curriculum to assist with identifying what your students can reasonably achieve.  

When writing outcomes, Bloom’s Taxonomy (1956) is a useful tool in defining the level that students need to attain. Bloom and his colleagues divided learning into three domains: cognitive, psychomotor, and affective. Today, we expand psychomotor to include a broad range of skills (e.g., problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, etc.). Detailed information about Bloom's Taxonomy can be found on CTE's Teaching Tip: Bloom's Taxonomy page.

Within each domain, a learning hierarchy demonstrates the increasing complexity associated with learning. In the cognitive domain, for example, there are six levels: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.  In 2001, Anderson and Krathwohl modified the original hierarchy suggesting, for example, that  creating  something requires a higher level of thinking than  evaluating  someone else’s creation. The resulting cognitive domain hierarchy is presented in Table 1.

Bloom created hierarchies for the psychomotor and affective domains as well. These scales try to capture the increasing complexity associated with learning in each domain.

There are thousands of learning outcome examples available online. A search on the term “Bloom verbs” yields a variety of example verbs to select based on the domain and the level of the hierarchy. The verbs chosen can also help to make the ILOs more specific.

As you select the right level for your students, another consideration is what is achievable in a twelve-week course. Additional contextual factors that may influence your ILOs include: class size, whether or not the course is required or an elective, whether or not students are from the same program or a variety of programs, year of the course, level of the program, number of instructors, TA support, etc. These factors may require you to re-think what you can help your students to learn and how you can assess your course learning outcomes in a sustainable way.

Measurability

ILOs must be measurable. You need to evaluate whether — and how well — each requirement has been fulfilled. Each ILO, then, needs to relate to particular assessment questions or activities as a means of collecting evidence of learning. Using an alignment table or matrix can help you to determine whether all ILOs are assessed in your course.

Specificity can also assist with measurement. For example, if an ILO indicates that students will  understand electrical circuits , how might that be measured? Should they be able to build and test a circuit or simply draw a diagram of one? The actual learning that is to be assessed is not very clear from a vague ILO statement. Identifying the assessments that you want to use can help you to sharpen your ILOs.

Given that ILOs can relate to different learning domains and different levels within those domains, they are not all equally easy to measure. Some types of ILOs are straightforward to measure (e.g., those on the lower end of the cognitive domain or specific behaviours in the psychomotor domain). For example, measurement is clear when assessments have right versus wrong answers. In math, students can demonstrate their ability to apply certain equations through assignment or test questions; they get marks when they are correct and no marks when they are not. However, not all ILOs are so easily assessable. An ILO that asks students to analyze a text according to a particular theory of literary criticism may be assessed via an analytical paper or seminar presentation, but there is not one optimal end product. In such cases it is typically possible to create criteria for a rubric that can be used to assess how well the various criteria have been met.

Measuring outcomes that look for changes in attitudes or values rather than specific behaviours can be even more challenging. These ILOs typically stem from the affective domain. It may be more productive to think of what  evidence  can be collected as  indicators  of a change than to focus on measurement. For example, what evidence could you collect to demonstrate that the following outcomes have been met:  

  • Appreciate works of art from the 20 th  century
  • Value lifelong learning in their profession
  • Question the impact of socioeconomic status in relation to access to higher education

In the lifelong learning example, if a student researches continuing education courses and makes a professional development plan for the future, this could demonstrate that they see value in lifelong learning. Journaling or other types of learning documents like ePortfolios may provide students with a means to explain or show changes in how or what they think. They are not guarantees of a change, but they can capture reasonably robust indicators of learning. As ILOs become less concrete, direct measurement becomes more challenging. Again, developing rubrics that identify key characteristics of new or changed values or approaches to thinking can help to assess such ILOs.

If you would like support applying these tips to your own teaching, CTE staff members are here to help.  View the  CTE Support  page to find the most relevant staff member to contact. 

Resources: CTE Teaching Tips

  • Bloom's Taxonomy
  • Aligning Outcomes, Assessments, and Instruction
  • Course Design Heuristic
  • Rubrics: Useful Assessment Tools
  • Anderson, L. W., & Krathwohl, D. R. (2001).  A Taxonomy for learning, teaching and assessing: A revision of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives . New York: Longman.
  • Bloom, B. S. (1956).  Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals . New York: D. MacKay. 

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An introduction to writing effective learning outcomes

How to plan your teaching and prioritise what students need to learn.

Learning outcomes describe what students should be able to do by the end of a teaching session or course. They are related to, but different from, teaching aims, which instead describe broadly what the session or course is about and its overall purpose.

Writing learning outcomes can help you to plan your teaching, for example, by prioritising key learning points for the session or course and enabling you to plan your teaching across a session or course. You may also want to share learning outcomes with your students to help them to understand what they are meant to be learning.

Core principles of learning outcomes

Learning outcomes should:

  • Avoid jargon.
  • Use action verbs to describe what it is that students should be able to do during and/or at the end of a session or course. One way to ensure this is by completing the sentence: ‘By the end of the session students will be able to …’ (see the ‘Learning outcome verbs’ table later in this guide).
  • Not be too numerous. This helps to avoid writing a list of ‘content to be covered’ and will also help you prioritise what students need to do.
  • Be specific.

Examples of learning outcomes

All learning outcomes should include an action verb to describe what students should be able to do at the end of the session or course to demonstrate their learning. Two examples are provided below:

‘Describe qualitatively the relationships between risk factors and acute respiratory infections using data from published sources.’

‘Analyse the use of language and symbolism in Middle English poetry by close reading extracts of verse.’

Learning outcome verbs

This table lists some examples of action verbs which you may find helpful when writing learning outcomes for your session or course:

When writing learning outcomes, avoid using words that are vague and which are more difficult to assess. This includes words and phrases such as:

  • learn the basics of
  • be aware of
  • have a good grasp of
  • be interested in
  • be familiar with
  • realise the significance
  • become acquainted with
  • obtain a working knowledge of
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Developing Learning Outcomes

What are learning outcomes.

Learning outcomes are statements that describe the knowledge or skills students should acquire by the end of a particular assignment, class, course, or program. They help students:

  • understand why that knowledge and those skills will be useful to them
  • focus on the context and potential applications of knowledge and skills
  • connect learning in various contexts
  • help guide assessment and evaluation

Good learning outcomes emphasize the application and integration of knowledge. Instead of focusing on coverage of material, learning outcomes articulate how students will be able to employ the material, both in the context of the class and more broadly.

Consider using approximately five to ten learning outcomes per assignment; this number allows the learning outcomes to cover a variety of knowledge and skills while retaining a focus on essential elements of the course.

Learn how you can add learning outcomes to your Quercus course .

Examples of Learning Outcomes

For reference, Bloom’s Taxonomy of relevant active verbs.

  • identify and describe the political, religious, economic, and social uses of art in Italy during the Renaissance
  • identify a range of works of art and artists analyze the role of art and of the artist in Italy at this time
  • analyze the art of the period according to objective methods
  • link different materials and types of art to the attitudes and values of the period
  • evaluate and defend their response to a range of art historical issues
  • provide accurate diagrams of cells and be able to classify cells from microscopic images
  • identify and develop data collection instruments and measures for planning and conducting sociological research
  • identify and classify their spending habits and prepare a personal budget
  • predict the appearance and motion of visible celestial objects
  • formulate scientific questions about the motion of visible celestial objects
  • plan ways to model and/or simulate an answer to the questions chosen
  • select and integrate information from various sources, including electronic and print resources, community resources, and personally collected data, to answer the questions chosen communicate scientific ideas, procedures, results, and conclusions using appropriate SI units, language, and formats
  • describe, evaluate, and communicate the impact of research and other accomplishments in space technology on our understanding of scientific theories and principles and on other fields of endeavour
  • By the end of this course, students will be able to categorize macroeconomic policies according to the economic theories from which they emerge.
  • By the end of this unit, students will be able to describe the characteristics of the three main types of geologic faults (dip-slip, transform, and oblique) and explain the different types of motion associated with each.
  • By the end of this course, students will be able to ask questions concerning language usage with confidence and seek effective help from reference sources.
  • By the end of this course, students will be able to analyze qualitative and quantitative data, and explain how evidence gathered supports or refutes an initial hypothesis.
  • By the end of this course, students will be able to work cooperatively in a small group environment.
  • By the end of this course, students will be able to identify their own position on the political spectrum.

Specific Language

Learning outcomes should use specific language , and should clearly indicate expectations for student performance.

Vague Outcome : By the end of this course, students will have added to their understanding of the complete research process.

More Precise Outcome : By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • describe the research process in social interventions
  • evaluate critically the quality of research by others
  • formulate research questions designed to test, refine, and build theories
  • identify and demonstrate facility in research designs and data collection strategies that are most appropriate to a particular research project
  • formulate a complete and logical plan for data analysis that will adequately answer the research questions and probe alternative explanations
  • interpret research findings and draw appropriate conclusions

Vague Outcome : By the end of this course, students will have a deeper appreciation of literature and literary movements in general.

  • identify and describe the major literary movements of the 20th century
  • perform close readings of literary texts
  • evaluate a literary work based on selected and articulated standards

For All Levels

Learning outcomes are useful for all levels of instruction, and in a variety of contexts.

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • identify the most frequently encountered endings for nouns, adjectives and verbs, as well as some of the more complicated points of grammar, such as aspect of the verb
  • translate short unseen texts from Czech
  • read basic material relating to current affairs using appropriate reference works, where necessary
  • make themselves understood in basic everyday communicative situations

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • identify key measurement problems involved in the design and evaluation of social interventions and suggest appropriate solutions
  • assess the strengths and weaknesses of alternative strategies for collecting, analyzing and interpreting data from needs analyses and evaluations in direct practice, program and policy interventions
  • identify specific strategies for collaborating with practitioners in developmental projects, formulation of research questions, and selection of designs and measurement tools so as to produce findings usable by practitioners at all levels
  • analyze qualitative data systematically by selecting appropriate interpretive or quantified content analysis strategies
  • evaluate critically current research in social work
  • articulate implications of research findings for explanatory and practice theory development and for practice/program implementation
  • instruct classmates and others in an advanced statistical or qualitative data analysis procedure

By the end of the course you will be able to:

  • identify several learning style models and know how to use these models in your teaching
  • construct and use learning objectives
  • design a course and a syllabus
  • implement the principles of Universal Instructional Design in the design of a course
  • use strategies and instructional methods for effective teaching of small classes and large classes
  • identify the advantages and disadvantages of different assessment methods
  • construct a teaching portfolio

Why Develop Learning Outcomes?

