Student learning outcomes refer to the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that students are expected to acquire by the end of a course or program, while objectives are specific and measurable statements outlining what students should be able to do in order to achieve those outcomes. While outcomes are broader and more general, objectives provide clear guidelines for instructors to design assessments and instructional activities.
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Student learning outcomes (SLOs) and objectives are both important components of educational planning and assessment. However, there are distinct differences between the two.
Student learning outcomes refer to the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that students are expected to acquire by the end of a course or program. These outcomes are usually broader and more general in nature, capturing the overall goals and desired learning achievements of the educational experience. SLOs are often written in terms of what the students will be able to demonstrate or apply after completing the course or program.
On the other hand, objectives are specific and measurable statements that outline what students should be able to do in order to achieve the desired student learning outcomes. Objectives are more focused and provide clear guidelines for instructors to design assessments and instructional activities. These objectives break down the learning outcomes into smaller, manageable parts and provide a roadmap for instructional planning and evaluation. They are often written in behavioral terms, emphasizing what actions or behaviors the students should be able to exhibit at the end of each lesson or unit.
To illustrate this further, let’s consider an example scenario. Suppose the student learning outcome of a math course is for students to be able to solve complex algebraic equations. The corresponding objectives for achieving this outcome could include:
- Objective: Students will be able to simplify algebraic expressions.
- Objective: Students will be able to solve linear equations with one variable.
- Objective: Students will be able to solve quadratic equations using factoring.
These objectives provide specific milestones that students need to reach in order to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to solve complex algebraic equations, which align with the broader student learning outcome.
Albert Einstein once said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” This quote resonates with the idea of student learning outcomes and objectives. SLOs encompass the overall development of students’ abilities, while objectives provide the specific steps and milestones to guide their progress, ensuring that each student’s unique talents and potential are recognized and nurtured.
In summary, student learning outcomes and objectives are both essential elements of educational planning. While outcomes focus on broader goals, objectives provide specific and measurable steps to achieve those outcomes. By effectively utilizing both SLOs and objectives, educators can create clear learning paths for students, facilitating their growth and success.
| Student Learning Outcomes |
| – Broad goals and desired |
| achievements |
| – More general in nature |
| Objectives |
| – Specific and measurable |
| statements |
| – Provide clear guidelines |
| for instruction and |
| assessment |
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A learning outcome describes the overall purpose or goal from participation in an educational activity. Courses should be planned with a measurable learning outcome in mind. Objectives are used to organize specific topics or individual learning activities to achieve the overall learning outcome.
Student Learning Outcomes are statements that specify what students will know, be able to do or be able to demonstrate when they have completed or participated in a Course or Program. SLO’s specify an action by the student that must be observable, measurable and able to be demonstrated. Grades are objectives.
A learning objective is the instructor’s purpose for creating and teaching their course. These are the specific questions that the instructor wants their course to raise. In contrast, learning outcomes are the answers to those questions. They are the specific, measurable knowledge and skills that the learner will gain by taking the course.
However, the difference between goals or objectives and outcomes lies in the emphasis on who will be performing the activities.Learning goals and objectives generally describe what an instructor, program, or institution aims to do, whereas, a learning outcome describes in observable and measurable terms what a student is able to do as a result of completing a learning experience (e.g., course, project, or unit).
Key Difference: Learning Outcome refers to the expectations kept from the student at the end of the course. At the end of a course, many teachers take a test to determine what the student has learned from the course syllabus. Learning objective is described as what the student can expect from the teacher at the end of the course.
This video has the solution to your question
This video explores the distinction between learning objectives and learning outcomes. Learning objectives are statements that define the purpose of a lesson from the instructor’s perspective, whereas learning outcomes articulate the specific knowledge and skills that students should acquire. Learning objectives guide educators in terms of content, activities, assessments, and teaching time, while learning outcomes offer guidance to both educators and students. Learning outcomes establish measurable criteria to evaluate student progress and achievement. The speaker illustrates this difference by providing examples of learning objectives and outcomes in the context of English speaking skills, math numbers, and a science lesson on scientific inquiry.