Learning & Teaching Topics
Student Learning Outcomes
Student learning outcomes provide a focus and a standard for the classroom, clearly stating what a student should be able to do upon completion of the course. They should act as a guide to developing assignments, activities, and assessments. These student learning outcomes differ from student learning objectives in that objectives are more faculty-based, focusing on content and skill, while outcomes are more student-based, focusing on overarching themes and incorporating higher level thinking while culminating in what students should be able to do at the end of the course
How to Develop Student Learning Outcomes
- To develop outcomes, first think of the 5-7 most important things that a student should be able to do after taking your course.
- Make sure to define these goals in a clear and measurable way, utilizing active verbs.
- Draft these outcomes and compare them with course outlines, as well as the core concepts and guiding principles from professional organizations.
- Design your course so that all course activities and assignments ultimately lead to the outcomes.
- On the first day of class, discuss these outcomes with students. Make sure the student learning outcomes are included in your syllabus.
- Use the last day of class to discuss the student learning outcomes with students and determine if they have been met. Utilize student feedback in order to modify the outcomes or the course as needed.
- There are three primary domains of learning. Student learning outcomes should address each domain, including: cognitive (knowledge classification), psychomotor (physical), and affective (behaviors corresponding with values and attitudes). While the affective domain is most closely tied to life-long learning, it may also be the most difficult to articulate.
- Student learning outcomes should incorporate skills at multiple levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Bloom classified intellectual behavior into several fields in order to be able to identify and measure learning on a progressively sophisticated level. Bloom’s Taxonomy has six categories: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.
Armstrong, P. (n.d.) Bloom’s Taxonomy. Retrieved May 9, 2009, from Vanderbilt Center for Teaching Web site: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/cft/resources/teaching_resources/theory/blooms.htm
Center for the Advancement of Staff and Student Learning. (n.d.). Instructions for Writing Student Learning Outcomes. Retrieved May 9, 2009, from Los Rios Community College District Web site: http://research.crc.losrios.edu/Instructions%20for%20Writing%20Student%20Learning%20Outcomes.htm
Fink, L.D. (2005). Integrated Course Design. IDEA Paper #42. Retrieved May 9, 2009, from the IDEA Center Web site: http://www.theideacenter.org/sites/default/files/Idea_Paper_42.pdf
Fulks, J. & Pluta, K. (2003). Writing Student Learning Outcomes. SLO Workshop, Bakersfield College. Retrieved May 9, 2009, from San Mateo Community College District Web site: http://www.smccd.net/accounts/canslo/handouts/tools/WritingSLO-guide2.doc