For students:.

  • By focusing on the application of knowledge and skills learned in a course and on the integration of knowledge and skills with other areas of their lives, students are more connected to their learning and to the material of the course.
  • The emphasis on integration and generalizable skills helps students draw connections between courses and other kinds of knowledge, enhancing student engagement.
  • Students understand the conditions and goals of their assessment.

For instructors:

  • Developing learning outcomes allows for reflection on the course content and its potential applications, focusing on the knowledge and skills that will be most valuable to the student now and in the future.
  • Learning outcomes point to useful methods of assessment.
  • Learning outcomes allow instructors to set the standards by which the success of the course will be evaluated.

For institutions and administrators:

  • When an instructor considers the particular course or unit in the context of future coursework and the curriculum as a whole, it  contributes to the development of a coherent curriculum within a decentralized institution and helps to ensure that students are prepared for future work and learning.
  • The application and integration of learning emphasized by learning outcomes reflect and support the contemporary nature and priorities of the university, enhancing student engagement, uncovering opportunities for interdisciplinary, and providing guidance and support for students with many different kinds of previous academic preparation.
  • Learning outcomes provide structures from which courses and programs can be evaluated and can assist in program and curricular design, identify gaps or overlap in program offerings, and clarify instructional, programmatic, and institutional priorities.

Context of Learning

In developing learning outcomes, first consider the context of the learning taking place in the course might include:

  • If the course is part of the major or specialization, what knowledge or skills should students have coming into the course? What knowledge or skills must they have by its conclusion in order to proceed through their program?
  • How can this course contribute to the student’s broad learning and the student’s understanding of other subjects or disciplines?
  • What are the priorities of the department or Faculty? How does the particular focus of the course contribute to those broader goals?
  • Does the course play a particular role within the student’s program (introductory, elective, summative)? How is the course shaped by this role?
  • What knowledge or skills gained in this course will serve students throughout their lives? How will the class shape the student’s general understanding of the world?
  • Which careers commonly stem from education in this field? What are the skills or knowledge essential to these careers?
  • What kinds of work are produced in those careers?
  • How can this course enrich a student’s personal or professional life?
  • Where will the student encounter the subject matter of the course elsewhere in his or her life? In what situations might the knowledge or skills gained in the course be useful to the student?

Tools for Developing Learning Outcomes

The process of developing learning outcomes offers an opportunity for reflection on what is most necessary to help learners gain this knowledge and these skills. Considering the following elements as you prepare your learning outcomes.

To begin the process of developing learning outcomes, it may be useful to brainstorm some key words central to the disciplinary content and skills taught in the course. You may wish to consider the following questions as you develop this list of key words:

  • What are the essential things students must know to be able to succeed in the course?
  • What are the essential things students must be able to do to succeed in the course?
  • What knowledge or skills do students bring to the course that the course will build on?
  • What knowledge or skills will be new to students in the course?
  • What other areas of knowledge are connected to the work of the course?

Scholars working in pedagogy and epistemology offer us taxonomies of learning that can help make learning outcomes more precise. These levels of learning can also help develop assessment and evaluation methods appropriate to the learning outcomes for the course.

Bloom’s Taxonomy and Structure of Observed Learning Outcomes (SOLO) Taxonomy

These three areas can be used to identify and describe different aspects of learning that might take place in a course.

Content can be used to describe the disciplinary information covered in the course. This content might be vital to future work or learning in the area. A learning outcome focused on content might read:

By the end of this course, students will be able recall the 5 major events leading up to the Riel Rebellion and describe their role in initiating the Rebellion.

Skills can refer to the disciplinary or generalizable skills that students should be able to employ by the conclusion of the class. A learning outcome focused on skills might read:

By the end of this course, students will be able to define the characteristics and limitations of historical research.

Values can describe some desired learning outcomes, the attitudes or beliefs imparted or investigated in a particular field or discipline. In particular, value-oriented learning outcomes might focus on ways that knowledge or skills gained in the course will enrich students’ experiences throughout their lives. A learning outcome focused on values might read:

By the end of this course, students will be able to articulate their personal responses to a literary work they have selected independently.

Characteristics of Good Learning Outcomes

Good learning outcomes are very specific , and use active language – and verbs in particular – that make expectations clear and ensure that student and instructor goals in the course are aligned.

Where possible, avoid terms, like understand or demonstrate, that can be interpreted in many ways.

See the Bloom’s Taxonomy resource for a list of useful verbs.

Vague Outcome : By the end of the course, I expect students to increase their organization, writing, and presentation skills.

More precise outcome : By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • produce professional quality writing
  • effectively communicate the results of their research findings and analyses to fellow classmates in an oral presentation

Vague Outcome : By the end of this course, students will be able to use secondary critical material effectively and to think independently.

More precise outcome : By the end of this course, students will be able to evaluate the theoretical and methodological foundations of secondary critical material and employ this evaluation to defend their position on the topic.

Keep in mind, learning outcomes:

  • should be flexible : while individual outcomes should be specific, instructors should feel comfortable adding, removing, or adjusting learning outcomes over the length of a course if initial outcomes prove to be inadequate
  • are focused on the learner: rather than explaining what the instructor will do in the course, good learning outcomes describe knowledge or skills that the student will employ, and help the learner understand why that knowledge and those skills are useful and valuable to their personal, professional, and academic future
  • are realistic , not aspirational: all passing students should be able to demonstrate the knowledge or skill described by the learning outcome at the conclusion of the course. In this way, learning outcomes establish standards for the course
  • focus on the application and integration of acquired knowledge and skills: good learning outcomes reflect and indicate the ways in which the described knowledge and skills may be used by the learner now and in the future
  • indicate useful modes of assessment and the specific elements that will be assessed: good learning outcomes prepare students for assessment and help them feel engaged in and empowered by the assessment and evaluation process
  • offer a timeline for completion of the desired learning

Each assignment, activity, or course might usefully employ between approximately five and ten learning outcomes; this number allows the learning outcomes to cover a variety of knowledge and skills while retaining a focus on essential elements of the course.

  • Speak to the learner : learning outcomes should address what the learner will know or be able to do at the completion of the course
  • Measurable : learning outcomes must indicate how learning will be assessed
  • Applicable : learning outcomes should emphasize ways in which the learner is likely to use the knowledge or skills gained
  • Realistic : all learners who complete the activity or course satisfactorily should be able to demonstrate the knowledge or skills addressed in the outcome
  • Time-bound : the learning outcome should set a deadline by which the knowledge or skills should be acquired;
  • Transparent : should be easily understood by the learner; and
  • Transferable : should address knowledge and skills that will be used by the learner in a wide variety of contexts

The SMART(TT) method of goal setting is adapted from Blanchard, K., & Johnson, S. (1981). The one minute manager. New York: Harper Collins

Assessment: Following Through on Learning Outcomes

Through assessment, learning outcomes can become fully integrated in course design and delivery. Assignments and exams should match the knowledge and skills described in the course’s learning outcomes. A good learning outcome can readily be translated into an assignment or exam question; if it cannot, the learning outcome may need to be refined.

One way to match outcomes with appropriate modes of assessment is to return to Bloom’s Taxonomy . The verbs associated with each level of learning indicate the complexity of the knowledge or skills that students should be asked to demonstrate in an assignment or exam question.

For example, an outcome that asks students to recall key moments leading up to an historical event might be assessed through multiple choice or short answer questions. By contrast, an outcome that asks students to evaluate several different policy models might be assessed through a debate or written essay.

Learning outcomes may also point to more unconventional modes of assessment. Because learning outcomes can connect student learning with its application both within and outside of an academic context, learning outcomes may point to modes of assessment that parallel the type of work that students may produce with the learned knowledge and skills in their career or later in life.

Unit of Instruction (e.g. lecture, activity, exam, course, workshop) and Assessment Examples

Objective : What content or skills will be covered in this instruction?

  • Identification and evaluation of severe weather patterns, use of weather maps

Outcome : What should students know or be able to do as a result of this unit of instruction?

  • By completing this assignment, students will be able to accurately predict severe weather using a standard weather map.

How do you know? : How will you be able to tell that students have achieved this outcome?

  • Student predictions will be compared with historical weather records.

Assessment : What kind of work can students produce to demonstrate this?

  • Based on this standard weather map, please indicate where you would expect to see severe weather in the next 24-hour period. Your results will be compared with historical weather records.
  • Stylistic characteristics and common themes of Modernist literature
  • By the end of this unit, students will be able to identify the stylistic and thematic elements of Modernism.
  • Students will be able to identify a passage from a Modernist novel they have not read.
  • Read this passage. Identify which literary movement it represents and which qualities drew you to that conclusion.

Course, Program, Institution: Connecting Learning Outcomes

Learning outcomes can also be implemented at the program or institutional level to assess student learning over multiple courses, and to monitor whether students have acquired the necessary knowledge and skills at one stage to be able to move onto the next.

Courses that require prerequisites may benefit from identifying a list of outcomes necessary for advancement from one level to another. When this knowledge and these skills are identified as outcomes as opposed to topics, assessment in the first level can directly measure preparation for the next level.

Many major and specialist programs identify a list of discipline-specific and multi-purpose skills, values, and areas of knowledge graduating students in the program will have. By articulating these as things that students will know or be able to do, the benefits of a program of study can be clearly communicated to prospective students, to employers, and to others in the institution.

Athabasca University developed learning outcomes for all its undergraduate major programs. Please see their Anthropology BA learning outcomes as an example.

Academic plans increasingly include a list of learning outcomes that apply across programs of study and even across degree levels. These outcomes provide an academic vision for the institution, serve as guidelines for new programs and programs undergoing review, and communicate to members of the university and the public at large the academic values and goals of the university. As previously discussed, the best learning outcomes address course-specific learning within the context of a student’s broader educational experience. One way to contribute to a coherent learning experience is to align course outcomes, when appropriate, with institutional priorities.

The University of Toronto’s academic plan, Stepping Up: A framework for academic planning at the University of Toronto, 2004-2010, outlines institutional goals in relation to the learning experience of our undergraduate and graduate students. These priorities are further articulated in “Companion Paper 1: Enabling Teaching and Learning and the Student Experience”. The skills outcomes meant to apply to all undergraduate programs follow.

