Guide for Busy Academics Using Learning Outcomes to Design a Course and Assess Learning

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Guide for Busy Academics

Using Learning Outcomes to Design a Course and Assess Learning


HE learning comprises complex mixtures of knowledge, understanding, skills and broader capabilities that can be more or less demonstrated and assessed. It will also embody values, attitudes and behaviours that are difficult to assess directly but which are an important part of a student’s academic performance.

The higher education system is being encouraged to be more explicit about the nature of the learning that programmes and modules are intending to promote. For example, through QAA policies like programme specifications and subject benchmark statements ( In the last decade most HE institutions have adopted a learning outcomes approach in order to explain more precisely the learning that teachers are seeking to promote.
HE teachers are expected to be able

to show how:

  • the educational outcomes for a programme and learning outcomes for a module are being achieved;

  • that the assessment methods used are appropriate to test the achievement of the intended outcomes;

  • and that the criteria used to judge achievement are aligned to the intended learning outcomes.

This guide is designed to provide a basic introduction to these things.

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