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How do we design Programmes at Third Level using Learning Outcomes within the Bologna Framework?


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Title: How do we design Programmes at Third Level using Learning Outcomes within the Bologna Framework?

How do we design Programmes at Third Level using
Learning Outcomes within the Bologna Framework?
  • Presentation 2
  • 20 May 2016
  • Don State Technical University
  • Rostov-on-Don, Russia.
  • Dr Declan Kennedy,
  • Department of Education,
  • University College Cork, Ireland.

  1. What are Programme Learning Outcomes?
  2. How do I write Programme Learning Outcomes?
  3. How do I link Programme Learning Outcomes to
    Module Learning Outcomes.
  4. How do I design programmes using Learning
    Outcomes within the Bologna Framework?

Writing Programme Learning Outcomes
  • Programme learning outcomes are learning outcomes
    that describe the essential knowledge, skills and
    attitudes that it is intended that graduates of
    the programme will be able to demonstrate.
  • The rules for writing learning outcomes for
    programmes are the same as those for writing
    learning outcomes for modules.
  • The general guidance in the literature is that
    there should be 5 10 learning outcomes for a
    programme and that only the minimum number of
    outcomes considered to be essential be included.

Two types of Programme Learning Outcomes
  1. The first type of learning outcome refers to
    those learning outcomes that can be assessed
    during the programme, i.e. within the various
  2. Aspirational or desirable learning outcomes
    indicate what a good quality student would be
    expected to achieve by the end of the programme.
    This type of learning outcome may not be assessed
    at all but gives an indication to employers and
    other agencies the type of standard of practical
    performance that graduates of the programme will
    display at the end of the programme.

Example of Programme Learning Outcomes BSc(Ed)
  • On successful completion of this programme,
    students should be able to
  • Recognise and apply the basic principles of
    classroom management and discipline.
  • Identify the key characteristics of excellent
    teaching in science.
  • Develop comprehensive portfolios of lesson plans
    that are relevant to the science curricula in
  • Evaluate the various theories of Teaching and
    Learning and apply these theories to assist in
    the creation of effective and inspiring science
  • Critically evaluate the effectiveness of their
    teaching of science in the second-level school
  • Display a willingness to co-operate with members
    of the teaching staff in their assigned school.
  • Foster an interest in science and a sense of
    enthusiasm for science subjects in their pupils.
  • Synthesise the key components of laboratory
    organisation and management and perform
    laboratory work in a safe and efficient manner.
  • Communicate effectively with the school community
    and with society at large in the area of science

Further Example of Programme Learning Outcomes
Undergraduate Engineering Degree
  • On successful completion of this programme,
    students should be able to
  • Derive and apply solutions from knowledge of
    sciences, engineering sciences, technology and
  • Identify, formulate, analyse and solve
    engineering problems.
  • Design a system, component or process to meet
    specified needs and to design and conduct
    experiments to analyse and interpret data.
  • Work effectively as an individual, in teams and
    in multi-disciplinary settings together with the
    capacity to undertake lifelong learning.
  • Communicate effectively with the engineering
    community and with society at large.

Further Example of Programme Learning Outcomes
  • On successful completion of this programme,
    students should be able to
  • Perform problem solving in academic and
    industrial environments.
  • Use, manipulate and create large computational
  • Work effectively as a team member.
  • Organise and pursue a scientific or industrial
    research project.
  • Write theses and reports to a professional
    standard, equivalent in presentational qualities
    to that of publishable papers.
  • Prepare and present seminars to a professional
  • Perform independent and efficient time
  • Use a full range of IT skills and display a high
    standard of computer literacy. Postgrad Comp Sc

Skills in broad sense
Note the overlap!
(No Transcript)
Beware of this Tuning Publication!
  • The authors of this publication
  • Have invented their own incorrect definition of
    learning outcomes and give incorrect information
    on how to write Learning Outcomes
  • Use a definition of Competences which is in
    conflict with the definition of Competence used
    in the European Qualifications Framework.
  • Are confused about the relationship between
    Competence and Learning Outcomes and Incorrectly
    links learning outcomes to competences
  • Confuses the concept of learning outcomes with
    the assessment of learning outcomes. The authors
    do not appear to realise that the extent to which
    a learning is achieved is measured by the
    assessment of the learning outcome.
  • Incorrectly link learning outcomes to particular
    levels in degree programmes.
  • Many of the exemplars given of Learning Outcomes
    are incorrectly written.
  • Give misleading statements implying that in order
    to be compliant with Bologna you must be
    compliant with Tuning. The authors fail to point
    out that the Bologna Process does not require any
    compliance with Tuning project.
  • Fail to point out the problem with Competences
    and Quality Assurance Systems.
  • A dreadful publication!