  • knowing what one doesn’t know and how to seek information
  • able to think: that is, to reason inductively and deductively, to analyze and to synthesize, to think through moral and ethical issues, to construct a logical argument with appropriate evidence
  • able to communicate clearly, substantively, and persuasively both orally and in writing
  • able not only to answer questions through research and analysis but to exercise judgment about which questions are worth asking knowledgeable about and committed to standards of intellectual honesty and use of information
  • knowing how to authenticate information, whether it comes from print sources or through new technologies
  • able to collaborate with others from different disciplines in the recognition that multidisciplinary approaches are necessary to address the major issues facing society
  • understanding the methods of scientific inquiry; that is, scientifically literate

Curriculum Mapping: Translating between local and global learning outcomes

At the global program or institutional level, learning outcomes are often necessarily vague to allow for flexibility in their implementation and assessment. Consequently, in order to be effectively applied at the local level of a course or class, they must be reformulated for the particular setting. Similarly, learning outcomes from individual courses may be extrapolated and generalized in order to create program or institution-wide learning outcomes.

Both of these processes are most frequently accomplished through a technique called “curriculum mapping” . When moving from programmatic or institutional to course or class outcomes, curriculum mapping involves identifying which courses, portions of courses, or series of courses fulfill each programmatic or institutional learning outcome.

The global learning outcomes can then be matched with course-specific outcomes that directly address the content and skills required for that particular subject material. Identifying and locating all the learning outcomes encountered by a student over the course of their program can help present learning as a coherent whole to students and others, and can help students make the connection between their learning in one course and that in another. Maki (2004) notes that understanding where particular pieces of learning take place can help students take charge of their own education:

A map reveals the multiple opportunities that students have to make progress on collectively agreed-on learning goals, beginning with their first day on campus. Accompanied by a list of learning outcomes, maps can encourage students to take responsibility for their education as a process of integration and application, not as a checklist of courses and educational opportunities. Maps can also position students to make choices about courses and educational experiences that will contribute to their learning and improve areas of weakness.

For more information about and examples of curriculum mapping, please see Maki, P. (2004). Maps and inventories: Anchoring efforts to track student learning. About Campus 9(4), 2-9.

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Table of Contents

Related topics (tags), related tool guides.

  • Quercus Learning Outcomes

Atlas of Public Management

Characteristics of Good Learning Outcomes

Advice from the university of toronto centre for teaching support & innovation.

Good learning outcomes focus on the application and integration of the knowledge and skills acquired in a particular unit of instruction (e.g. activity, course program, etc.), and emerge from a process of reflection on the essential contents of a course. More specifically, good learning outcomes:

Are very specific , and use active language – and verbs in particular – that make expectations clear. This informs students of the standards by which they will be assessed, and ensures that student and instructor goals in the course are aligned. Where possible, avoid terms like understand, demonstrate, or discuss that can be interpreted in many ways.

Please see [bottom of Describing Learning Outcomes ] of for a list of useful verbs.

VAGUE OUTCOME By the end of the course, I expect students to increase their organization, writing, and presentation skills.

MORE PRECISE OUTCOME By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • produce professional quality writing
  • effectively communicate the results of their research findings and analyses to fellow classmates in an oral presentation

VAGUE OUTCOME By the end of this course, students will be able to use secondary critical material effectively and to think independently.

MORE PRECISE OUTCOME By the end of this course, students will be able to evaluate the theoretical and methodological foundations of secondary critical material and employ this evaluation to defend their position on the topic.

  • Should be flexible : while individual outcomes should be specific, instructors should feel comfortable adding, removing, or adjusting learning outcomes over the length of a course if initial outcomes prove to be inadequate.
  • Are focused on the learner : rather than explaining what the instructor will do in the course, good learning outcomes describe knowledge or skills that the student will employ, and help the learner understand why that knowledge and those skills are useful and valuable to their personal, professional, and academic future.
  • Are realistic , not aspirational: all passing students should be able to demonstrate the knowledge or skill described by the learning outcome at the conclusion of the course. In this way, learning outcomes establish standards for the course.
  • Focus on the application and integration of acquired knowledge and skills: good learning outcomes reflect and indicate the ways in which the described knowledge and skills may be used by the learner now and in the future.
  • Indicate useful modes of assessment and the specific elements that will be assessed: good learning outcomes prepare students for assessment and help them feel engaged in and empowered by the assessment and evaluation process.
  • Offer a timeline for completion of the desired learning.

Each assignment, activity, or course might usefully employ between approximately five and ten learning outcomes; this number allows the learning outcomes to cover a variety of knowledge and skills while retaining a focus on essential elements of the course.

When writing your outcomes, keep in mind…

Learning outcomes should be SMART (TT):

  • SPEAK TO THE LEARNER: learning outcomes should address what the learner will know or be able to do at the completion of the course
  • MEASURABLE: learning outcomes must indicate how learning will be assessed
  • APPLICABLE: learning outcomes should emphasize ways in which the learner is likely to use the knowledge or skills gained
  • REALISTIC: all learners who complete the activity or course satisfactorily should be able to demonstrate the knowledge or skills addressed in the outcome
  • TIME-BOUND: the learning outcome should set a deadline by which the knowledge or skills should be acquired;
  • TRANSPARENT: should be easily understood by the learner; and
  • TRANSFERABLE: should address knowledge and skills that will be used by the learner in a wide variety of contexts

The SMART(TT) method of goal setting is adapted from  Blanchard, K., & Johnson, S. (1981). The one minute manager. New York: Harper Collin

Source: http://teaching.utoronto.ca/teaching-support/course-design/developing-learning-outcomes/characteristics-of-good-learning-outcomes/ , accessed 15 December 2015.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified on 15 December 2015.

Image: CTSI home page on 15 December 2015.

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  • Jan 3, 2024

Learning outcomes in teaching

Learning outcomes in teaching refer to specific, measurable statements that articulate what students are expected to know, understand, or be able to do after completing a course, module, or lesson. They serve as clear benchmarks for educators, providing a framework to design curriculum, assessments, and instructional strategies. Learning outcomes offer students a transparent view of what is expected of them and what they can expect to gain from their educational experience. They play a vital role in assessing and evaluating a student’s progress and achievement in a structured and objective manner. In this blog, you will learn the types of learning outcomes, how to write learning outcomes, characteristics, and more. 

This Blog Includes:

Types of learning outcomes in teaching, why develop learning outcomes in teaching, start with an action verb, specify the performance, include the condition (if necessary), state the criteria for success, consider the student and level, align with course objectives and goals, ensure measurability, prioritize key concepts and skills, revise and review, characteristics of good learning outcomes in teaching.

There are 5 types of learning outcomes in teaching: 

  • Intellectual Skills: These refer to the ability of a student to apply critical thinking, analysis, and problem-solving in a particular subject or context. It involves the capacity to reason, evaluate evidence, make judgments, and generate creative solutions.
  • Cognitive Strategies: This type of learning outcome pertains to the techniques and methods students employ to acquire, retain, and retrieve information. It encompasses skills such as effective study habits, memory strategies, and techniques for processing and organizing information.
  • Verbal Information: This involves the acquisition and comprehension of knowledge presented in written or spoken form. It includes understanding and recalling facts, concepts, theories, and other information that can be communicated through language.
  • Motor Skills: Motor skills refer to the physical abilities and coordination required to perform specific tasks or activities. This type of learning outcome is often relevant in fields like sports, fine arts, or any discipline that involves hands-on, practical application.
  • Attitude: Attitude-based learning outcomes focus on the development of a student’s values, beliefs, and perspectives. It encompasses qualities like ethical reasoning, cultural sensitivity, teamwork , and adaptability, which are essential for personal and professional growth.

Also Read: How to Become a Cognitive Psychologist?

Developing learning outcomes in Teaching is beneficial because of the following reasons: 

  • Clarifies Goals and Expectations: Learning outcomes provide a clear and specific description of what students are expected to achieve by the end of a course or educational program. This clarity helps both educators and students understand the intended goals of the learning experience.
  • Guides Curriculum Design: Outcomes serve as a framework for designing the curriculum. They help educators select appropriate content, instructional methods, and assessment strategies that align with the desired learning objectives.
  • Informs Assessment Practices: Learning outcomes guide the creation of assessments, ensuring that they accurately measure whether students have achieved the intended goals. This leads to more meaningful and reliable assessments.
  • Promotes Accountability: Clearly defined outcomes hold educators accountable for their teaching practices. They provide a basis for evaluating the effectiveness of instruction and identifying areas for improvement.
  • Facilitates Communication: Learning outcomes provide a common language for educators, students, and stakeholders to discuss and understand the purpose and value of a course or program. This promotes effective communication and collaboration.
  • Supports Program Evaluation: Learning outcomes are essential for assessing the overall effectiveness of an educational program. They enable institutions to measure student achievement and make informed decisions about program improvements.
  • Ensures Alignment with Educational Goals: Learning outcomes help ensure that individual courses or modules align with the broader educational goals and mission of an institution. This coherence contributes to a cooperative and cohesive educational experience for students.

Also Read: Communication Skills For Professionals

How to Write Learning Outcomes in Teaching?

Writing effective learning outcomes is important for guiding instruction and assessing a student’s achievement. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to write learning outcomes in teaching:

Begin each learning outcome with a clear and specific action verb that describes what the learner will be able to do. Use verbs like “demonstrate,” “analyze,” “create,” “apply,” etc. This sets the tone for the expected performance.

Clearly state what the student is expected to perform. This should be observable and measurable. Avoid vague or subjective terms.

Sometimes, you may need to specify the conditions under which the performance is expected. For example, “Given a set of data” or “Using a specific software program.”

Describe how well the student must perform to meet the desired outcome. This could involve accuracy, speed, quality, or other relevant criteria.

Change the learning outcome to the level of the students and their prior knowledge. Ensure that it’s appropriate for their developmental stage or educational level.

Ensure that the learning outcome supports the broader goals of the course or program. It should contribute to the overall educational objectives.

Learning outcomes should be measurable so that you can assess whether they have been achieved. This might involve assessments, tests, projects, or observations.

Focus on the most important concepts or skills that you want students to gain from the learning experience.

Take time to review and refine your learning outcomes. Seek feedback from colleagues or educational experts to ensure they are correct.

Also Read: How to Become a Teacher?

Here are the characteristics of good learning outcomes in teaching:

  • Realistic within the given context and resources
  • Aligned with the overall goals and objectives of the course or program
  • Associated with a clear timeline or deadline for achievement
  • Easily understood and stated in a straightforward manner
  • Focus on what the student will gain or be able to do
  • Describe what the student will demonstrate or perform
  • Match the cognitive or skill level of the students
  • Connect directly to the evaluation methods used
  • Allow for adaptation based on individual student needs and abilities
  • Have practical value and relevance beyond the classroom

Find more informative blogs for teachers below:

Learning outcomes in teaching refer to specific, measurable statements that articulate what students are expected to know, understand, or be able to do after completing a course, module, or lesson.

