Course Proposal - Student Learning Outcomes

In this context, learning outcomes describe what students are able to demonstrate in terms of knowledge, skills, and values upon completion of a course.  For our purposes the terms learning outcomes and learning goals are interchangeable.  The term “learning outcomes” is used broadly  in higher education, but some people find it more straightforward to think about goals for learning.

It is also possible to have learning outcomes for an academic program, a sequence of courses,  or other learning structures.  
Learning outcomes should be objective, measurable and aligned with the material covered in the course and its methods of assessment.  Here are a few examples:
  • Student will be able to analyze the interaction of politics and economics in developing nations.
  • Student will be able to describe the scientific principles of heredity.
  • Student will be able to design a qualitative research study.
Learning outcomes are a required component for a course proposal's sample syllabus. Usually a course will have 3 to 7 main learning outcomes; instructors should think about what they want students to know or gain from the course. Another way to think of this is to answer the question, when students leave this course I want them to be able to (fill in the blank).   Instructors can look to the language they use for their academic program learning outcomes and may want to link to that same language.  Instructors may want to   review resources provided below for more examples and information.  If relevant they may refer to guidelines for learning outcomes available through the accrediting body for their program or discipline.  The sample syllabus that they provide with their course proposal should include a section with learning outcomes written in a format that works for them.

Due to changing assessment and accreditation requirements it is likely that more guidance and specific requirements will be provided in the future for how course learning outcomes should be framed.

Helpful Resources

Your school or college's assessment plan might also provide ideas for how you might frame the learning outcomes for your course.

Bloom's taxonomy is a useful tool for developing good learning outcomes

The Engineering Professional Development Teaching & Learning Resource site provides some helpful resources as well.

LEAP Initiative Essential Learning Outcomes

Keywords:learning outcomes   Doc ID:43346
Owner:Michelle Y.Group:Courses and Academic Programs
Created:2014-09-02 14:02 CDTUpdated:2016-04-01 10:48 CDT
Sites:Courses and Academic Programs
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