Identifying Learning Outcomes and Planning Learning Activities [workshop notes]

Planning learning activities that contribute to the learning outcomes and using Bloom’s Taxonomy to identify good learning outcomes are my take-away from this workshop.

Image source: http://edorigami.wikispaces.com/Bloom%27s+Digital+Taxonomy

Introduction

This workshop addresses two key elements of course design: student learning outcomes and learning activities, and the important relationship between them. The underlying concept in the workshop is that of ‘alignment’. In the case of the topic of this workshop, alignment means that first, the learning outcomes are clearly expressed in terms of what the students will be able to do by the end of a course; and secondly, the activities the students undertake in the course are designed specifically to achieve the learning outcomes – that is, the activities are aligned to the learning outcomes.


What this means is that course design occurs ‘backwards’ by first identifying the desired outcomes, then designing the course backwards from the outcomes.

Aims

The aim of this workshop is to identify outcomes for the teaching undertaken by the Library, fine-tune outcomes, critique and develop outcomes, and to use the outcomes to begin to design learning activities for students.

Outcomes


  1. By the end of this workshop, you will be able to:
  2. Identify the significant types and areas of learning you want your students to achieve
  3. Specify clear learning outcomes that inform students as to what they are expected to be able to do at the end of your courses
  4. Design appropriate learning activities that enable students to achieve the learning outcomes

Workshop Activities

Type of activity Purpose Timing
Introductory discussion in pairs, and whole group 1.     To establish what participants already know about writing learning outcomes

2.     To articulate the challenges in writing learning outcomes

3.     To identify aspects of writing learning outcomes participants would like to know more about

 

20mins
Identification of key learning areas you want for your students


 

1.     To work with pre-established groups and scenarios

2.     To identify in groups what qualities and abilities a student finishing a course based on your scenarios will have achieved

3.     To finish with a paragraph that describes everything a successful student can now do as a consequence of the course based on the scenarios


 

20mins
Outcomes development Each group divides in half. Each half works on one scenario and develops specific learning outcomes for the scenario. The groups are encouraged to use Bloom’s Taxonomy.

 

30mins
Feedback and development Each sub-group gives their learning outcomes to the other sub-group who check the learning outcomes against the original group description and offer a critique and suggestions

 

20mins
Whole group development of learning outcomes The whole group pools all suggestions and critiques to work on a final set of learning outcomes for each scenario. 20mins
Presentations Each group presents a set of learning outcomes for one scenario with some justification

 

15mins
Developing aligned learning activities Sub-groups take the learning outcomes for their scenario and discuss what the appropriate learning activities might be to achieve the learning outcomes

 

20mins
Critique of learning outcomes and learning activities in terms of perceived alignment Sub-groups swap learning outcomes and suggested activities and provide a critique based on the concept of alignment

 

20mins

 


Resources

  1. Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives
  2. Rollover 3D Representation of the Taxonomy
  3. Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy
  4. Bloomin’ Apps
  5. Setting Learning Outcomes by Macquarie University
  6. Planning tips – Learning Activities by University of Queensland