There are 5 types of learning outcomes in teaching.

Here are the characteristics: 1. Realistic within the given context and resources 2. Aligned with the overall goals and objectives of the course or program 3. Associated with a clear timeline or deadline for achievement 4. Easily understood and stated in a straightforward manner

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Damanpreet Kaur Vohra

Daman is a creative and enthusiastic writer who loves to create well researched and impactful content for students willing to pursue higher studies abroad, from universities, courses and exams to writing fun blogs for students abroad.

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What are the key elements of a positive learning environment? Perspectives from students and faculty

Shayna a. rusticus.

Department of Psychology, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, 12666 72 Ave, Surrey, BC V3W 2M8 Canada

Tina Pashootan

The learning environment comprises the psychological, social, cultural and physical setting in which learning occurs and has an influence on student motivation and success. The purpose of the present study was to explore qualitatively, from the perspectives of both students and faculty, the key elements of the learning environment that supported and hindered student learning. We recruited a total of 22 students and 9 faculty to participate in either a focus group or an individual interview session about their perceptions of the learning environment at their university. We analyzed the data using a directed content analysis and organized the themes around the three key dimensions of personal development, relationships, and institutional culture. Within each of these dimensions, we identified subthemes that facilitated or impeded student learning and faculty work. We also identified and discussed similarities in subthemes identified by students and faculty.

Introduction

The learning environment (LE) comprises the psychological, social, cultural, and physical setting in which learning occurs and in which experiences and expectations are co-created among its participants (Rusticus et al., 2020 ; Shochet et al., 2013 ). These individuals, who are primarily students, faculty and staff, engage in this environment and the learning process as they navigate through their personal motivations and emotions and various interpersonal interactions. This all takes place within a physical setting that consists of various cultural and administrative norms (e.g. school policies).

While many studies of the LE have focused on student perspectives (e.g. Cayubit, 2021 ; Schussler et al., 2021 ; Tharani et al., 2017 ), few studies have jointly incorporated the perspectives of students and faculty. Both groups are key players within the educational learning environment. Some exceptions include researchers who have used both instructor and student informants to examine features of the LE in elementary schools (Fraser & O’Brien, 1985 ; Monsen et al., 2014 ) and in virtual learning and technology engaged environments in college (Annansingh, 2019 ; Downie et al., 2021 ) Other researchers have examined perceptions of both groups, but in ways that are not focused on understanding the LE (e.g. Bolliger & Martin, 2018 ; Gorham & Millette, 1997 ; Midgly et al., 1989 ).

In past work, LEs have been evaluated on the basis of a variety of factors, such as students’ perceptions of the LE have been operationalized as their course experiences and evaluations of teaching (Guo et al., 2021 ); level of academic engagement, skill development, and satisfaction with learning experience (Lu et al., 2014 ); teacher–student and student–peer interactions and curriculum (Bolliger & Martin, 2018 ; Vermeulen & Schmidt, 2008 ); perceptions of classroom personalization, involvement, opportunities for and quality of interactions with classmates, organization of the course, and how much instructors make use of more unique methods of teaching and working (Cayubit, 2021 ). In general, high-quality learning environments are associated with positive outcomes for students at all levels. For example, ratings of high-quality LEs have been correlated with outcomes such as increased satisfaction and motivation (Lin et al., 2018 ; Rusticus et al., 2014 ; Vermeulen & Schmidt, 2008 ), higher academic performance (Lizzio et al., 2002 ; Rusticus et al., 2014 ), emotional well-being (Tharani et al., 2017 ), better career outcomes such as satisfaction, job competencies, and retention (Vermeulen & Schmidt, 2008 ) and less stress and burnout (Dyrbye et al., 2009 ). From teacher perspectives, high-quality LEs have been defined in terms of the same concepts and features as those used to evaluate student perspective and outcomes. For example, in one quantitative study, LEs were rated as better by students and teachers when they were seen as more inclusive (Monsen et al., 2014 ).

However, LEs are diverse and can vary depending on context and, although many elements of the LE that have been identified, there has been neither a consistent nor clear use of theory in assessing those key elements (Schönrock-Adema et al., 2012 ). One theory that has been recommended by Schönrock-Adema et al. ( 2012 ) to understand the LE is Moos’ framework of human environments (Insel & Moos, 1974 ; Moos, 1973 , 1991 ). Through his study of a variety of human environments (e.g. classrooms, psychiatric wards, correctional institutions, military organizations, families), Moos proposed that all environments have three key dimensions: (1) personal development/goal direction, (2) relationships, and (3) system maintenance/change. The personal development dimension encompasses the potential in the environment for personal growth, as well as reflecting the emotional climate of the environment and contributing to the development of self-esteem. The relationship dimension encompasses the types and quality of social interactions that occur within the environment, and it reflects the extent to which individuals are involved in the environment and the degree to which they interact with, and support, each other. The system maintenance/change dimension encompasses the degree of structure, clarity and openness to change that characterizes the environment, as well as reflecting physical aspects of the environment.

We used this framework to guide our research question: What do post-secondary students and faculty identify as the positive and negative aspects of the learning environment? Through the use of a qualitative methodology to explore the LE, over the more-typical survey-based approaches, we were able to explore this topic in greater depth, to understand not only the what, but also the how and the why of what impacts the LE. Furthermore, in exploring the LE from both the student and faculty perspectives, we highlight similarities and differences across these two groups and garner an understanding of how both student and faculty experience the LE.

Participants

All participants were recruited from a single Canadian university with three main campuses where students can attend classes to obtain credentials, ranging from a one-year certificate to a four-year undergraduate degree. Approximately 20,000 students attend each year. The student sample was recruited through the university’s subject pool within the psychology department. The faculty sample was recruited through emails sent out through the arts faculty list-serve and through direct recruitment from the first author.

The student sample was comprised of 22 participants, with the majority being psychology majors ( n  = 10), followed by science majors ( n  = 4) and criminology majors ( n  = 3). Students spanned all years of study with seven in their first year, three in second year, five in third year, six in fourth year, and one unclassified. The faculty sample consisted of nine participants (6 male, 3 female). Seven of these participants were from the psychology department, one was from the criminology department and one was from educational studies. The teaching experience of faculty ranged from 6 to 20 years.

Interview schedule and procedure

We collected student data through five focus groups and two individual interviews. The focus groups ranged in size from two to six participants. All sessions occurred in a private meeting room on campus and participants were provided with food and beverages, as well as bonus credit. Each focus group/interview ranged from 30 to 60 min. We collected all faculty data through individual interviews ranging from 30 to 75 min. Faculty did not receive any incentives for their participation. All sessions were conducted by the first author, with the second author assisting with each of the student focus groups.

With the consent of each participant, we audio-recorded each session and transcribed them verbatim. For both samples, we used a semi-structured interview format involving a set of eight open-ended questions about participants’ overall perceptions of the LE at their institution (see Appendix for interview guide). These questions were adapted from a previous study conducted by the first author (Rusticus et al., 2020 ) and focused on how participants defined the LE, what they considered to be important elements of the LE, and their positive and negative experiences within their environment. Example questions were: “Can you describe a [negative/positive] learning [students]/teaching [faculty] experience that you have had?”.

We analyzed the data using a directed content analysis approach (Hsieh & Shannon, 2005 ) that used existing theory to develop the initial coding scheme. We used Moos’s (Insel & Moos, 1974 ; Moos, 1973 , 1991 ) framework and its three dimensions of personal development, relationships, and system maintenance/change to guide our analysis. During the analysis phase, we renamed the system maintenance/change dimension to ‘institutional setting’ as we felt it was more descriptive of, and better represented, the content of this theme.

We analyzed student and faculty data separately, starting with the student data, but used the same process for both. First, we randomly selected two transcripts. We each independently coded the first transcript using the broad themes of personal development, relationships and institutional setting, and developed subcodes within each of these themes, as needed. We then reviewed and discussed our codes, reaching consensus on any differences in coding. We then repeated this process for the second transcript and, through group discussions, created a codebook. The first author then coded the remaining transcripts.

When coding the faculty data, we aimed to maintain subcodes similar to the student data while allowing for flexibility when needed. For instance, within the personal development theme, a subcode for the student data was ‘engagement with learning’, whereas a parallel subcode for the faculty data was ‘engagement with teaching’.

We present the results of the student and faculty data separately. For both, we have organized our analysis around the three overarching themes of personal development, relationships and institutional setting.

Student perspectives of the learning environment

Personal development.

Personal development was defined as any motivation either within or outside the LE that provide students with encouragement, drive, and direction for their personal growth and achievement. Within this theme, there were two subthemes: engaging with learning and work-life balance.

Engagement with learning reflected a student’s desire and ability to participate in their learning, as opposed to a passive-learning approach. Students felt more engaged when they were active learners, as well as when they perceived the material to be relevant to their career goals or real-world applications. Students also said that having opportunities to apply their learning helped them to better understand their own career paths:

I had two different instructors and both of them were just so open and engaging and they shared so many personal stories and they just seemed so interested in what they were doing and what I was like. Wow, I want to be that. I want to be interested in what I’m learning. (G6P1)

A common complaint that negatively impacted student motivation was that instructors would lecture for the entire class without supporting materials or opportunities for students to participate.

I’ve had a couple professors who just don’t have any visuals at all. All he does is talk. So, for the whole three hours, we would just be scrambling to write down the notes. It’s brutal...(G7P2)

Trying to establish a healthy work-life balance and managing the demands of their courses, often in parallel with managing work and family demands, were key challenges for students and were often sources of stress and anxiety. For instance, one student spoke about her struggles in meeting expectations:

It was a tough semester. For the expectations that I had placed on myself, I wasn’t meeting them and it took a toll on me. But now I know that I can exceed my expectations, but you really have to try and work hard for it. (G6P1)

Achieving a good work-life balance and adjusting to university life takes time. Many students commented that, as they reached their third year of study, they felt more comfortable in the school environment. Unfortunately, students also noted that the mental and emotional toll of university life can lead to doubt about the future and a desire to leave. One student suggested more support for students to help with this adjustment:

I think school should give students more service to help them to overcome the pressure and make integration into the first year and second year quicker and faster. Maybe it’s very helpful for the new students. (G7P4)

Relationships

Relationships was the second dimension of the LE. Subthemes within this dimension included: faculty support, peer interaction, and group work. Most students commented on the impact that faculty had on their learning. Faculty support included creating a safe or unsafe space in the classroom (i.e. ability to ask questions without judgement, fostering a respectful atmosphere), providing additional learning material, accommodating requests, or simply listening to students. Students generally indicated that faculty at this university were very willing to offer extra support and genuinely cared for them and their education. Faculty were described as friendly and approachable, and their relationships with students were perceived as “egalitarian”.

