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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 http://wp.me/p1Mdiu-rQ.

On create learning outcomes that will can be the foundation for the rest of your course development. Slides in support of workshop described at http://wp.me/p1Mdiu-rQ.


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  • 1. Learning Outcomes Jeff Lindgren Assistant Director Center for Teaching and Learning lindg027@umn.edu
  • 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 http://www.finkconsulting.info/publications.html• 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.

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