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.

What is the goal of your learning environment?

What’s with the blank stare? I get it, it’s a pretty broad question.

You can also answer this question by answering some others:

  • What do you want your learners to be able to do as a result of being in the online learning environment?
  • How would learners demonstrate what they’ve learned?

These questions all point you towards learning goals/objectives/outcomes. This is were the designer starts to align their content and assessments within the learning environment.

The tip here is to be explicit when stating your goals for the learners. This takes the guessing game out of learning and directs learners to what you’re intending for them to get out of the environment. State your goals at the beginning. State your goals often, and state your goals for each assessment. This helps the learners connect the dots throughout the learning experience.

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.

Online Recruitment

Google+ Hangouts On Air – Take 2

After using Google+ Hangouts On Air for inter-department training, I had the idea to use the same technology, but for intra-institutional recruitment for the Counselor Education graduate program. Thankfully my position as the Training and Selection GA for University Housing and Dining Services (which had almost half of the graduate assistants for the university in the Counselor Education program) put me in a good position to be able to take the lead on the new recruitment tool for the University GA selection weekend, called CU-GARS or Clemson University Graduate Assistant Recruitment and Selection weekend.

This initiative was started in February 2013 to engage the students we were trying to recruit and informally give the information that prospective graduate students wanted to know about the program. By using social media (Twitter and Facebook) hashtags, we were able to communicate with and give advice in real time to the prospective students of the program. This process was inspired by the infamous #SAchat.

What you do not see in the video is the training, planning and marketing it took to put this new initiative together. Not only did each individual graduate students on the video need to know how to use Google+ Hangouts, they also needed to come from a well-rounded experience on campus. I sat down with each individual before we went live to make sure they were comfortable using the technology and how the session was going to go before we actually went through with it.

The prospective students who tuned in to watch the video live needed to know how to communicate with those of us on the video. So marketing about how to use the hashtag #CUGradChat was important for this initiative to take shape at the time it was implemented. Hashtags are very well-known now. Also, we asked for all of the graduate students off the G+ video to watch the backchannel and answer questions via the hashtag to make sure that all the questions were answered by each prospective student even if we did not get to each question on the G+ video. Take a look at the 1st and 2nd ever #CUGradChat. Below in the quoted block text, you’ll find the instructions that the prospective students needed to follow.

First #CUGARSGradChat – February 11, 2013

Second #CUGARSGradChat – February 23, 2013

The Student Affairs graduate students got together for a panel-like session for Clemson University Grad Assistant Recruitment & Selection weekend (CUGARS) candidates. We are here to answer any and all questions that the candidates (YOU!) might have about grad school, Clemson, our program in particular and our lives here.

We will be streaming a youtube video LIVE for you all to watch, listen and PARTICIPATE in the panel!

It’s simple to join. Click the YouTube link, click on the live video showing in the feed labeled “CUGARS GradChat”, watch the video live and participate in discussion on Twitter with the Hashtag #CUGradChat; tag @CU_GARS13 and on the CU GARS 2013 Facebook Group wall.

We will be taking questions you tweet us with the hashtag and post on our fb wall for the current grads to answer. So tune into CUGARS GradChat at 8:00pm EST on Monday, February 11th.

Are you busy at that time? No worries! You can watch the YouTube video later when you have a chance. Just be sure to be there if you can, so that you can get your questions answered!

Don’t miss the 2nd #CUGradChat on 2/26 at 8:00pm EST all about CUGARS interview weekend!
(Even if you do miss it, the video will still be here when you get back!)

Hope to CU Soon!
-CUGARS Committee

Online Meetings

Google+ Hangouts On Air

At Clemson in 2012, as a graduate student, I had a unique experience having an administrative role within University Housing & Dining. I was the first grad to be granted the assistantship for Training & Selection.

In the video below, I was able to train professional staff and graduate students, whose offices reside in multiple areas of the campus, by using Google+ Hangouts On Air. By using this technology, I was able to train staff to conduct interviews for leadership positions within the department.

As you can tell in the first 2 minutes of the video, I was also training staff to use the technology while we were using it. This training was put online in order to help save time from meetings and walking across campus. The beauty of On Air Hangouts was that it would automatically be available after “filming” so that those staff members that could not make the meeting timeslot, would still get the same training.