Gibbs, A, Kennedy D and Vickers A (2012) Learning
Outcomes, Degree Profiles, Tuning Project and
Competences. Journal of the European Higher
Education Area 15 (5) 71 87
Relating competences, objectives and learning
  • The relationship between competences, objectives
    and learning outcomes is discussed by Hartel and
    Foegeding (2004) in area of Food Engineering.
  • In this paper they define competence as a
    general statement detailing the desired knowledge
    and skills of students graduating from our course
    or program.

  • Competence
  • The student should be able to use the mass and
    energy balances for a given food process.
  • Objectives
  • Understand scope of mass balances in food
    processing systems.
  • Understand appropriate use of mole fractions and
    mass fractions in mass balances
  • Learning outcomes
  • Describe the general principles of mass balances
    in steady state systems.
  • Draw and use process flow diagrams with labels on
    flow streams for mass balance problems.
  • Solve mass balance problems associated with food
    processing operations.
  • Design and solve mass balances for complex
    process flow systems, including batch mixing
    problems, multiple stage flow problems, problems
    with multiple inflows and outflows, recycle
    streams and multiple components, and processes
    where chemical reactions take place.
  • Hartel and Foegeding (2004)

Competence a fuzzy concept(Van der Klink and
  • Van der Klink and Boon (2002) describe
    competence as a fuzzy concept
  • On the positive side they state it is a useful
    term, bridging the gap between education and job

  • Van der Klink and Boon (2002) attempt to trace
    the different interpretations of the concept of
    competence within the educational systems of
    various countries
  • There is considerable confusion about what
    competency actually means First, differences can
    be observed between nations along the lines of
    different national educational policies and
    different types of relations between education
    and the labour market, many of which have an
    historic origin. In the British approach it
    refers to the ability to meet the performance
    standards for functions and professions such as
    those developed for National Vocational
    Qualifications (NVQs) in the UK. In the USA,
    competencies refer to the skills, knowledge and
    characteristics of persons, that is traits,
    motives and self-concept, which contribute to
    performance excellence. .. More than in the UK
    or the USA, the German perspective stresses a
    holistic view of competency. It is not just a
    random collection of skills and knowledge.
    Competencies are defined as integrated action
    programmes that enable individuals to perform
    adequately in various job contexts within a
    specific profession

  • (Van der Klink and Boon, 2002)

(No Transcript)
Conclusions re Competence
  • There is no single definition of the term
    competence. Descriptions of the term competence
    range from that of a broad overarching attribute
    to that of a very specific task. This is in
    contrast with the clear definition of the concept
    of a learning outcome found in the literature .
  • One of the big problems encountered when using
    competences is that there does not appear to be
    any clear guidelines on how they should be
    written. In contrast to this, the guidelines for
    writing learning outcomes are very clearly laid
    out in the literature.
  • In general, if someone achieves a Learning
    Outcome they reach a level of competence.
    Competence may be viewed as a result of achieving
    a set of Learning Outcomes in the workplace.
  • Achieving of Learning Outcomes is a stage on a
    way to becoming competent, i.e. Learning Outcomes
    and Competences can complement each other but we
    must be careful how we define competences.

  • One of the reasons for the debate about the
    usefulness of managerial competence may be the
    soft focus and blurred edges of the term
    competence. Social science has the habit of
    taking a word from our common vocabulary and
    altering the meaning by it adoption as a
    technical or academic term. This process is still
    happening to competence and a common consensus
    has yet to be established as to what the word
    should mean when used in management applications.
  • (Brown, 1994)

  • The fact that the concept of competencies
    serves as a remedy for solving rather different
    problems probably has to do with its diffuse
    nature. It is actually an ill-defined concept
    with no clear content, thus allowing ample
    interpretations. This major vagueness is partly
    caused by the application of the concept in
    various countries, different settings and for
    different purposes. Its vagueness is probably at
    the same time the explanation for its prominent
    status today but it makes it difficult to use the
    concept as a sound cornerstone for designing HRD
    Human Resource Development and educational
  • (Van der Klink and Boon, 2003)

