Learning Objective/Outcome Checklist
Learning objectives/outcomes are a central and key element for courses. A well structured and rigorous course begins with measurable learning outcomes that help students identify which skills, knowledge and attitudes they should gain by the end of a course. All of the courses assessments, activities and learning materials should be aligned with and directly related to the learning outcomes (course alignment).
The purpose of this information and checklist is to aid those who assess and/or build course syllabi to have criteria with which to assess the learning outcomes, alignment and/or other aspects of a syllabus, in order to make our course syllabi excellent.
The first step is to read this brief page on developing learning outcomes and this page on learning objectives and rigor. This will orient you to the definition, terminology and taxonomy that help create and assess learning outcomes.
Next, here is a checklist that you can use to assess the learning objectives/outcomes for any syllabus and help ensure they are measurable:
Do the outcomes use action verbs, per the Bloom's Revised Taxonomy as mentioned on the developing learning outcomes page linked above?
Do the outcomes avoid using any vague verbs like "understand," "comprehend," "know," "discuss" etc., that don't contain enough of a suggestion of how students will be observed or assessed?
Recognize that cybercrime is very prevalent and every employee is a target.
Understand social engineering and the warning signs that can point to an attack
Demonstrate security awareness skills by taking actions that minimize risks from cyberthreats
Are the outcomes general knowledge, skills, or values that a student can demonstrate after completing the course and/or their degree - as opposed to a list of tasks or topics they will complete during the course?
Write a 5 page paper on the social determinants of health.
Differentiate between social determinants of health as they relate to current federal policies.
Are the outcomes "student-centered" - in other words based on what students will do, demonstrate or be assessed on, (as opposed to what the instructor will do). For example: "Discuss the history of social welfare research" - will students actually be discussing this? Is the end outcome that students will be able to lead such a discussion? Will students be assessed on their ability to discuss this? Or is that an activity that will occur in class - and maybe the students will actually be expected to "apply historical aspects of social welfare research to analyze a current political event" - which will be assessed based on a paper that students turn in?
Do the outcomes refer to the audience, behavior, condition, and degree.? (The audience and condition are generally included in the lead-in statement ("At the end of this course [condition], students [audience] should be able to..."), and the behavior is the measurable verb. Thus, when writing measurable outcomes, the remainder of the outcome is called the degree, or "how the behavior will need to be performed." For more information, please read Writing Learning Outcomes: ABCD Method: An Introduction.
In terms of "alignment" - all of the course assessments (both formative and summative) should be assessing the student achievement of one or more learning outcomes. Likewise, all learning outcomes should have some corresponding assessment that measures student achievement.
Further Reading - IDEA Team Resources
The Importance of Learning Objectives and Rigor
Online/Hybrid Pedagogy - assessments, active learning, problem-based learning, flipped classroom