How to Create Effective Learning Outcomes? - A Step-by-Step Guide

02 March 2023
Learning Management System

Why do students lose focus? Why do graduates lack the skills required for a job? The answer to both of these questions lies in the educational structure; the teaching delivery and learning methods contribute to their academic performance. However, vague learning goals coupled with ineffective teaching methodologies are vital issues that lead to poor academic achievement.

Therefore, it is hardly surprising that teachers and institutes give emphasis on learning outcomes, which are statements describing aptitude and skills after completing a course or program. Besides, it serves as a framework for other integrated components of the program; teachers are able to communicate better about the learning expectations of the students.

On the other hand, students will actively participate in the in-class activities, allowing instructors to gain an in-depth understanding of individual learners’ progress. Meanwhile, one of the persistent challenges is writing the learning outcomes, which one may overcome through the following steps:

6 Steps How to Create Effective Learning Outcomes

Effective Learning Outcomes

1. Differentiate between Learning Goals and Learning Objectives

Learning goals and objectives are at the forefront of educational goals, but often there is confusion between both. Hence, establishing clarity is essential, enabling instructors to define specific outcomes.

  • Learning Goals

Learning goals refer to broad general statements of what students are expected to learn and provide a road map of students' academic journey. In fact, these are crucial parts of course design that must be made clear at the planning stage. Moreover, learning goals are long-term and indicate the general goal of the course, and these might or might not be measurable.

  • Learning Objectives

Learning objectives are particular, measurable targets that provide cohesion and guidance to teachers, enabling them to carry out purposeful instruction over a shorter period of time. For instance, they can regulate learning objectives for a single class or unit of training. Likewise, students can learn and study a specific core concept for a pre-scheduled class.

Also, learning objectives must be meaningful and correlate to the ultimate learning goals.

2. Implement the Objectives into ASK(Attitude, Skills, Knowledge).

Prior to writing the objectives, instructors must consider what they want the students to do at the end of the term. Therefore, accordingly, they must write objectives that align with the three critical domains of learning: affective (attitude), psychomotor (skills), and cognitive (knowledge), the short form for which is ASK.

  • Attitude

Attitude in the context of the learning process refers to the student’s feelings, emotions and attitudes and is the most complex component of the objectives. Besides, attitudes cannot be measured, so it is difficult to draft objectives pertaining to it. Nonetheless, teachers can design and include activities that encourage students' participation, allowing the latter to engage and expand their perspectives.

  • Skills

Skills relate to students’ ability to perform tasks, and instructional methodologies must be incorporated to improve their existing skills. In effect, it will help them execute a given task efficiently; they can implement the knowledge in practical situations, allowing them to gain real-time experience.

  • Knowledge

Knowledge relates to students' ability to recall key information and concepts and is the foundation of learning objectives. So, naturally, the goal must be to employ strategies to gain and explore knowledge through unique approaches like microlearning.

3. Select Action Verbs

Identifying the learning domains that students need to build and improve upon is the initial step in writing learning outcomes; the next step is using action verbs to describe the behavior at the appropriate learning levels. Take a look at the action verbs according to each domain:

  • Attitude

Advocate, accept, agree, allow, analyze, approve, assess, belief, choose, collaborate, comply, conform, convince, cooperate, decide, defend, endorse, evaluate

  • Skills

Actuate, adjust, administer, align, alter, assemble, build, calibrate, change, copy demonstrate, design, develop, draft, execute, form, handle, manipulate, measure, mend, perform prepare, process, record regulate remove, repair, replace

  • Knowledge

Compare, define, describe, designate, discover, distinguish, explain, identify, itemize, label, list, name, recite, recognize, recount, relate, retell, specify

4. Mention the Core Elements of the Outcomes

The core elements of the learning outcomes are the audience, behavior, condition, and degree of mastery (A, B, C, D).

  • Audience

The words ‘’learner’’ or ‘’participant’’ relate to the target audience and are the people around which teachers need to develop the outcomes.

  • Behavior

It signifies what the individual learners will do differently, and this section will contain action verbs relating to the skills.

  • Condition

As suggested by the title, this part of the objective will represent the situation of the participants.

  • Degree of Mastery

This part of the objective demonstrates students' level of progress in terms of skill enhancement, understanding capability and knowledge levels.

5. Evaluate the Objective Quality

It is essential to recheck the objectives and ensure that it meets the criteria or addresses the learning gaps. So, the best way to do that is to determine if the objectives are learner-centric; the objectives must be written keeping in mind the learner’s point of view. Similarly, it must serve as a guiding platform for instructors to plan and execute their classes accordingly.

Although Bloom’s taxonomy is the most common framework, one can use any other appropriate pedagogies to check learners’ competency levels. However, it is best to avoid vague, unmeasurable action verbs and use purposeful ones, which will help to ease the evaluation process.

6. Develop Reasonable Learning Outcomes

Institutes and teachers strive to provide the best educational facilities; however, sometimes, ambitious and overarching learning objectives don’t always have strategic follow-up plans. For instance, it is irrational to include multiple curriculum activities and core concepts within a few classes. Because it does not provide sufficient time for teachers to prepare effective instruction and prevents students from getting clear knowledge.

Therefore, it is vital to draft reasonable objectives for learning and keep track of global educational trends. Furthermore, one can use the learning management system to update the objectives and correlate them to the ongoing progress of students.

In Conclusion,

Learning outcomes or objectives are instrumental in implementing an outcome-based education system; it is imperative for the teachers and institutes to collaborate and brainstorm ideas to write precise, achievable and reasonable outcomes. Simultaneously, they must ensure the objectives are in line with student learning needs.

Gurudev Somani Author :

Gurudev Somani,

Academic Consultant

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