Learning outcomes are brief statements that help students understand the knowledge and skill-set they will gain after engaging in a certain learning experience. These statements also make students understand why those skills and knowledge will be helpful.
Types of Learning Outcomes
While learning outcomes focus on academic growth, it is not limited to academics! There are several other important types of learning outcomes.
1: Gaining intellectual knowledge
To gain knowledge is the most basic outcome of learning. A student or learner must understand the theory, procedure, or rules of a given concept in depth.
2: Cognitive skill development
In this learning outcome, the focus is on rational reasoning. The students (or learners) are encouraged to think, evaluate and scrutinize certain concepts and then act accordingly.
3: Boosting knowledge sharing
Gaining knowledge is just one part of learning. A student must be able to grasp information, add value to it, and pass it on to others to create a valuable knowledge system.
4: Developing motor skills
This category involves improving a learner’s ability to deal with their physicality. With proper planning and practice, learners can perform actions, achieve smoothness, fluidity, and work towards their physical well-being and health.
5: Attitude and personal growth
A growth in persona and attitude is an internal state and the highest learning phase. In this stage, a learner not only functions well in society but also possesses skills that can benefit society. A better attitude helps maintain an effective balance between personal and professional life and assists the learner’s reaction to certain situations or people.
Advantages of Learning Outcomes
Learning outcomes are valuable components that sharpen the focus and emphasize student learning. The list below describes the other key benefits of the same:
- Makes the students more skillful, efficient, and smart
- Develops the ability to analyze and react to real situations
- Boosts the overall value of education
- Grows a learner holistically by gaining knowledge and values
- Inspires the learners to create a much better society
Key to Writing Effective Learning Outcomes
If you want to write a list of effective learning outcomes, then you must follow these simple rules:
1. The most basic key to writing an effective learning outcome is to select specific, active, and measurable verbs. You can choose verbs that would suit a particular type of outcome. Here are some examples:
- Intellectual development: Demonstrate, Explain, Compute, Select, Repeat.
- Cognitive strategy: Prepare, Classify, Distinguish, Solve, Use.
- Knowledge sharing: State, Define, Give examples, Demonstrate, Produce.
- Motor skills: Generate, Sketch, Create, Devise, Show, Modify.
- Attitude personal growth: Judge, Assess, Justify, Critique, Rank, Support.
2. Learning outcomes must be clear and easy to understand.
3. Learning outcomes must focus on what learners will achieve upon completing a particular course they are studying.
4. The outcomes must indicate the success factor after taking certain assessments.
5. Learning outcomes must be restricted to four or six for each project. Too many or too few outcomes can cause confusion!
Things to Avoid While Creating Learning Outcomes
While building the best learning outcomes, teachers, faculty members, or educators must remember the following:
- Do not emphasize ‘teacher-centric’ practices; instead, make the learning outcome ‘student-centric’.
- Do not limit the learning outcomes only to a certain program or courses.
- Do not force theoretical concepts on students for a better academic score; encourage learning through practical experiments.
- Do not give vague ideas about what to expect; create measurable learning outcomes.
Examples of Well-Written Learning Outcome
Now we know that a well-written learning outcome focuses on what a student or learner can confidently demonstrate upon completion of a given learning activity. A learning outcome is useful only if it is measurable. Therefore, while aiming to write better learning outcomes, you must add the learning behaviors, a suitable assessment method, and the precise criteria that exhibit the success factor. Here are a few examples of a well-written learning outcome for your better understanding:
- Students will be able to classify birds into their correct families with a graphic organizer, once they read an essay on bird traits.
- Students will be able to describe the growth process of a seedling in their science project after completing a 15-day long observation and experimentation on stages in the growth of a plant.
- After a lesson on Euler's quadrilateral theorem, students will easily solve about 18 out of 20 geometry problems with the theorem.
- Using the Bandra–Worli Sea Link as a model, students will be empowered to design their own innovative and individual cable-stayed bridge with Popsicle sticks.
- After a lesson on the Indian election process, students will justify and explain why they would make a great prime minister by writing their campaign jingle.
- Students will efficiently learn to write daily diary entries in their personal journals after this project on reflective writing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the importance of learning outcomes?
A: Learning outcomes remove the focus from learning theoretical concepts and enable and encourage teachers and students to gain overall development. While learning outcomes boost students’ knowledge level, it also helps in empowering them with important skills-sets.
Q: How are learning outcomes beneficial for students?
A: As learning outcomes are not limited to academic success, they assist the students in becoming lifelong learners. Learning outcomes also help them develop a progressive and unconventional mindset, which enables them to work towards the welfare of society.
Q: How to achieve the best learning outcomes?
A: To derive the best from learning outcomes, you must follow the following steps:
- Both the teaching and learning activities must focus on the student and be student-centric.
- Learning outcomes must be measurable and predefined.
- The activities must be designed to focus on actions rather than being confined to theoretical concepts.
- Continuous monitoring and evaluation of the performance of each student can be helpful.
Learning outcomes can improve the academic performance and it is pivotal to have a proper understanding the same to ensure that the learning is effective and efficient.