Student Learning Outcomes: Examples & Assessments

Instructor: Rachel Tustin

Dr. Rachel Tustin has a PhD in Education focusing on Educational Technology, a Masters in English, and a BS in Marine Science. She has taught in K-12 for more than 15 years, and higher education for ten years.

This lesson will cover the differences in writing student learning outcomes (SLO) versus traditional learning objectives. Included in this will be a breakdown of how to construct student learning objectives, as well as appropriate assessments for various types of SLOs.

Student Learning Outcomes: Examples and Assessments

When many of us went through teacher training, we were trained in a teacher-centered model of instruction. We were taught how to give lectures and write tests. As technology has made its way into the classroom, we have seen a shift in instruction to a more student-centered model of learning. These changes also mean that how we write students learning objectives has changed as well.

Student Learning Outcomes

As teachers, you're familiar with student learning objectives. Objectives are typically tied to the content of the course, and focus on what you will do in the classroom. For example, 'Students will learn to identify the major organelles in a cell.' This example would be an objective because it is broad, and focuses on what you will be teaching rather than the specifics of what the students will be expected to learn.

SLOs versus Learning Objectives

A student learning outcome (SLO) is a bit different in that it focuses on the skills that students are expected to master in a course. Unlike a learning objective, it is measurable. For example, an SLO would say 'Students will be able to identify and describe assigned cell organelles with 80% accuracy.' This example would be considered a student learning outcome because it specifically describes what a student needs to be able to do, including the level of accuracy they are expected to attain.

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