Learning outcomes are statements that reflect what your students should accomplish at the end of your course. Learning outcomes are measurable and can be used to direct the course timeline. For example, “by the end of the course, students should be able to…” explain, compare, create, or recall. These active verbs allow instructors to create measurable, observable learning outcomes. In comparison, verbs like value or understand are difficult for an instructor to observe.
It’s beneficial to get feedback on your learning outcomes, as it allows us to better understand how our students may read them. Extra readers can also review whether or not your learning outcomes are measurable. Addison, a graduate student in Anthropology, explained how his process of writing learning outcomes was improved through participation in a learning community in spring 2017.
L: What part of the learning community did you most enjoy?
A: I found the course design workshops most effective and important because they emphasize course outcomes and teaching to those outcomes: emphasizing the steps that need to be taken each day, clarifying what the content of each day is intended to accomplish, and then structuring your lecture and discussion accordingly.
L: What did you find valuable about coming together with other students?
A: Being a graduate instructor is a lonely experience. We have to come up with a great deal of our philosophy of teaching on our own. So bringing together students from throughout the College is hugely important. I really enjoyed the discussions that evolved from the various sessions and listening to other people’s insights and perspectives. Simply put, we talked about teaching, what we put into it, why we do the things we do, etc. Until this point I had never really done much outside of a pedagogy course I took four years ago.
Want to learn more about learning outcomes, creating a syllabus, or joining a learning community? Contact our office to learn what learning communities will be offered this fall, attend a CITL workshop, or arrange for an individual consultation!