  • It is obvious from the literature that within
    certain professions, the term competence has a
    shared meaning. Hence, there is no problem with
    using the concept of competence since there is a
    common understanding of its meaning among the
    members of that profession.
  • The problem arises when the term competence is
    used in a general context without defining what
    is meant by the term.
  • Given the considerable confusion in the
    literature, if the term competence must be used,
    then its meaning needs to be clearly defined for
    the context in which it is being used.

  • Therefore, in order to avoid confusion it is
    recommended that when using the term competence,
    the following guidelines should be followed
  • State the definition of competence that is being
    used in the particular context.
  • To ensure clarity of meaning, write competences
    using the vocabulary of learning outcomes, i.e.
    express the required competence in terms of the
    students achieving specific programme learning
    outcomes or module learning outcomes.

  • Since there is not a common understanding of the
    term competence, learning outcomes have become
    more commonly used than competences when
    describing what students are expected to know,
    understand and/or be able to demonstrate at the
    end of a module or programme.
  • The fuzziness of competences disappears in the
    clarity of learning outcomes!
  • In short, use Learning Outcomes to clarify
    what is meant by a statement of Competence.
  • In short, use Learning Outcomes to clarify
    what is meant by a statement of Competence.
  • In short, use Learning Outcomes to clarify
    what is meant by a statement of Competence.

Examples of Language used when writing Programme
Learning Outcomes
  • Knowledge
  • Discuss a wide variety of.
  • Outline a broad range of fundamental concepts..
  • Describe the theories and concepts in the field
  • Identify a range of processes used in.
  • Discuss relationships between the various areas
  • Examine current theory in the area of
  • Critique modern theories in the area of .
  • Examine and evaluate current problems in the area
    of .. etc.

  • Skills (in broad sense as in European
    Qualifications Framework)
  • Apply a range of techniques to solve
  • Modify techniques in the area of .. to solve.
  • Link theory with practice in order to
  • Analyse data to facilitate decision making in the
    area of
  • Utilise appropriate methods, skills and
    techniques to solve.
  • Exhibit proficiency in using a broad range of
    routine laboratory techniques in the field of..
  • Recognise limitations in the areas of
  • Link relevant theories to the development of a
    design to.
  • Utilise appropriate models and techniques in the
    area of . to
  • Select and apply the most suitable techniques to
    solve problems in the areas of..

  • Skills (continued)
  • Apply appropriate decision making to achieve high
    standards of performance in the area of.
  • Identify appropriate solutions to plan future
    developments in the area of
  • Select appropriate instrumental methods to
  • Utilise existing strategies to design
  • Evaluate existing problems in the area of .in
    order to.
  • Initiate research ides and evaluate research
    related publications in the area of.
  • Implement work objectives and exercise leadership
    in ..

  • Skills (continued)
  • Combine technical skills to define a problem in
    the area of .. and implement suggested
    solutions to.
  • Apply technical knowledge in the area of to
    solve problems related to
  • Recognise existing strategies to facilitate
    solutions in the area of..
  • Formulate options and solutions to
  • Diagnose problems and suggest solutions in the
    area of.
  • Transfer methodologies to new applications in the
    area of..
  • Integrate a range of acquired transferable skills
    such as .

  • Skills (continued)
  • Develop your personal capabilities in order to .
  • Engage with new developments and practices in
    order to
  • Recognise the need for life-long learning and
    professional development in the area of.
  • Identify and address continuing requirements for
    professional development in the area of
  • Contribute to the future development of the field
  • Interpret relevant regulations in the area of ..
  • Recognise the relationship between science,
    technology and society in the area of.
  • Critically appraise research in the area of.
    and evaluate the work of peers.
  • etc.

  • Attitudes
  • Display an appropriate standard of professional
    practice in the area of
  • Embrace responsibility for the welfare of
  • Display personal ethical standards in the area
  • Articulate and defend the need for personal
    responsibility and ethical considerations in the
    workplace for..
  • Work ethically and professionally as part of a
  • Act appropriately in unfamiliar situations in the
    area of.
  • Apply appropriate ethical considerations when
  • Work as a member of a team to manage.
  • Accept accountability for achieving
  • Work autonomously or as a member of a team in
    order to.. etc.

