eLearning Developer for Nottingham Trent Uni and Associate Lecturer for the OU. Curious about most stuff!

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Does the presence of learning outcomes improve student learning?

Posted 8 years.


  • Dmytro - 8 years ago

    Learning outcomes yuck! I'll wax too long and I'll wax too political: Will there be no more serendipitous journeys through a topic and stupendous and amazing insights by students because we are constricted by this high-stakes testing-driven learning outcomes mantra. I know, I know, you can make the outcome more organic and it need not be so constrictive, still what happened to the art of teaching, is the bio-medical science approach and constant assessment the only model left standing? Put me down as a no then!

  • Nick Horrigan - 8 years ago

    Learning Outcomes - sends shivers down my spine and not in a good way ! it sounds like box tick type learning in my humble opinion. The process is always the pivotal component of learning for me and leaving room for the 'happy accident' as we say in the arts. However if the learning outcome is a series of further queries then maybe its a good thing.

  • Chris Lowthorpe - 8 years ago

    I'm personally not sure they do, but the feedback I receive form students seems to suggest the opposite. Student comments always say they like to know what they are doing in each session, so they can assess whether they've achieved it.

    I'm moving away from a 'broadcast' delivery into a more participatory classroom, and this means that learning outcomes need to become more flexible to allow for tangential learning etc. However, I think the students still like an initial overview of what we are aiming for, so we can discuss whether we got there or someplace else instead.

  • Sarah Horrigan - 8 years ago

    I think that solely aiming for the outcomes as in 'not an objective' but 'this will be the outcome of your learning' can lead to a very dry learning experience for students. I think it runs the risk of devaluing emergent or unintended outcomes of learning. I would love to read some research which indicated the real value in terms of student learning experience gain. They seem to be an administrative / QA tool so often...

  • Toby Adams - 8 years ago

    I can see why people see this not to be of benefit as watching lessons opening with an objective always seems a bit rigid and old-school to me. I think perhaps modular, term, unit or year outcomes are of benefit though. There is nothing worse than doing something but not knowing what your working towards in the longer term.

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