Students achieve learning outcomes through teaching-learning activities. The purpose of learning is also called behavioral purpose which is predetermined.
Table of contents
- What Are the Learning Outcomes?
- Why Do Learning Outcomes Are Important?
- Core Principles of Learning Outcomes
- Learning Outcomes Selection in a Lesson Plan
What Are the Learning Outcomes?
The learning outcomes that are expected to enable students to acquire the knowledge, skills and perspectives on a particular subject at the end of a specific teaching-learning activity or course over a period of time.
According to the ‘Teaching and Learning’ department of University of Oxford “Learning outcomes describe what students should be able to do by the end of a teaching session or course. They are related to, but different from, teaching aims, which instead describe broadly what the session or course is about and its overall purpose.”
Learning outcomes are the clear and precise expectation of what knowledge, skills, attitudes a student will acquire at the end of a lesson. Learning outcomes are based on knowledge, cognitive ability, positive mindset change and the development of physical skills. In fact, the purpose of a particular lesson of a subject is achieved through learning outcomes.
The learning outcomes that students are expected to achieve at the end of a certain level of education are the ‘marginal learning outcomes’ of that level.
Why Do Learning Outcomes Are Important?
University of Oxford describes that learning outcomes describe what students should be able to do by the end of a teaching session or course. They are related to, but different from, teaching aims, which instead describe broadly what the session or course is about and its overall purpose.
Writing learning outcomes can help teachers to plan their teaching, for example, by prioritizing key learning points for the session or course and enabling you to plan their teaching across a session or course. They may also want to share learning outcomes with their students to help them to understand what they are meant to be learning.
Learning outcomes play the role of guide for teachers and they can understand what they should really do in the classrooms. Without writing learning outcomes, a lesson plan cannot be successful.
Core Principles of Learning Outcomes
Learning outcomes should:
- Avoid jargon.
- Use action verbs to describe what it is that students should be able to do during and/or at the end of a session or course. One way to ensure this is by completing the sentence: ‘By the end of the session students will be able to …’ Here … will be replaced by an action verb.
- Not be too numerous. This helps to avoid writing a list of ‘content to be covered’ and will also help you prioritise what students need to do.
- Be specific.
What Are the Characteristics of Learning Outcomes?
There are five characteristics of learning outcomes. The characteristics of learning outcomes are identified as SMART by most of the educationists or education experts. Here every letter of the word SMART carries a characteristic.
Five characteristics of learning outcomes are:
- S = Specific
- M = Measurable
- A = Attainable
- R = Relevant
- T = Time-bound
Examples of Some Learning Outcomes
- Students will able to translate the passage.
- Students will able to explain the text.
- Students will able to identity the errors in the text.
- Students will able to make sentences with the words.
- Students will able to answer the questions.
- Students will able make decision.
- Students will able to recite the poem correctly.
The examples show that the structure of a learning outcome. The structure of a learning outcome is: Students will able to + an action verb + adverb (if it is needed).
The List of Action Verbs What Are Used in Learning Outcomes
|To enable students to demonstrate their…||Examples of associated learning outcome verbs|
|Knowledge and understanding outcomes written to enable students to demonstrate knowledge / understanding / awareness / intellectual curiosity||state record identify clarify describe recognise make distinctions||list recount discuss recognise respond to disclose define||name indicate explain account outline refer to illustrate|
|Application outcomes written to enable students to demonstrate that they can apply their knowledge||apply compute calculate demonstrate discover||manipulate modify perform predict prepare||produce relate show solve use|
|Analysis outcomes written to enable students to demonstrate the skill of analysis||analyse compare criticise||examine appraise debate||contrast question distinguish|
|Synthesis / creativity outcomes written to enable students to demonstrate the skill of synthesis / creativity||arrange plan formulate redefine initiate||assemble prepare construct propose start||organise design develop produce create|
|Evaluation outcomes written to enable students to demonstrate the skill of evaluation||evaluate estimate measure Recommend||assess criticise compare advocate||judge appraise discriminate defend|
When writing learning outcomes, avoid using words that are vague and which are more difficult to assess. This includes words and phrases such as::
- learn the basics of
- be aware of
- have a good grasp of
- be interested in
- be familiar with
- realise the significance
- become acquainted with
- obtain a working knowledge of
Learning Outcomes Selection in a Lesson Plan
The contents of the lessons in each class are selected based on the specific learning outcomes in the prescribed curriculum; and class-based textbooks specify chapter-based learning outcomes or objectives also.
In conducting class activities, learning outcomes should be selected to achieve as many learning outcomes as possible by following a student-centered approach in the allotted time. How many learning outcomes are to be achieved in each period is dependent on the time and the content of the lesson. So the number of learning outcomes of each period can be more or less. Most of the time it is seen that teachers conduct teaching activities in the classroom with three or four learning outcomes.
If you want to know more about Learning outcomes, please visit University of Oxford’s Centre for Teaching and Learning.