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Course Design: Learning Outcomes
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Course Design: Learning Outcomes


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On create learning outcomes that will can be the foundation for the rest of your course development. Slides in support of workshop described at

On create learning outcomes that will can be the foundation for the rest of your course development. Slides in support of workshop described at

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  • 1. Learning Outcomes Jeff Lindgren Assistant Director Center for Teaching and Learning
  • 2. What are learning outcomes? “Learning outcomes or learning goals are goals that describe how students will be different because of a learning experience. More specifically, learning outcomes are the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and habits of mind that students take with them from a learning experience.” Suskie (2009, p. 116)
  • 3. Avoid pitfalls.• “Twin sins” of course design (Wiggins and McTighee (2005) – aimless coverage of content – Isolated (though possibly engaging) activities that are disconnected from goals• Only “understand-and-remember” type of learning goals (Fink, 2003)
  • 4. Try to integrate potential learning goals frominternal and external resources.Possible internal resources: Your college’s mission statement, vision statement, and strategic goals. UM student learning and development outcomesPossible external resources Goals from relevant disciplinary associations and acreditorsSuskie (2009, p. 116)
  • 5. Begin your course design bydeveloping learning outcomes Fink (2003)
  • 6. Taxonomy of Significant Learning• Write learning outcomes using the “Questions for Formulating Significant Learning Goals” worksheet.• Fink (2003)
  • 7. Big ideas are like “conceptual velcro”• Consider identifying a few big ideas and then design around them. Big ideas should answer: – What is most important here? – How do the pieces connect? – What are the priorities?
  • 8. Clarifying content (and learninggoal) priorities Worth being familiar with Important to know and do Big ideas and core tasksWiggins and McTighee (2005)
  • 9. Consider using questions to framebig ideas• Big idea: What are the three branches of government. (Question: How might a government guard against abuse of power? )Wiggins and McTighee (2005)
  • 10. Workshop• Step 1: Clarify content priorities/identify big ideas• Step 2: Use questions to frame the big ideas
  • 11. Bibliography• Fink, D. (2003) Creating Significant Learning Experiences: an Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses. San Francisco: Jossey Bass• Wiggins, G & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by Design (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson.• Suskie, L. (2009). Assessing Student Learning: a Common Sense Guide (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.