Learning outcomes detailed in module and programme specifications, express what a student should be able to do by the end of the course/module, and assessment is designed to test how well students can demonstrate those outcomes.
Teaching then creates learning opportunities for students, providing resources to support their study and giving feedback on progress towards the achievement of the learning outcomes.
Learning outcomes can be written as endings to the sentence “By the end of the module, students should be able to…”
Each Learning outcome then comprises:
- a verb (something the student does)
- an object (what the student is working on or with)
- a context for their action.
Each learning outcome should be achievable and assessable, so the verb you use should be something the student will do that you can observe and measure.
Learning outcomes describing knowledge and intellectual abilities:
- demonstrate and understanding of basic terms and concepts in [subject]
- select and employ techniques for analysing [artefact] in [context]
- propose solutions to [subject-specific] problems
- evaluate [plan/object/relevance] in [context]
Learning outcomes describing practical skills:
- apply appropriate [tools] to [purpose]
- perform [process] to establish [outcomes]
Learning outcomes describing professional / transferable skills:
- Communicate the outcomes of a literature review to peers.
Learning outcomes will change as students move through their studies and develop their knowledge and skills. This progression through levels is recognised across HE with a standard set of level descriptors that start before University level and carry through to PhD level.
The wording you choose for learning outcomes will therefore depend on the type of outcomes you have in mind (knowledge / skill / attribute) and the level at which the student is studying. Search for “Bloom’s taxonomy verbs” for suggestions for your learning outcome statements.
What colleagues are saying about Learning outcomes
more about Learning outcomes from the "Talking of teaching" blog