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In brief:

Learning outcomes are important because they:

  • clarify the purpose of learning and the design of assessments;
  • identify important course content;
  • clarify Instructor expectations for the level of knowledge to acquire;
  • situate a course within a program.

How do learning outcomes help students?

  • They help students clarify what you expect them to do with their learning.
  • They help students identify the purpose of a course within their program.
  • You can map to specific chapters and course work to help students focus on important content in the course material.

You should always share your learning outcomes with students to ensure your expectations are transparent.

Your learning outcomes provide a map for your course planning and for program planning.

How do learning outcomes help Instructors?

They help Instructors:

  • clarify the knowledge, skills and values you want students to achieve;
  • align instructional strategies, class learning activities, and assessments to observable and measurable learning targets;
  • prioritize and select what to include (and what to exclude) from your course content;
  • identify how your course fits into the program curriculum.

How do learning outcomes help both students & Instructors?

  • They help you and your students monitor progress and identify areas to review or to explore in greater depth.
  • They provide a tangible map for the learning progression in a course or program.

The next section will:

  • distinguish the difference between teaching objectives and learning outcomes.

Further Resources   

For more information on the value of planning your course around learning outcomes, please refer to: https://www.cmu.edu/teaching/resources/Teaching/CourseDesign/Objectives/CourseLearningObjective sValue.pdf