Quality learning practices
Whether it be as large as a full program of study or a small as an individual class or online activity, everything that we teach should have some overarching intended learning outcomes. These state the learning that we aim for students to demonstrate as a result of that activity.
Effective learning outcomes are important for staff because they:
- direct what ‘content’ (knowledge, applications of that knowledge, and associated skills) should be taught and what students should learn
- determine what teaching strategies, including what range and level of learning experiences are needed to help students learn
- direct the approach to demonstrating that learning through assessment
- contextualise selected University generic graduate attributes for the discipline and year level of the course
Effective learning outcomes are important for students because they provide:
- A framework to guide and focus their studies
- A discipline-specific set of statements that integrate graduate attributes and/or discipline standards at course and/or university level (UoW 2004).
Constructing learning outcomes
A well-constructed learning outcome requires a verb. There are several taxonomies and frameworks which assist in classifying learning outcomes with associated verbs.,These generally range from simple to complex and from concrete to abstract, with the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy, being the most commonly used guide.
Choosing the right verb for the level of learning required is important to align student and teacher expectations. Identify important learning requirements that are about ‘knowing’ and ‘doing’.
Access Bloom's Taxonomy Wheel, which lists a range of actions and activities applicable for each level of learning to assist you in developing learning objectives or outcomes for your teaching practices. When writing learning outcomes, ensure that they are on what the learner should be able to know and do at the end of the program/course/class/module, and are therefore achievement-oriented.
Embedding student supports
It is best practice to ensure that your students have access to the supports and resources they need to succeed in learning. Integrate or embed academic and learning resources, skills and supports into your courses. This ensures that students are provided with the relevant study support specific to their learning needs and assessment tasks, and these are available in a timely manner. By embedding student supports into a course, it becomes part of a student’s study load and is integrated into their study requirements, rather than sitting outside the curriculum where students cannot always find them.
- Contact your Director, Learning and Teaching to support you in any development or refinement of intended learning outcomes for Course Outlines. Note that changes to learning outcomes at this level require approval from your Institute and Academic Board.
- Contact your Learning Designer to support you in the development of creating learning outcomes for your individual classes or online modules.