I think feeling that you’re safe in that environment, that anything you pose or any questions that you may have, you’re free to ask. And without being judged. And you’ll get an answer that actually helps you. (G1P4)

While most students felt welcome and comfortable in their classes, a few students spoke about negative experiences that they had because of lack of faculty support. Students cited examples of professors “shutting down” questions, saying that a question was “stupid”, refusing requests for additional help, or interrupting them while speaking. Another student felt that the inaction of faculty sometimes contributed to a negative atmosphere:

I’ve had bad professors that just don't listen to any comment or, if you suggest something to improve it which may seem empirically better, they still shut you down! That’s insane. (G2P2)

The peer interactions subtheme referred to any instances when students could interact with other students; this occurred both in and out of the classroom. Most often, students interacted with their peers during a class or because of an assignment:

I think the way the class is structured really helps you build relationships with your peers. For example, I met S, we had several classes with each other. Those classes were more proactive and so it allowed us to build a relationship… I think that’s very important because we’re going to be in the same facility for a long time and to have somebody to back you up, or to have someone to study with…”. (G1P4)

However, other students felt that they lacked opportunities to interact with peers in class. Although a few participants stated that they felt the purpose of going to school was to get a degree, rather than to socialize with others, students wanted more opportunities to interact with peers.

The final subtheme, group work, was a very common activity at this school. The types of group work in which students engaged included classroom discussions, assignments/projects, and presentations. Many students had enjoyable experiences working in groups, noting that working together helped them to solve problems and create something that was better than one individual’s work. Even though sometimes doing the work itself was a negative experience, people still saw value in group work:

Some of the best memories I’ve ever had was group work and the struggles we've had. (G2P2) I don’t like group work but it taught me a lot, I’ve been able to stay friends and be able to connect with people that I’ve had a class with in 2nd year psych all the way up till now. I think that’s very valuable. (G6P1)

Almost all students who spoke about group work also talked about negative aspects or experiences they had. When the work of a group made up a large proportion of the final grade, students sometimes would have preferred to be evaluated individually. Students disliked when they worked in groups when members were irresponsible or work was not shared equally, and they were forced to undertake work that other students were not completing.

A lot of people don’t really care, or they don’t take as much responsibility as you. I think people have different goals and different ways of working, so sometimes I find that challenging. (G7P2)

Institutional setting

The third overarching theme was the institutional setting. Broadly, this theme refers to the physical structure, expectations, and the overall culture of the environment and was composed of two key subthemes: importance of small class sizes; and the lack of a sense of community.

Small class sizes, with a maximum of 35 students, were a key reason why many students chose to come to this institution. The small classes created an environment in which students and faculty were able to get to know one another more personally; students felt that they were known as individuals, not just as numbers. They also noted that this promoted greater feelings of connectedness to the class environment, more personalized attention, and opportunities to request reference letters in the future:

My professors know my name. Not all of them that I’m having for the first time ever, but they try… That means a lot to me. (G6P4)

Several students also said that having smaller class sizes helped them to do well in their courses. The extra attention encouraged them to perform better academically, increased their engagement with their material, and made them feel more comfortable in asking for help.

Having a sense of belonging was a key feature of the environment and discussions around a sense of community (or lack thereof) was a prominent theme among the students. Students generally agreed that the overall climate of the school is warm and friendly. However, many students referred to the institution as a “commuter school”, because there are no residencies on campus and students must commute to the school. This often resulted in students attending their classes and then leaving immediately after, contributing to a lack of community life on campus.

What [other schools] have is that people live on campus. I think that plays a huge role. We can’t ignore that we are a commuter school… They have these events and people go because they’re already there and you look at that and it seems to be fun and engaging. (G4P1)

Furthermore, students commented on a lack of campus areas that supported socialization and encouraged students to remain on campus. While there were events and activities that were regularly hosted at the school, students had mixed opinions about them. Some students attended the events and found them personally beneficial. Other students stated that, although many events and activities were available, turnout was often low:

There isn’t any hanging out after campus and you can even see in-events and in-event turnout for different events… It is like pulling teeth to get people to come out to an event… There are free food and fun music and really cool stuff. But, no one’s going to go. It’s sad. (G5P1)

Faculty perspectives on the learning environment

Similar to the student findings, faculty data were coded within the three overarching themes of personal development, relationships, and institutional setting.

Personal development reflected any motivation either within or outside the LE that provided faculty with the encouragement, drive, and direction for their personal growth and engagement with teaching. Within this dimension, there were two main subthemes: motivation to teach and emotional well-being.

As with any career, there are many positive and negative motivating factors that contribute to one’s involvement in their work. Faculty generally reported feeling passionate about their work, and recounted positive experiences they have had while teaching, both personally and professionally. While recollecting positive drives throughout their career, one instructor shared:

It’s [teaching in a speciality program] allowed me to teach in a very different way than the traditional classroom… I’ve been able to translate those experiences into conferences, into papers, into connections, conversations with others that have opened up really interesting dialogues…. (8M)

Faculty also reported that receiving positive feedback from students or getting to see their students grow over time was highly motivating:

I take my teaching evaluations very seriously and I keep hearing that feedback time and time again they feel safe. They feel connected, they feel listened too, they feel like I'm there for them. I think, you know, those are the things that let me know what I'm doing is achieving the goals that I have as an educator. (1F) Being able to watch [students] grow over time is very important to me… I always try to have a few people I work with and see over the course of their degree. So, when they graduate, you know I have a reason to be all misty-eyed. (2M)

Emotional well-being related to how different interactions, primarily with students, affected instructors’ mental states. Sometimes the emotional well-being of faculty was negatively affected by the behaviour of students. One instructor spoke about being concerned when students drop out of a class:

A student just this last semester was doing so well, but then dropped off the face of the earth… I felt such a disappointing loss… So, when that happens, I'm always left with those questions about what I could have done differently. Maybe, at the end of the day, there is nothing I could've done, nothing. It's a tragedy or something's happened in their life or I don't know. But those unanswered questions do concern-- they cause me some stress or concern. (1F)

Another instructor said that, while initially they had let the students’ behaviour negatively affect their well-being, over time, they had eventually become more apathetic.

There are some who come, leave after the break. Or they do not come, right, or come off and on. Previously I was motivated to ask them ‘what is your problem?’ Now I do not care. That is the difference which has happened. I do not care. (4M)

This dimension included comments related to interactions with other faculty and with students and consisted of three subthemes: faculty supporting faculty; faculty supporting students; and creating meaningful experiences for students.

Most faculty felt that it was important to be supported by, and supportive to, their colleagues. For instance, one instructor reported that their colleagues’ helpfulness inspired them to be supportive of others:

If I was teaching a new course, without me having to go and beg for resources or just plead and hope that someone might be willing to share, my experience was that the person who last taught the course messaged me and said let me know if anything I have will be useful to you… When people are willing to do that for you, then you’re willing to do that for someone else….(7M)

Many faculty members also spoke about the importance of having supportive relationships with students, and that this would lead to better learning outcomes:

If you don't connect with your students, you're not going to get them learning much. They're not; they're just going to tune out. So, I think, I think connection is critical to having a student not only trust in the learning environment, but also want to learn from the learning environment. (3M)

Facilitating an open, inviting space in the classroom and during their office hours, where students were comfortable asking questions, was one way that faculty tried to help students succeed. Faculty also spoke about the value of having close mentorship relationships with students:

I work with them a lot and intensively…and their growth into publishing, presenting, and seeing them get recognized and get jobs on their way out and so forth are extraordinary. So, being able to watch them grow over time is very important to me. (2M)

Faculty also noted that occasionally there were instances when students wanted exceptions to be made for them which can create tensions in the environment. One instructor spoke about the unfairness of those requests arguing that students need to be accountable to themselves:

The failure rate, …it was 43%. I do not know if there is any other course in which there is a 43% failure rate. So, I do not want to fail these students, why? Instructors want these students to pass, these are my efforts […], and there are also the efforts of these students and their money, right? But, if a student doesn’t want to pass himself or herself, I cannot pass this student, that’s it. (4M)

Faculty were generally motivated to provide memorable and engaging experiences for students. These included providing practical knowledge and opportunities to apply knowledge in real-world settings, field schools, laboratory activities, group discussions, guest speakers, field trips, videos and group activities. They were often willing to put in extra effort if it meant that students would have a better educational experience.

Creating meaningful experiences for students was also meaningful for faculty. One faculty member said that faculty felt amazing when the methods that they used in their courses were appreciated by students. Another faculty member noted:

This student who was in my social psychology class, who was really bright and kind of quirky, would come to my office, twice a week, and just want to talk about psychology … That was like a really satisfying experience for me to see someone get so sparked by the content. (9F)

This third theme refers to the physical structure, expectation, and overall culture of the environment and it consisted of two subthemes: the importance of small class sizes, and the lack of a sense of community.

The majority of the faculty indicated that the small class sizes are an integral feature of the LE. The key advantage of the small classes was that they allowed greater connection with students.

Your professor knows your name. That’s a huge difference from other schools. It’s a small classroom benefit. (6F)

Similar to the students, nearly all the faculty indicated that a sense of community at the institution was an important part of the environment, and something that was desired, but it currently was lacking. They spoke about various barriers which prevent a sense of community, such as the lack of residences, a dearth of events and activities at the university, the busy schedules of faculty and students, the commuter nature of the school, and characteristics of the student population:

When I complain about the commuter campus feeling that occurs with students, we suffer from that too at a faculty level… People are just not in their offices because we work from home… And that really also affects the culture… We come in. We do our thing. We meet with students. And then we leave… I encounter so many students in the hallway who are looking for instructors and they can’t find them. (9F)

These findings have provided insight into the perspectives of both students and faculty on the LE of a Canadian undergraduate university. We found that framing our analysis and results within Moos’ framework of human environments (Insel & Moos, 1974 ; Moos, 1973 , 1991 ) was an appropriate lens for the data and that the data fit well within these three themes. This provides support for the use of this theory to characterize the educational LE. Within each of these dimensions, we discuss subthemes that both facilitated and hindered student learning and commonalities among student and faculty perspectives.