(No Transcript)
Example Programme Learning Outcomes for MSc in
  • PLO1 Discuss the interdisciplinary relationship
    between the various specialised areas of
    Toxicology in providing informed scientific
    debate of current, topical issues in Toxicology.
  • PLO2 Evaluate current scientific problems which
    are at the forefront of Toxicology, Pharmacology,
    Biotechnology, Molecular Biology, Environmental
    Science, Nanomaterials and Food Science.
  • PLO 3 Exhibit proficiency in a broad range of
    routine laboratory experimental and advanced
    specialised research techniques in the field of
  • PLO 4 Select and apply the most suitable
    experimental techniques necessary to solve a
    Toxicological problem and develop new skills to a
    high level in emerging experimental techniques in
    the field.

  • PLO 5 Integrate the range of acquired generic,
    transferable skills (e.g. business skills,
    communication skills, numerical and statistical
    skills, ITC, problem- solving, decision making,
    management, team-work, innovation and
    entrepreneurship) necessary for graduates
    working as a Professional Toxicologists.
  • PLO 6 Initiate research proposals, interpret and
    critically evaluate research related publications
    in the domain of Toxicology and demonstrate
    leadership skills as part of an interdisciplinary
    scientific research/industrial or management
  • PLO 7 Contribute professionally to the future
    development of the field of Toxicology through
    applied study or further research.
  • PLO 8 Critically appraise scientific research and
    apply integrated approaches to accurately assess
    and critically evaluate the work of scientific

Example of Mapping of Programme Learning Outcomes
on to Module Learning Outcomes
Programme Learning Outcomes
Module Learning Outcomes
What are the benefits and potential problems of
Learning Outcomes?
The benefits of Learning Outcomes
  • Help to explain more clearly to students what is
    expected of them and thus help to guide them in
    their studies motivation and sense of purpose
  • Help teachers to focus more clearly on what
    exactly they want students to achieve in terms of
    knowledge and skills.
  • Help teachers to clarify their thinking about
    what they want to achieve and the common language
    of learning outcomes helps to facilitates
    discussion with colleagues.
  • Helps to define the assessment criteria more
  • Help to provide guidance to employers about the
    knowledge and understanding possessed by
    graduates of programmes, i.e. show the value of
    the programme in terms of programme learning
    outcomes and module learning outcomes.
  • Help to start discussion on Teaching and Learning
    in third level institutions.

Transnational Implications of Learning Outcomes
  • Learning Outcomes have applications at three
  • Local level individual third level institutions
    for describing modules and programmes.
  • National level within each country for
    describing National Qualification Frameworks and
    systems for Quality Assurance.
  • International Level facilitate clarity and
    transparency of qualifications and mutual
    recognition of qualifications.
  • Learning outcomes provide the common language in
    the clear description of programmes and modules.
    The ECTS system provides the common currency.

International Recognition and Mobility
  • Learning outcomes are important for recognition,
    since the basis for recognition procedures is in
    the process of shifting from quantitative
    criteria such as the length and type of courses
    studied, to the outcomes reached and competencies
    obtained during these studies. The principal
    question asked of the student or the graduate
    will therefore no longer be What did you do to
    obtain your degree? but rather What can you do
    now you have obtained your degree?. This
    approach is of more relevance to the labour
    market and is certainly more flexible when taking
    into account issues of lifelong learning,
    non-traditional learning and other forms of
    non-formal educational experiences
  • Council of Europe, 2002.

Potential problems with Learning Outcomes
  • Could limit learning if learning outcomes written
    within a very narrow framework lack of
    intellectual challenge to learners.
  • Learning outcomes should not be reductionist but
    rather expansive and intended to promote the
    higher order thinking skills.
  • Danger of assessment-driven curriculum if
    learning outcomes too confined.
  • Could give rise to confusion among students and
    staff if guidelines not adhered to when drawing
    up learning outcomes, etc.

