Articulate & Align Student Learning Outcomes

Create & Review Outcomes

Student learning outcomes state what students are expected to know or be able to do upon completion of a course or program. Course learning outcomes may contribute, or map to, program learning outcomes, and are required in group instruction course syllabi. At both the course and program level, student learning outcomes should be clear, observable and measurable, and reflect what will be included in the course or program requirements (assignments, exams, projects, etc.). Typically there are 3-7 course learning outcomes and 3-7 program learning outcomes.

Plan Student Learning Activities

Making decisions about what your students will do in and out of class meetings is part of the design process. As you construct your course, think about what kinds of activities support the course outcomes and unit objectives. Also consider where those activities should be located to facilitate the best outcomes with an appropriate investment of time.

Connect Activities to Unit Objectives

Once you have established your main student learning activities, you can focus students’ efforts by explicitly linking clear unit objectives to course activities. Describe for yourself how each activity supports the learning outcome(s) within one part of your course.

Example: This discussion question helps facilitate Unit Objective 3: Formulate and articulate arguments to defend your position on climate change.

Identify Purpose of Major Assessments

You may have begun the design process with an idea for how to evaluate students with quizzes, exams, papers and other assessments. The course design process offers an opportunity to articulate how your planned assessments will help you and your students gauge their learning progress throughout a course, as well as to identify any gaps in your assessment plan. Think of this step as implementing the UW-Madison Basic Assessment Cycle for your course.