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: “Because of my presentation…”

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 want 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.

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?

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.