Assessment of Learning Outcomes
  • Having designed modules and programmes in terms
    of learning outcomes, we must now find out if our
    students have achieved these intended learning
  • How will I know if my students have achieved the
    desired learning outcomes? How will I measure the
    extent to which they have achieved these learning
  • Therefore, we must consider how to match the
    method of assessment to the different kinds of
    learning outcomes e.g. a Learning Outcome such as
    Demonstrate good presentation skills could be
    assessed by the requirement that each student
    makes a presentation to their peers.
  • When writing learning outcomes the verb is often
    a good clue to the assessment technique.

Formative Assessment
  • Assessment FOR learning gives feedback to
    students and teachers to help modify teaching and
    learning activities, i.e. helps inform teachers
    and students on progress being made.
  • Assessment is integrated into the teaching and
    learning process.
  • Clear and rich feedback helps improve performance
    of students (Black and Williams, 1998).
  • Usually carried out at beginning or during a
    programme, e.g. coursework which gives feedback
    to students.
  • Can be used as part of continuous assessment, but
    some argue that it should not be part of grading
    process (Donnelly and Fitzmaurice, 2005)

Summative Assessment
  • Assessment that summarises student learning at
    end of module or programme Assessment OF
  • Sums up achievement no other use.
  • Generates a grade or mark.
  • Usually involves assessment using the traditional
  • Only a sample of the Learning Outcomes are
    assessed cannot assess all the Learning

Continuous Assessment
  • A combination of summative and formative
  • Usually involves repeated summative assessments.
  • Marks recorded.
  • Little or no feedback given.

Assessing learning outcomes points to consider
  • Learning outcomes statements of what a student
    will know, understand, and/or be able to do at
    the end of a learning experience.
  • Having described your courses in terms of
    learning outcomes, you now want to find out
    whether students have achieved them
  • Specify the types of student performance that
    will provide evidence of learning

Common assessment techniques in Higher Education
  • Paper/thesis
  • Project
  • Product development
  • Performance
  • Exhibition
  • Case study.
  • Clinical evaluation
  • Oral exam
  • Interview
  • Research assignment
  • Portfolio
  • Others??

  • One of the big challenges is to move away from
    assessment based solely on terminal exams not
    intelligence fair, forcing all kinds of learning
    to fit into the paper and pencil test straight
  • Purposes of Assessment feedback, diagnosis,
    motivation, guidance, learning support,
    selection, grading, certification, progression,
    professional recognition, gate-keeping..

Example of Matching the Assessment to the
Learning Outcome
  • Learning outcomes
  • Demonstrate good presentation skills.
  • Formulate food product
  • Identify an area for research
  • Identify signs and symptoms of MS in a patient
  • Assessment?
  • Multiple choice questions
  • Prepare a 1000-word research proposal
  • Lab-based project
  • Make a presentation to peers

Assessing your assessment is it doing the job
you want it to do? Is it comprehensive?
Assessment Task 1 e.g. Written Exam Assessment Task 2 e.g. Project Assessment Task 3 e.g. Presentation Assessment Task 4 e.g. Lab work
Learning Outcome 1 Describe
Learning Outcome 2 Investigate..
Learning Outcome 3 Demonstrate..
To what extent has each Learning Outcome been
  • Not a question of yes or no to achievement of
    Learning Outcomes.
  • Rubric A grading tool used to describe the
    criteria which are used in grading the
    performance of students.
  • Rubric provides a clear guide as to how students
    work will be assessed.
  • A rubric consists of a set of criteria and marks
    or grade associated with these criteria.

Linking learning outcomes and assessment
Learning outcome Assessment criteria Assessment criteria Assessment criteria Assessment criteria Assessment criteria
Grade 1 Grade 2 1 Grade 2 2 Pass Fail
On successful completion of this module, students should be able to Summarise evidence from the science education literature to support development of a line of argument. Outstanding use of literature showing excellent ability to synthesise evidence in analytical way to formulate clear conclusions. Very good use of literature showing high ability to synthesise evidence in analytical way to formulate clear conclusions. Good use of literature showing good ability to synthesise evidence in analytical way to formulate clear conclusions Limited use of literature showing fair ability to synthesise evidence to formulate conclusions. Poor use of literature showing lack of ability to synthesise evidence to formulate conclusions
  • Important to ensure that there is alignment
    between teaching methods, learning outcomes and
    assessment criteria.
  • Clear expectations on the part of students of
    what is required of them are a vitally important
    part of students effective learning (Ramsden,
  • This correlation between teaching, learning
    outcomes and assessment helps to make the overall
    learning experience more transparent and
    meaningful for students.
  • For the good teacher, learning outcomes do not
    involve a paradigm shift.

