Writing Proper Learning Outcomes

Before you start writing learning outcomes, let’s take a moment and identify the elements of a learning outcome. Here, I’ve given examples of what to do and what not to do. When you put the four parts together, you have a well-written learning outcome.

  1. State who will be doing the learning.

Don’t: “Anyone will…”

Don’t: “I will show you…”

Do: “Participants will…”

2. Use action verbs that can be measured.

Don’t: “Learn how to build a house.”

Don’t: “Know how to build a house”

Do: “Demonstrate how to build a house”

3. Specify the condition that you’ll measure learning.

Don’t: “After this lesson…”

Don’t: “After this lesson…”

Do: “Through this activity…”

The idea here is to select a time, activity, or assignment that you’ll be able to observe or measure learning during.

Set up the environment so that you can see if learning has taken place.

4. Add the measurement criterion of success.

Don’t: “…successfully”

Don’t: “…better than anyone”

Do: “…according to the checklist”

Here, we have to signal what we’re measuring to the learners. What goes into your rubric or checklist? How are you grading the success of your learners?

This is the criterion that you’re wanting to communicate early on to your learners ahead of time before the assignment or condition takes place.

Learning outcomes include these 4 elements to be useful. That is, when you write learning outcomes like this, it specifies the goal for the learners and how you’ll assess their learning.

That’s half of the design right there! Not only is this a time saver, but it’s also a way to motivate your learners to achieve the goals you create for them.

Whose Voices are you Elevating in Online Environments?

Whose voices are you elevating in the online learning environments you design? Not sure? Let’s take a look together. I’ll wait. 😁

First, review and assess the content and sources that are being shared with your learners.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are there a variety of perspectives and experiences represented?
  • What was your criteria when selecting these resources?
  • How might your learners see themselves reflected in the content you curate?

Next, search for more diverse authors, contributors (like guest speakers), and entrepreneurial creators on the topic. This is hard sometimes. We’ve gotten so used to perpetuating the majority voices, it’s difficult to actively create a new system. Overtime, it gets easier if we all work to adjust our habits.

Co-Create Community Norms First

Unpopular opinion: Learning isn’t first.

A way to make your learners feel comfortable in the online learning space you create is by co-creating community norms for interactions before any learning occurs.

This might look like…

  • voting on community guidelines in a shared document
  • an open dialogue about what environment everyone would like to contribute knowledge towards
  • a video submission from your learners discussing their learning strengths and needs from a learning environment

The idea is to work together with the learners to decide on what the learning space will provide everyone, the expectations of the facilitator/instructor and the student, and how to keep each other accountable.

I’m curious how you co-create community norms with your learners! What’s the process that you follow?

Emergency Remote Student Experiences are Not Quality Online Engagements

I’ve taken a small hiatus from writing personal blogs, but I’ve been working with the ACPA Online Engagement & Experiences Task Force (soon-to-be Commission) to create a blog, submission pipeline, reviewer rubric, and invitation sequence to open dialogue on higher education online engagement and experiences.

To kick off the ACPA OEE blog, I’ve written/co-written a couple of blogs. I’m sharing one that I wrote solo on here because I believe there are people in my network who would like to read it:

Emergency Remote Student Experiences are Not Quality Online Engagements

The blog post linked above was written to shed light on the parallels to the faculty experience of struggling to move higher education student/academic affairs work to online spaces at the start of the COVID-19 global pandemic. I wrote this blog citing the other well-known and passed-around work from InsideHigherEd OpEd article, Remote Instruction and Online Learning Aren’t the Same Thing. It seems that most of the practitioner literature focuses on faculty and teaching courses. Where this is truly important work, I felt like the work of Student and Academic Affairs professionals who also pivoted to a fully online version of their programs, meetings, and learning during a pandemic was being overlooked.

Take a read, and sign-up for the OEE Task Force Newsletter if you’re wanting more updates on the news from the Task Force. We’ll be putting out a call for blog submissions in the upcoming months to review, edit, and post on the ACPA OEE blog. If you’re interested in this blog post, then please do consider writing a blog for the Task Force!

In the meantime, let me know what you think about this topic. Have you considered what you’ve moved online for the pandemic could be upgraded by learning more about online learning? How might we all work towards more quality online engagements and experiences for our students and colleagues in higher ed? I’m here to listen and provide feedback! After all, this is part of my current research.