3 Identifying the essential learning outcomes

With this chapter, you’ll be able to identify the essential learning outcomes for your course.

Identify the essential learning outcomes (LOs)

The course’s intended learning outcomes and your intentions for the course should guide each of the subsequent decisions you make, such as students’ experience, class activities, and technology.

Identify the essential learning outcomes (LOs) for your course; course topics can be used here if you don’t have learning outcomes ready yet. Often, many less important LOs or topics need to be removed due to space and time limitations in the course.

Examples of learning outcomes:

  • Justify the mechanism of the reactions in the course using experimental evidence to compare possible reaction pathways
  • Demonstrate how evolutionary and ecological processes interact
  • Determine whether a given drug candidate is expected to be orally bioavailable; justify your decision
  • Use the definition of the derivative to find the derivative of a function and check your answer using the quotient rule

Divide the learning outcomes into modules

Types of jam

Dividing the LOs into modules, sections, or chapters will break up the course into manageable chunks. Students will need opportunities to hear/see the important information (e.g., short lectures), practice, and receive feedback (e.g., problem sets with answer keys, quizzes, assignments, exams).

To go deeper

If you choose to transform topics into LOs, here is a guide  from the University of Waterloo that can help.

Up next

In the next chapter, we will address communication and community-building in the course.

Please feel free to contact us at any time with questions, suggestions, and concerns. In particular, we check this form each semester and will continue to update this guide as the situation evolves.


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