Teaching for understanding
Learning outcomes
There is a dynamic equilibrium between teaching
strategies and Learning Outcomes.
It is important that the assessment tasks mirror
the Learning Outcomes since, as far as the
students are concerned, the assessment is the
curriculum From our students point of view,
assessment always defined the actual curriculum
(Ramsden, 1992). Biggs (2003) represents this
graphically as follows
Teacher Learning Teaching Perspectives Object
ives Outcomes Activities Assessment Student Pe
rspectives Assessment Learning
Activities Outcomes
To the teacher, assessment is at the end of the
teaching-learning sequence of events, but to the
student it is at the beginning. If the curriculum
is reflected in the assessment, as indicated by
the downward arrow, the teaching activities of
the teacher and the learner activities of the
learner are both directed towards the same goal.
In preparing for the assessment, students will be
learning the curriculum (Biggs 2003)
Constructive Alignment (Biggs, 2005)
  • Constructive
  • The students construct understanding for
    themselves through learning activities. Teaching
    is simply a catalyst for learning (Biggs, 2003).
  • If students are to learn desired outcomes in a
    reasonably effective manner, then the teachers
    fundamental task is to get students to engage in
    learning activities that are likely to result in
    their achieving those outcomes. It is helpful to
    remember that what the student does is actually
    more important in determining what is learned
    than what the teacher does (Shuell, 1986)
  • Alignment
  • Alignment refers to what the teacher does in
    helping to support the learning activities to
    achieve the learning outcomes.
  • The teaching methods and the assessment are
    aligned to the learning activities designed to
    achieve the learning outcomes.
  • Aligning the assessment with the learning
    outcomes means that students know how their
    achievements will be measured.

  • Constructive alignment is the deliberate linking
    within curricula of aims, learning outcomes,
    learning and teaching activities and assessment.
  • Learning Outcomes state what is to be achieved in
    fulfilment of the aims.
  • Learning activities should be organised so that
    students will be likely to achieve those
  • Assessment must be designed such that students
    are able to demonstrate that they have met the
    learning outcomes.
  • Constructive alignment is just a fancy name for
    joining up the dots.
  • (Morss and
    Murray, 2005)

Steps involved in linking Learning Outcomes,
Teaching and Learning Activities and Assessment
  1. Clearly define the learning outcomes.
  2. Select teaching and learning methods that are
    likely to ensure that the learning outcomes are
  3. Choose a technique or techniques to assess the
    achievement of the learning outcomes.
  4. Assess the learning outcomes and check to see how
    well they match with what was intended

If the learning outcomes are clearly written, the
assessment is quite easy to plan!
Linking Learning Outcomes, Teaching and Learning
Activities and Assessment
Learning Outcomes Teaching and Learning Activities Assessment
Cognitive (Demonstrate Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, Evaluation) Affective (Integration of beliefs, ideas and attitudes) Psychomotor (Acquisition of physical skills) Lectures Tutorials Discussions Laboratory work Clinical work Group work Seminar Peer group presentation etc. End of module exam. Multiple choice tests. Essays. Reports on lab work and research project. Interviews/viva. Practical assessment. Poster display. Fieldwork. Clinical examination. Presentation. Portfolio. Performance. Project work. Production of artefact etc.
Learning outcomes Module ED2100 Teaching and Learning Activities Assessment 10 credit module Mark 200
Cognitive Recognise and apply the basic principles of classroom management and discipline. Identify the key characteristics of high quality science teaching. Develop a comprehensive portfolio of lesson plans Lectures (12)   Tutorials (6)   Observation of classes (6) of experienced science teacher (mentor) End of module exam.   Portfolio of lesson plans         (100 marks)
Affective Display a willingness to co-operate with members of teaching staff in their assigned school. Participate successfully in Peer Assisted Learning project Participation in mentoring feedback sessions in school (4)   Participation in 3 sessions of UCC Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) Programme.   Peer group presentation Report from school mentor       End of project report.     (50 marks)
Psychomotor Demonstrate good classroom presentation skills Perform laboratory practical work in a safe and efficient manner. Teaching practice 6 weeks at 2 hours per week.   Laboratory work Supervision of Teaching Practice     Assessment of teaching skills   (50 marks)
Does every learning outcome have to be assessed?
  • In theory yes but in practice no.
  • In some cases they have to be assessed, e.g.
    licence to practice (e.g. medicine) or to perform
    essential tasks (e.g. aircraft pilot).
  • When assessment is limited purely to an
    examination paper, it may not be possible to
    assess all the Learning Outcomes in such a short
    space of time sampling of Learning Outcomes.
  • Even if all the Learning Outcomes are assessed on
    an examination paper, due to choice of questions,
    a student may not be assessed on all of them.

