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Writing Learning Outcomes

Importance of Learning Outcomes in Curriculum Design

Learning outcomes are statements of what a student is expected to know, understand and/or be able to demonstrate on successful completion of their studies.

Learning outcomes can assist learning in a number of ways:

  • They can assist teachers in planning the most appropriate teaching, learning and assessment strategies
  • Provide a clear illustration of what is expected from both the student and the teacher
  • Guide students in self directed learning and allow them to self assess
  • Allow teachers to monitor the progress of their students

There are two types of learning outcomes:

1. Programme learning outcomes are general statements of what skills, knowledge or attributes students should demonstrate after completing the programme of study. The programme learning outcomes should relate to the NFQ level of study of the programme.

There should be no more than six to ten learning outcomes per programme.

2. Module learning outcomes are statements of what the student will have learned at the end of a module. They should be assessable and measurable.

There should be no more than six learning outcomes per module.

Writing learning outcomes

When writing learning outcomes it is important to:

  • Be specific, using one verb per sentence. Bloom's taxonomy provides an excellent guide for suitable verbs (see below)
  • Be concise and clear, using language that is easy to understand
  • Ensure that they are assessable
  • Be realistic. Take into account the students' prior knowledge and the time-frame for the module or programme

References

UL (2008) Writing Learning Outcomes: A guide for academics

DIT (n.d.) A Guide to Writing Learning Outcomes

Blooms Taxonomy of Measurable Verbs