Within the personal development dimension, both students and faculty discussed the importance of engagement and/or motivation as a facilitator of a positive LE. When students were engaged with their learning, most often by being an active participant or seeing the relevance of what they were learning, they saw it as a key strength. Other studies have also identified engagement as a feature of positive LEs for populations such as high-school students (Seidel, 2006 ), nursing students (D’Souza et al., 2013 ) and college students taking online courses (e.g. Holley & Dobson, 2008 ; O’Shea et al., 2015 ). Faculty who reported being motivated to teach, often felt that this motivation was fueled by the reactions of their students; when students were engaged, they felt more motivated. This creates a positive cyclic pattern in which one group feeds into the motivation and engagement levels of the other. However, this can also hinder the LE when a lack of engagement in one group can bring down the motivation of the other group (such as students paying more attention to their phones than to a lecture or faculty lecturing for the entire class period).

Emotional climate was another subtheme within the personal development dimension that was shared by both students and faculty although, for students, this was focused more on the stress and anxiety that they felt trying to manage their school workloads with their work and family commitments. The overall emotional climate of the school was generally considered to be positive, which was largely driven by the supportive and welcoming environment provided by the faculty. However, it was the negative emotions of stress and anxiety that often surfaced as a challenging aspect in the environment for students. Past research suggests that some types of stress, such as from a challenge, can improve learning and motivation, but negative stress, such as that reported by our participants, is associated with worsened performance and greater fatigue (LePine et al., 2004 ).

For faculty, their emotional state was often influenced by their students. When things were going well for their students, faculty often shared in the joy; however, when students would disappear without notice from a class, it was a source of disappointment and self-doubt. For other faculty, the accumulation of negative experiences resulted in them being more distant and less affected emotionally than they had been earlier in their career. This diminishing concern could have implications for how engaged faculty are in their teaching, which could in turn influence student engagement and harm the LE.

The relationships dimension was the most influential aspect of the environment for both students and faculty. While both groups felt that the relationships that they formed were generally positive, they also reported a desire for more peer connections (i.e. students with other students and faculty with other faculty). Students commented that it was a typical experience for them to come to campus to attend their classes and then leave afterwards, often to work or study at home. Many of the students at this school attend on a part-time basis while they work part- or full-time and/or attend to family commitments. While this is a benefit to these students to have the flexibility to work and further their education, it comes at loss of the social aspect of post-secondary education.

The one way in which student–peer relationships were fostered was through group work. However, students held both positive and negative views on this: the positive aspect was the opportunity to get to know other students and being able to share the burden of the workload, and the negative aspect was being unfair workloads among team members. When group dynamics are poor, such as unfair work distribution, having different goals and motivations, or not communicating effectively with their groups, it has been shown to lead to negative experiences (Rusticus & Justus, 2019 ).

Faculty also commented that it was typical for them and other faculty to come up to campus only to teach their classes and then leave afterwards. They noted that their office block was often empty and noted instances when students have come looking for faculty only to find a locked office. Overall, faculty did report feeling congenial with, and supported by, their peers. They also desired a greater connection with their peers, but noted that it would require effort to build, which many were not willing to make.

Finally, student–faculty relationships were the most-rewarding experience for both groups. Students saw these experiences as highly encouraging and felt that they created a safe and welcoming environment where they could approach faculty to ask questions and get extra support. However, in some cases, students had negative experiences with faculty and these had an impact on their self-esteem, motivation and willingness to participate in class. Students’ negative experiences and feedback have been shown to result in declined levels of intrinsic motivation, even if their performance ability is not low (Weidinger et al., 2016 ).

Within the third dimension, institutional setting, a key strength was the small class sizes. With a maximum class size of 35 students, this created a more personal and welcoming environment for students. Students felt that their instructors got to know their names and this promoted more opportunities for interactions. Faculty concurred with this, indicating that the small classes provided greater opportunities for interactions with their students. This enabled more class discussions and grouped-based activities which contributed to a more engaging and interactive educational experience for students and faculty. For students, not being able to hide in the crowd of a large lecture hall, as is common in other university settings, encouraged them to work harder on their studies and to seek help from their instructor if needed.

Finally, both students and faculty commented that the lack of a sense of community was a negative aspect of the LE. This institution is known as a commuter school and both groups reported that they would often attend campus only for school/work and would leave as soon as their commitments were done. This limits opportunities to interact with others and could also potentially impact one’s identity as a member of this community. While both groups expressed a desire for more of a community life, neither group was willing to put in much effort to make this happen. Others have also found that sense of community, including opportunities to engage and interact with others, is important in LEs (e.g. Sadera et al., 2009 ). Schools with more activities and opportunities for student involvement have reports of higher satisfaction for both academic and social experiences (Charles et al., 2016 ).

Limitations

Because this study is based on a relatively small sample at a single university, there is a question of whether the findings can be applied to other departments, universities or contexts. However, it is a strength of this study that both student and faculty perceptions were included, because few past studies have jointly looked at these two groups together using qualitative methods. The use of focus groups among the student groups might have limited the openness of some participants. We also acknowledge that the analysis of qualitative data is inevitably influenced by our roles, life experiences and backgrounds. (The first author is a faculty member and the second and third authors were fourth year students at the time of the study.) This might have impacted our approach to the interpretation of the data compared with how others might approach the data and analysis (Denzin & Lincoln, 2008 ). However, the analysis involved consultation among the research team to identify and refine the themes, and the findings are presented with quotes to support the interpretation. Finally, because experiences were self-reported in this study, they have the associated limitations of self-report data. Despite these limitations, we believe that our findings add to what is known about LEs by capturing multiple perspectives within the same environment.

Future directions

Because our sample was comprised of students across multiple years of their program, some of our findings suggest that upper-level students might have different perceptions of the LE from lower-level students (e.g. work/life balance, access to resources, and overall familiarity with the environment and resources available). However, because the small sample sizes within these subgroups prevent any strong conclusions being made, future researchers might want to explore year-of-study differences in the LE. Additionally, the data collected for this study occurred prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and the mandatory switch to online teaching and learning. Future researchers might want to consider how this has impacted student and faculty perceptions of the LE regarding their personal motivation, the nature and quality of the relationships that have formed with peers and faculty, and the culture and norms of their institution.

This study increases our understanding of LEs by incorporating data collected from both students and faculty working in the same context. Across both groups, we identified important aspects of the LE as being high levels of engagement and motivation, a positive emotional climate, support among peers, strong faculty–student relationships, meaningful experiences, and small class sizes. Students identified negative aspects of the LE, such as certain characteristics of group work and struggles with work–life balance. Both faculty and students identified a lack of a sense of community as something that could detract from the LE. These findings identify important elements that educators and researchers might want to consider as they strive to promote more-positive LEs and learning experiences for students.

Appendix: Interview guide

[Faculty] Tell me a little bit about yourself. For instance, what department you are in, how long you have been teaching at KPU, what courses you teach, why you were interested in this study

  • When I say the word learning environment, what does that mean to you?
  • Probe for specific examples
  • Relate to goal development, relationships, KPU culture
  • Probe for factors that made it a positive environment
  • Probe for factors that made it a negative environment
  • How would you describe an ideal environment?
  • Probe for reasons why
  • Probe for how KPU could be made more ideal
  • What recommendations would you give to the Dean of Arts regarding the learning environment? This could be changes you would recommend or things you recommend should stay the same.
  • Do you have any final comments? Or feel there is anything about the learning environment that we have not addressed?

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

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Specification of Student Learning Outcomes

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What are student learning outcomes, characteristics of good and bad slos, before you write, writing measurable outcomes - abcd method, additional resources.

Student learning and development outcomes (SLOs) are the foundation for everything we do with respect to assessment and program development; every step in the cycle that follows presumes the existence of clear, measureable outcomes that are meaningful  to stakeholders.  During this step of the process, you will need to consider questions such as:

  • What are  the most important things  you would like students to gain as a result of your program? How would you like students to change?
  • What does research suggest about student learning in this area? Are your outcomes feasible and appropriate?
  • What is the mission or strategic plan for your department or university? Do your program SLOs align with these goals?

Step 1

What Are Student Learning Outcomes?

Assessment terminology can be confusing.  The definitions below help distinguish between terms often used when describing student learning outcomes assessment.

Mission - the central purpose of an office, department, or university.     Example - The Health Center at Dolly Madison University exists to help students lead healthy and productive lives.

Goal - a broad and general expectation for students' skills or abilities.     Example - After completing the Health Education program, students will possess basic health knowledge.

Outcome (also known as an objective) - a precise statement of what students will know, think, or be able to do as result of purposeful programming.      Example - After completing the Health Education program, students will be able to describe the 5 dimensions of wellness.

Assessment Instrument (also known as a scale or measure) - a measurement tool used to evaluate the degree to which students or other participants possess particular abilities, skills, knowledge, or characteristics/attributes.     Example - The Student Wellness Knowledge Scale

The terms above, while distinct, are intimately connected (as illustrated in the figure below). More specifically,

  • Departmental goals should ideally reflect the broader mission of the department and university.
  • SLOs should ideally align with departmental goals.
  • Assessment instruments then evaluate the learning articulated in specific SLOs.

Mission and Outcome

Characteristics of Student Learning Outcomes

High-quality SLOs have the following four characteristics:

Student Oriented: SLOs should reflect the knowledge, attitudes, and skills students are expected to gain as a result of participating in a program. SLOs should not outline the programming students will receive or summarize what a facilitator will cover; that is the next step of the assessment cycle. The focus of SLOs is on the student and their learning.

Good Example

As a result of completing Transfer Student Orientation, incoming transfer students will be able to list 4 academic resources on campus.

Bad Example

Facilitators will deliver a presentation about academic resources on campus. (Focuses on what the facilitator will do, not what students will learn.)

Students will play "Academic Resource Jeopardy" where they will be exposed to academic resources on campus. (Focuses on what students will experience, not what they will learn as a result of that experience.)

Reasonable: SLOs should be reasonable given the length and strength of the planned program. To determine what is reasonable, it may be helpful to consult relevant literature. As a rule of thumb, knowledge-based outcomes are much easier to impact than attitudinal, developmental, or behavioral outcomes.

As a result of completing a 30-minute session on academic resources during Transfer Student Orientation, incoming transfer students will be able to list 4 academic resources on campus.

