A PowerPoint presentation with voice over about writing learning outcomes.
Up what I want to talk about is writing learning outcomes and more specifically using behaviorally based language in terms to provide a sound basis for instruction and assessment. We want to consider what’s the essential take away for the course. What is the absolute minimum thing that we want students to be able to do at the end of the course? We want to think about higher versus lower level cognitive skills so we don’t want to just focus on memorization, types of Facts or things like that, but having students actually know how to do things, to analyze, to be critical, to do these kinds of deeper cognitive skills. We want to focus on observable skills, in behavior. We can say that people should know something but how are they going to be able to demonstrate that. The other great thing we want to consider is to communicate clear expectations to the students so that they know what’s expected of them and then finally we want these things to be capable of being assessed in other words they have to be measurable. Here’s Blooms Taxonomy that kind of looks at higher versus lower order thinking skills. Up at the lower level is just pure knowledge or remembering. We go up to comprehension, understanding and at the highest levels kept things like analysis, synthesis and evaluation, actually creating things. I always like to look at some verbs to, to put together my learning outcomes, so this is a nice little table and what it does is it gives some possible verbs you can use in developing your outcomes that kind of address Bloom’s various levels at the taxonomy. So if you’re interested in just very low level skills you might ask people to define something or describe it or list it. Up a little higher perhaps an application, you might ask them to calculate or apply, to practice, predict. At the analysis level, you might help people be able to distinguish or to question or separate or diagram things. At the synthesis level ,we might ask the students to formulate something, to organize, to plan and prepare, design and at the highest level we have kind of a critical evaluation level and in that case we might ask people to appraise things, assess them, critique them, measure, judge, recommend, test so on and so forth. Now the structure of a learning outcome is important. There are certain things that we absolutely want to specify in a learning outcome. It will have an actor, generally that will be the student. It will have an observable behavior so that’s usually what you’re asking them to do, that’s your verb typically and object of the behavior, so that’s the object, generally have the verb you also need a criteria level. You don’t want people just do something any old way, you want them to do it well and so what are the criteria by which we’re going to judge them and then finally what conditions under which the behavior shall occur. That might be a time frame, it might be certain environmental situations or whatever, but what are the conditions? Upon completion of the field experience, students will be able to design and conduct a valid research project on a topic of disciplinary significance and write a journal quality research report capable submission to a major journal in the field. Here I’d like you to just take a look at this and kind of parse it out are all of the things there. Use the various components of a well-written learning outcome and see if you can determine which of those are represented in this particular learning outcome and highlight them.