Integrating Learning Outcomes

With all technology decision, there is a question of whether a specific tool, technique or technology is ‘fit for purpose’.  Thankfully, the easiest task we have in shifting to the online arena is identifying the ‘purpose’ to which our tools need to fit.  We can, and should, use the learning outcomes for a subject to ascertain whether an online action, method, or technology aids student progress by whether it leads students closer to their learning outcomes.

By starting with our Learning Outcomes and designing backwards to incorporate assessment (formative and summative) to reach those goals, we can make a course structure that supports the measurement and attainment of these transformational goals for the students. The conversion to online delivery then is based on whether a technology or technique aids the assessment or attainment of the learning outcome.

Questions to ask include:

  • What aspects of the learning outcomes require the following?
    • Observable deliverables (performance)
    • Computer facilitated outcomes (specific software requirements)
    • Person to person interaction (interpersonal skills)
    • Aspects that cannot be replicated in an interactive forum (e.g. lab conditions)
    • Aspects that can be created in an interactive forum that can’t be replicated offline.
  • What is the learning outcome prioritisation?
    • Core outcome: Can be attained through Emergency Remote Teaching level access if required
    • Secondary Outcome: Can be attained through online only delivery
    • Stretch Goal Outcome: May be able to be accessed through online and offline

Learning outcomes are central to course experience, assessment, and technology integration.  Online by Design requires embracing the learning outcome as a central design principle – all aspects of the course scaffold out from the question of “How can the lecturer observe the student performing or attaining this learning outcome?” Assessment is based on connection performance to outcome, and class structures can be set to support skills development and display to showcase student attainment of outcomes. Use the learning outcomes to determine what assessment tasks necessary to assess if the student has attained the required knowledge, demonstrates the necessary competence, or has reach a key attainment.