As a result of completing a 30-minute session on academic resources during Transfer Student Orientation, incoming transfer students will be able to list all (31) academic resources on campus. (It will likely take more than a single 30-minute intervention to remember all resources.)

Measurable: The knowledge, attitudes, and/or behaviors specified in SLOs must be measurable. In other words, we must be able to directly observe something (e.g., an item response, an essay, a behavior, etc.) that indicates the outcome has been met.   Avoid using vague words such as "know" or "understand" that do not suggest observable behaviors. Instead, pick more specific action verbs like those found here (on page 2).

As a result of completing Transfer Student Orientation, incoming transfer students will know about academic resources on campus. ("Know" is vague; how will we be able to tell that students "know" about academic resources?)

Define Success: SLOs should appropriately define success. In other words, how will you know when the outcome has been achieved? The more precise you are when specifying what "success" looks like, the easier it will be to interpret your assessment results once they've been collected. Note: It may take a few repetitions of a program to develop reasonable expectations for performance; in this case it is okay to hold off specifying desired performance targets until you have more information. 

As a result of completing Transfer Student Orientation, incoming transfer students will be able to list academic resources on campus. (It is unclear what the program developers consider adequate demonstration of academic resource knowledge. Is it enough for students to list only one resource?)

Before sitting down to write SLOs for your program, consider these important do’s and don’ts to make sure your SLOs are not only measureable, but meaningful.

DO CONSULT RELEVANT THEORY

Reading the research in relevant domains can help you to create SLOs that are not only specific, measureable, and reasonable,  but also evidence-based . Imagine you want to develop a program to increase students' civic engagement. You might specify that upon completion of your program, students will be able to list three elected state officials.  But does knowledge of state officials actually lead to increased civic engagement?  Without an understanding of the research on civic engagement, you are likely to write misguided SLOs that have little hope of truly bringing about the impact you desire. Thus, theory should be consulted  before  specifying SLOs.

DO USE INTERMEDIATE AND DISTAL OUTCOMES

Often the impacts we wish to have on students—the things we truly care about—are hard to define and difficult to reduce to measurable outcomes. Thus, specifying distal outcomes may prove a useful way to start the outcomes writing process. Distal outcomes capture our more general aspirations and guide the development of specific, intermediate outcomes. The intermediate outcomes are not meant to fully articulate the breadth of the broader distal outcome; there are often a multitude of specific intermediate learning outcomes that can be mapped to a distal outcome. The intermediate learning outcomes articulate how progress toward the distal outcome will be evidenced. DO ARTICULATE OUTCOMES BEFORE CREATING PROGRAMMING

SLOs serve as the foundation for program development; it is nearly impossible to intentionally build programming to impact particular outcomes without stating those outcomes first. In short, outcomes are stated and then programming is built that should (according to theory) impact those outcomes. Programs built without explicitly-stated SLOs can be immensely creative and fun, but it is extremely difficult to assess the effectiveness of these programs without first figuring out what outcomes they may impact and why. As a result, students may not experience a sufficiently targeted intervention that increases learning or development.

DO INCORPORATE OTHERS INTO THE PROCESS For SLOs to be meaningful, they should encompass the voices of as many stakeholders as possible—including those who will develop, implement, oversee, and experience the program. Moreover, you may have colleagues on campus who are working toward similar outcomes and who can provide insight into the specification of outcomes and the development of programming (there may even be partnership opportunities). When one person develops SLOs with little or no input from others, the result may be outcomes (and by extension, programs and assessment results) with limited value to others or redundancies across the division.

DON'T RUSH THE PROCESS

It is not uncommon for the process of developing meaningful, measurable SLOs to take weeks or months of dedicated effort. Remember, your SLOs are the foundation for everything else you do. Before writing them, take time to consult theory, incorporate stakeholders, and think critically about what students can reasonably accomplish in an allotted amount of time.

Writing Measurable Outcomes - The ABCD Method

The ABCD method is a great tool to assist in writing clear SLOs. "ABCD" is an acronym that refers to four important components of any SLO: audience, behavior, condition, and degree.

Select your audience or population. Who are you trying to impact? Is it first-year residence hall students? Is it transfer students completing orientation?

Specify a behavior that students should be able to do after completing your program. Bloom's taxonomy verbs are a great resource to use here. The more precise you are in specifying the behavior, the easier it will be to measure.

Identify the conditions under which students will achive the stated behavior. In other words, what is the program or intervention? An easy way specify the condition is to use a template similar to the following:

  • As a result of [the program or intervention]...
  • Upon completing [the program or intervention]...
  • As a function of [the program or intervention]...

  D egree

Articulate the degree to which you expect your students to meet the outcome. This part of the ABCD method is often the most difficult. If the outcome is new to you, then you may not know what exactly to expect (apart from what theory suggests). Thus, in order to accurately specify the degree, you need to balance your desired degree with the type of program you can build to impact the outcome. If your desired degree likely can’t be met given the length and strength of the program you can create with current resources, then you need to either request adequate resources or you need to adjust the degree to align with the length and strength of the program you can build. In short, this decision involves pairing the theory regarding the malleability of the outcome with resource decisions regarding programming.

An example of an SLO written using the ABCD method: As a function of living on campus (Condition) , the first-year residence hall students (Audience) will develop a greater sense of belonging ( Behavior ) as indicated by a 2-point increase on self-report instrument ( Degree ).

  • Video:  Writing Outcomes
  • Handout:  Writing Clear Outcomes, the ABCD Method
  • Handout:  Common Mistakes in Writing Outcomes
  • Handout:  Checklist for Effective Outcomes
  • Slides: Outcome Writing Workshop

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Student Learning Outcomes: Course Reflection Essay Example

Course reflection: essay introduction.

The chosen course proved a positive experience for students due to the achievement of an appropriate study atmosphere and the establishment of beneficial student-teacher relationships. Attaining the study group’s confidence permitted instituting a functional feedback mechanism, which allowed those in attendance to demonstrate their grasp of the learned material and give recommendations on bettering the course based on personal experience. Consequently, Student Learning Outcomes were sufficiently achieved, leaving both learners and their lector satisfied with the pupils’ level of attained knowledge and competencies.

Despite the overall success of the course, there remain choice aspects of it that require additional work and improvement to receive even better results. Unpredictable external circumstances, such as weather conditions, resulted in the loss of class time and, therefore, leaving the last chapter uncovered. The acquirement procedure for the e-book access code was not perfected, with numerous pupils opting not to attain it, which made the use of the Marketing Lab troublesome. Additionally, revisiting the length of Exam 1 is necessary due to the difficulty that the majority of students experienced with its timely completion.

Resolving these issues, as well as other minor problems noted over the length of the course, requires addressing their origins. To make the Marketing Lab a more significant part of the learning process, more homework could be assigned from it, integrating questions from the textbook that were not covered in class. Additionally, this would effectively compel students to procure and use the e-book access code. The inclusion of more case studies in the course would also be a useful strategy, which may permit learners to achieve a more profound and hands-on understanding of course material.

Paying increased attention to the ongoing pupils’ assessment becomes crucial under these conditions, making journal entries a viable tactic when checking their comprehension of material after each chapter. Permitting students to include their possible questions in these entries would make working with learners easier through creating facilitated lines of communication. Therefore, considering all of these changes, revising the length of Exam 1 and re-assessing its weight in the overall course evaluation process becomes a necessary step. This change would contribute to the achievement of a balanced grading system that would adequately reflect the work done by students throughout their learning process.

The Effect of Professional Development on Education

The success of the course may be linked to the effort put into professional development, which permits perfecting the teaching process to achieve better learning outcomes. Attending Blackboard and Digital Measures training made gaining a mastery of teachers’ resources and integrating them to the best of their use possible within the classroom setting. Additionally, the ITCL Symposium helped achieve a better understanding of course material and how it could be taught, the presentation on product development having become part of the classroom lectures. The participation in coaching and symposiums, therefore, not only presented a chance for sufficient professional growth but also permitted apperceiving additional educational materials.

Implementing modern educational methods, which integrate the benefits of new technologies inside a traditional classroom setting, makes possible the attainment of previously unreachable goals through a combined teaching approach. In this aspect, Blackboard training may claim the most significant impact on the quality of provided schooling since it helped improve the continuity of the educational process through the demonstration of useful virtual teaching techniques.

The benefit of learning through Blackboard is evident due to the possibility of pacing the internet-based learning process, making the received training self-controlled, even if based around deadlines. During training, these aspects proved decisive as there was no need for extensive traveling, providing all the necessary information in one easily accessible place.

This advantage may be carried over successfully into the learning process, either providing the educator with an additional platform for student-teacher communication or presenting a chance for a changeover into entirely internet-based learning. For pupils, this transition could mean heightened educational autonomy when planning their time, which may be a crucial additional professional skill.

Evaluating Results and Setting Future Goals

Despite the positive impact of these provided chances for training, the brevity of the Faculty Annual Evaluation, which lasted one semester, poses significant issues to creating a continuous process of staff education. Additionally, the narrowness of the chosen courses’ topics, as well as their limitation to an in-house setting, poses a significant hindrance in achieving better professional results.

While a modernized approach to education, which focuses on the integration of technological advancements inside the classroom, may be beneficial to modern students’ understanding of the material, this attitude could be detrimental to traditional conceptions. However, as exercises and symposiums retain certain limitations, disputing the significant benefits that they provide to educators is not possible.

These current developments are a positive step towards achieving a better level of faculty performance, creating competent teachers that in turn can produce exceptional students. Advancing the already obtained results may be possible through continuing to provide employees with not only the possibility of professional growth but also presenting them with a broader variety of educational options and topics.

However, setting future goals for development based on the already achieved results becomes viable when considering the significant impact already imparted on the teaching staff. Therefore, setting goals for the coming year that pertain to expanding virtual education and developing online collaboration becomes appropriate and necessary for the continuation of staff growth. Taking additional steps to increase the provided variety of subjects, as well as the types of training offered, such as conferences and workshops, could present a chance to secure a steady reinforcement of teachers’ competencies. Since the already achieved results in educators’ training may be considered an accomplishment, this success should be supported and augmented.

Setting SMART Goals

It may be crucial to keep in mind that the process of education should equally benefit both students and teachers. To continue achieving excellent results and presenting pupils with the chance to learn from the best version of their educator it is necessary to keep giving adequate attention to self-improvement. Therefore, it becomes essential to outline specific SMART goals that are quantifiable and rely on accurate and measurable pre-determined goals that can be attained in a set time and may, therefore, be called realistic.

