How do I write a learning outcome?


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For your project work for this course, you need to write at least two learning outcomes. Our suggestion is that you write one for literacy and another for numeracy.

These learning outcomes need to focus on a skill that you want to develop in a specific context.

For example, you might want to focus on developing specialised vocabulary in the context of reading a complicated recipe. If it was numeracy, you might need to look at developing learners understanding of area in the context of a farming or horticulture.

You can make changes as you go along, but the idea is that your learning outcomes should guide what you do over the next three assessments. This includes using diagnostic assessments, planning and teaching and then measuring your learners’ progress.

Writing a learning outcome for embedded literacy or numeracy is easy if you do it our way. Just like with writing your broad strategies, we have a process for you to work through.

If you already know how to write embedded learning outcomes, feel free to skip ahead to the assessment template and get underway.

Otherwise, stay here and we’ll walk you through the process. Following the overview, you can download the worksheets you need and record your ideas for learning outcomes as you work through the rest of this module.

If you want all of the worksheets now, they are also here:

  • Reading – Writing your own learning outcomes
  • Writing – Writing your own learning outcomes
  • Number – Writing your own learning outcomes
  • Measure – Writing your own learning outcomes

1. Think of a specific context where your learners need to apply these skills

If you were about to start a new course with new learners this might be something they need to learn in the first week of training. For example:

  • an introduction to health and safety in the engineering workshop.

Alternatively, you might know that your existing class was about to start a practical project where they had to cut pieces of timber to build a picnic table, the context might look like this:

  • building a picnic table according to a plan.

It’s important to define a very specific context for your learning outcome. The reason is that these outcomes will guide everything we do from here.

When you wrote your big picture strategies you contextualised them to your programme as a whole. This time, when you write your learning outcomes you’re narrowing your focus and contextualising them to some very specific aspects of the content that you teach.

Often, the more specific and narrow you can be about this the better.

2. Target a specific skill that you want them to learn or practice

You should have already identified specific literacy and numeracy skills. These are the progressions and steps from your mapping in the last assessment. And you might have also built these into your strategies in the previous module.

Now, just identify what the skill or knowledge is that you want to focus on.

For example, in a new course students may have to read or view content online that contains a lot of unfamiliar and highly specialised words. The specific skill literacy area that you might want to focus on could be this:

  • Technical vocabulary

Then add your context from the last step, like this:

  • Technical vocabulary in the context of an introduction to health and safety in the engineering workshop.

If it was something else, using a metric tape accurately measure and then cut pieces of timber for a picnic table, you might write something like this:

  • How to use millimeters and metres to measure and cut length

Again, we can add the context from the previous step:

  • How to use millimeters and metres to measure and cut length in the context of building a picnic table according to a plan.

3. Frame the learning

Here we’re talking about what kind of learning you want to see. You can frame the learning in different ways. It depends on the level of your learners and whether you want to make it easier or more challenging.

Here are some words you can use to frame the learning. These words sit on a poutama or staircase. At the lower levels are words that describe learning that is less demanding. As you go up the stairs, the learning gets harder. Each level assumes that they can do the one below.

Apply

Use

Demonstrate

Understand

Explain

Discuss

Remember

Identify

Describe

Choose one of the words and add it to the front of your statement. For example:

  • Understand technical vocabulary in the context of an introduction to health and safety in the engineering workshop.
  • Demonstrate how to use millimeters and metres to measure and cut length in the context of building a picnic table according to a plan.

What we’re suggesting here is a guide. You know your programme and your content. If you can think of ways of tweaking, improving, or simplifying your learning outcomes you should do it. It’s normal to go through several drafts before you come up with something that really works well.

For example, the second example above could be simplified like this:

  • Use millimeters and metres to measure and cut length in the context of building a picnic table according to a plan.

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