Learning outcomes are made of:
Learning outcome statements have three components: an action verb; a content/topic phrase; and a context/condition phrase (Macquarie University FILT, 2015 & Dick; Carey & Carey, 2005) and all learning outcomes should be demonstrable.
Writing Learning Outcomes
- Learning outcomes must be achievable, relevant, timely, consistent, succinct, unambiguous, unbiased and clearly understood by UNSW students. learning outcomes must be written from the student perspective, indicating the level of understanding, performance, competency, values, personal attributes, knowledge and skills use they are expected to demonstrate as a result of completing the learning experiences (Biggs & Tan, 2011).
- Writing good learning outcomes is difficult as so many factors need to be taken into account. It is therefore advisable to develop learning outcomes as a group rather than as an individual activity.
- The AQF recommends learning outcomes are developed under the headings of knowledge, skills and the application of knowledge and skills. UNSW learning outcomes should align with the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) learning outcome criteria.
- Learning outcomes for each program should encompass discipline-related and generic outcomes, including:
a. specific knowledge and skills and their application that characterise the field(s) of education or disciplines involved
b. generic skills and their application in the context of the field(s) of education or disciplines involved
c. knowledge and skills required for employment and further study related to the program, including those required to be eligible to seek registration to practise where applicable, and
d. skills in independent and critical thinking suitable for life-long learning.
- Identify what students are expected to demonstrate on completion of their program or course, use action verbs such as identify, compare, apply, analyse, evaluate, create.
- Keep learning outcomes to one short statement. If more than one statement in a learning outcome, make two.
- Avoid using passive verbs/phrases such as "be familiar with".
- Avoid statements e.g. “conduct an investigation”; “write an essay”, as these are not learning outcomes. They are tasks.
- There are no hard rules to the number of learning outcomes, though normally 4-10 is about right per program and course. AQF coursework learning outcome descriptors are between 4-10 per level with Bachelors at 8, Graduate Certificate at 9, Masters at 10. Coursework programs, specialisations and courses within these programs can apply to ABPC for the inclusion of more than 10, up to a maximum of 12 learning outcomes.
- To help structure levels and standards of learning outcomes, identify the cognitive differences between “lower level thinking” (remembering, comprehending) and more “higher order level thinking” (analysing, creating) as well as non-cognitive outcomes related to collaboration, teamwork and ethical behaviours, attitudes and values, etc.
- In developing learning outcomes consider the total learning experiences of your students as defined in the Scientia Education Experience (SEE).
- There are a number of online generators that may help guide learning outcome statement production e.g. Learning Outcomes Generator and Easy Generator.