Predominantly, these SMART goals should be oriented towards developing professional competencies that may help teach management and marketing courses, as these subjects remain primarily taught courses. Attending two new specialized development courses, specifically tailored for those who teach marketing or management before the end of the next year could be a viable betterment option.

Another goal would be carrying out extra research on marketing tactics and management techniques before the start of the next semester and compiling the findings into ten cases for each course for students to solve. Personally forming these cases would permit creating not only a prerequisite for professional development through a study of modern practices but also provide learners with a unique and challenging educational experience.

Considering the assistance provided by technology, it may be necessary, as an educator, to continue integrating online resources into the education process. This aspiration makes mastering a new educational platform before the end of this semester essential objective, the success of which may be measured by the transfer of learning materials to the more modern program. Conducting at least two online examinations or assessments of pupils in the next semester is, therefore, an interdependent and reasonably achievable goal.

Additionally, it is necessary to integrate a virtual system of journal entries that would allow analyzing learners’ competencies as well as their acquired knowledge. Therefore, making journal entries a part of the next marketing and management courses could be an important SMART goal that may prove essential to stimulate students’ reflection regarding the courses’ goals. Incorporating modern technologies into the learning process should prove beneficial for learners who will seek employment in future job markets, which may have heightened expectations regarding the interdisciplinary skills of their staff.

These outlined short-term SMART goals are aimed at developing both professional and personal qualities in pupils and their educator alike. Consequently, the final goal should be related to receiving feedback from learners in both courses, which requires devising a communication from before the end of the current semester and making it accessible online. An omnipresent educational objective, therefore, is making sure that pupils feel confident and secure enough to communicate their possible grievances and suggestions.

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IvyPanda. (2023, February 18). Student Learning Outcomes: Course Reflection Essay Example. https://ivypanda.com/essays/student-learning-outcomes-course-reflection/

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IvyPanda . "Student Learning Outcomes: Course Reflection Essay Example." February 18, 2023. https://ivypanda.com/essays/student-learning-outcomes-course-reflection/.

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AZ Writing | Sample Essays, Example Research Papers and Tips

Free essay samples, research paper examples and academic writing tips for students

Learning Outcomes of Essay Writing

An essay is a typical assignment at every high school and college. When students have language and literature as their major subjects, they will surely have to write essays frequently. This kind of written paper is very important for student’s self-development and background knowledge. Every student who wants to succeed in the humanities should learn to write essays correctly, because such disciplines as philosophy, philology, psychology, sociology, etc. require well-trained essay writing skills.

Essay writing is a brilliant exercise that can train a range of student’s skills. First, when one writes essays, he develops his writing skills and learns something new about the structure of different scientific texts. He writes long essays and very soon, he gains knowledge about writing of more complicated and important academic assignments, such as term papers, research papers and dissertations. Naturally, an essay is a basic paper and one should learn about its composition and style of writing before he starts working on other solid academic assignments. It is quite easy to prepare a successful term paper if you possess background knowledge about essay writing, because the manner of writing of scientific texts is practically the same.

Next, one is able to improve his knowledge about different topics, because every essay is a result of research of the definite problem. One has to read a lot before he prepares his essay. Students need to read textbooks, encyclopedias and articles in the Internet if they want to accumulate enough information about their problem and complete a successful essay.

Though it is impossible to remember all facts that have been found in these sources, students improve their background knowledge and become smarter and more intelligent.

Then, essay writing is very useful for the development of critical and analytical thinking skills. When one writes an essay, he breaks his complex topic into several subordinate ones in order to gain a better understanding of this main problem. This process is very difficult and students require many years of constant practice to master the skill of analytical thinking. Moreover, when one analyzes his problem, he tries to invent original approaches towards its research.

He tries to analyze this topic objectively and he applies only up-to-date and reliable methods that can be useful for the improvement of the quality of his essay. When one trains his critical thinking skills, it means that he strives to analyze his topic objectively and present his personal reasoned judgements about it.

Finally, students train their imagination and creativity when they write their essays, because every paper of this kind requires original approach, bold decisions and brand new ideas that will make the text sound interesting.

There are a lot of writing websites which offer custom essay writing services for students. Feel free to contact SmartWritingService – essay service to get your academic paper written from scratch!

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COMMENTS

  1. Creating Learning Outcomes

    A learning outcome is a concise description of what students will learn and how that learning will be assessed. Having clearly articulated learning outcomes can make designing a course, assessing student learning progress, and facilitating learning activities easier and more effective.

  2. Writing and Assessing Student Learning Outcomes

    Typically, Student learning outcomes (SLOs) describe the knowledge, skills, attitudes, behaviors or values students should be able to demonstrate at the end of a program of study. A combination of methods may be used to assess student attainment of learning outcomes. Characteristics of Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

  3. Learning Outcomes: Definition, Characteristics, Benefits

    Characteristics Effective learning outcomes are: Clear statements, containing a verb and an object of the verb, of what students are expected to know or do Action-oriented Free of ambiguous words and phrases Learner-centered—written from the perspective of what the learner does

  4. PDF Examples of Learning Outcomes: Good and Bad

    A good outcome is SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound. The ideal learning outcome has three elements: Action verb(s) Subject Context Begin your list of outcomes with the statement, "By the end of this program, successful students will be able to ..."

  5. Writing Student Learning Outcomes

    The following are recommended steps for writing clear, observable and measurable student learning outcomes. In general, use student-focused language, begin with action verbs and ensure that the learning outcomes demonstrate actionable attributes. 1. Begin with an Action Verb. Begin with an action verb that denotes the level of learning expected.

  6. Writing Intended Learning Outcomes

    Instructional Goals vs. Learning Outcomes. Consider the following intended learning outcomes: Articulate design considerations that reflect both individual and societal concerns. Formulate conjectures and discover proofs. Analyze the behaviour of realistic nonlinear systems. Identify all major syntactical constructions of the Latin language.

  7. How to Write Well-Defined Learning Objectives

    A learning goal is a broad statement of an expected learning outcome of a course or curriculum. Learning goals provide a vision for the future and often summarize the intention or topic area of several related learning objectives. Learning objectives are drawn from the learning goals.

  8. An introduction to writing effective learning outcomes

    Learning outcomes describe what students should be able to do by the end of a teaching session or course. They are related to, but different from, teaching aims, which instead describe broadly what the session or course is about and its overall purpose. Writing learning outcomes can help you to plan your teaching, for example, by prioritising ...

  9. Developing Learning Outcomes

    Through assessment, learning outcomes can become fully integrated in course design and delivery. Assignments and exams should match the knowledge and skills described in the course's learning outcomes. A good learning outcome can readily be translated into an assignment or exam question; if it cannot, the learning outcome may need to be refined.

  10. PDF Student Learning: Attitudes, Engagement and Strategies

    learning strategies that have been shown to be important for successful learning outcomes, such necessary preconditions for successful learning do not guarantee that a student will actually regulate his or her learning on specific occasions. However, by looking at such characteristics and at students' views on how they

  11. Characteristics of Good Learning Outcomes

    TRANSPARENT: should be easily understood by the learner; and TRANSFERABLE: should address knowledge and skills that will be used by the learner in a wide variety of contexts The SMART (TT) method of goal setting is adapted from Blanchard, K., & Johnson, S. (1981). The one minute manager. New York: Harper Collin

  12. Learning Outcomes in Teaching: Types, Benefits and Characteristics

    Characteristics of Good Learning Outcomes in Teaching FAQs Source: SimplyInfo Types Of Learning Outcomes in Teaching There are 5 types of learning outcomes in teaching: Intellectual Skills: These refer to the ability of a student to apply critical thinking, analysis, and problem-solving in a particular subject or context.

  13. Importance and Benefits of Learning Outcomes

    Measuring learning outcomes offers numerous benefits to stakeholders such as students, teachers, and academic advisors, facilitating the optimization of the learning experience (Mahajan and Singh ...

  14. Essay and report writing skills: Learning outcomes

    Learning outcomes. After studying this course, you should be able to: understand what writing an assignment involves. identify strengths and weaknesses. understand the functions of essays and reports. demonstrate writing skills. Previous Introduction. Next 1 Good practice in writing.

  15. CHARACTERISTICS OF GOOD LEARNING OUTCOMES

    CHARACTERISTICS OF GOOD LEARNING 2. effectively communicate the results of their OUTCOMES research findings and analyses to fellow Good learning outcomes - classmates in an oral presentation • focus on the application and integration of the VAGUE OUTCOME knowledge and skills acquired in a particular By the end of this course, students will be able to use unit of instruction (e.g. activity ...

  16. What are the key elements of a positive learning environment

    The learning environment (LE) comprises the psychological, social, cultural, and physical setting in which learning occurs and in which experiences and expectations are co-created among its participants (Rusticus et al., 2020; Shochet et al., 2013 ).

  17. Specification of Student Learning Outcomes

    Student learning and development outcomes (SLOs) are the foundation for everything we do with respect to assessment and program development; every step in the cycle that follows presumes the existence of clear, measureable outcomes that are meaningful to stakeholders. During this step of the process, you will need to consider questions such as:

  18. Student Learning Outcomes: Course Reflection Essay Example

    An omnipresent educational objective, therefore, is making sure that pupils feel confident and secure enough to communicate their possible grievances and suggestions. This essay, "Student Learning Outcomes: Course Reflection Essay Example" is published exclusively on IvyPanda's free essay examples database.

  19. Learning Outcomes of Essay Writing

    Learning Outcomes of Essay Writing An essay is a typical assignment at every high school and college. When students have language and literature as their major subjects, they will surely have to write essays frequently. This kind of written paper is very important for student's self-development and background knowledge.

  20. Six characteristics that promote student learning (opinion)

    Experiential approaches are more effective over all and promote such skills as problem identification, critical thinking, evaluating evidence and alternative ideas, and tolerance for ambiguity. Involve other people. Student learning and development may be a solitary activity, like reading, studying, viewing art or witnessing an event.

  21. Characteristics of Good Learning Outcomes for every students

    Mark Battersby, p. 1 Learning outcomes are statements that describe the knowledge or skills students should acquire by the end of a particular assignment, class, course, or program, and help students understand why that knowledge and those skills will be useful to them.

  22. Characteristics of good learning outcomes ss

    Characteristics of good learning outcomes ss essay University Western Philippines University Course Bachelor of Secondary Education-Major in Biological Science (BSEd-SCI) 528Documents Students shared 528 documents in this course Academic year:2021/2022 Helpful? 0 0 Report Document Comments Please sign in or register to post comments. Download Save

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