Learning Outcomes and Level Descriptors on
Qualification Frameworks
  • A Learning outcome on its own does not give us an
    indication of the level of that learning outcome
    in a National Qualifications Framework.
  • The level of the programme in which the learning
    outcome (programme learning outcome or module
    learning outcome) is written must be indicated in
    the programme description.
  • The institution in which the programme is being
    taught must ensure
  • (a) that the programme learning outcomes map on
    to the relevant level in the National
    Qualifications Framework
  • (b) that the module learning outcomes map on to
    the programme learning outcomes.
  • (c) that within each module there is alignment
    between the Learning Outcomes, the Teaching and
    Learning Activities and the Assessment.

What other information, apart from the Learning
outcomes is needed to describe a module?
  • Credit Weighting Number of ECTS credits.
  • Teaching Period(s) Term 1, Term 2 or both. .
  • No. of Students Maximum number of students
    allowed to take the module.
  • Pre-requisite(s) Module(s) that should already
    have been passed by student.
  • Co-requisite(s) Another module that the student
    must take with this module.
  • Teaching Methods Details of number of lectures,
    tutorials, etc.
  • Module Co-ordinator Name of person in charge of
  • Lecturer(s) Name(s) of person(s) teaching the
    module. .

Module Description (continued)
  • Module Objective A sentence stating the
    objective of the module.
  • Module Content A list of topics covered in the
  • Learning Outcomes On successful completion of
    this module, students should be able to
  • List of learning outcomes.
  • Assessment Details of total mark for module and
    details of the breakdown of this total mark, e.g.
    written paper, continuous assessment, project,
  • Compulsory Elements Any part of assessment that
    MUST be passed in order to pass the module, e.g.
    professional practice component.
  • Penalties (for late submission of Course/Project
    Work etc.) Details of marks deducted for late
  • Pass Standard and any Special Requirements for
    Passing Module The minimum mark that must be
    obtained in order to pass the module.
  • End of Year Written Examination Profile Number
    and duration of examination papers.
  • Requirements for Supplemental Examination Number
    and duration and date of repeat examination for
    those who fail the module.

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Introducing Learning Outcomes at Third Level
Learning Outcomes in UCC
  • UCC participated in the European Universities
    Association Network on Quality in Teaching and
    Learning in 2003 2004. Implementing a Learning
    Outcomes Approach to Teaching Quality Culture
    Project IV (EUA).
  • Network of six EU universities involved.
  • Headed up by Prof. Aine Hyland, Education Dept.
    and Dr Norma Ryan Quality Promotion Unit UCC  An
    18 month project - the report was published in
    2005. The project concentrated on Learning
    Outcomes rather than Competences

A number of international conferences on Bologna
Process were held in University College Cork
how I became involved.  
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Centre for the Integration of Research, Teaching
and Learning
  • Set up in October 2006 Dr Marian McCarthy and
    Dr Bettie Higgs.
  • Has provided a continuous series of lunchtime
    seminars on Teaching and Learning throughout each
    academic year.
  • Taking a Learning Outcomes approach to Teaching
    and Learning
  • Learning Outcomes-how can we be sure they have
    been achieved?
  • Getting to Grips with Assessing Creative and
    Original Student work - Unpredictable Learning
  • Drop-in workshops on Learning Outcomes.

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Postgraduate Certificate, Diploma and MA in
Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
  • Initiated in October 2004.
  • To date 4 cycles of the Postgraduate Certificate
    course have been completed involving 170 staff
    now online.
  • A total of 90 staff members have completed the
    Postgraduate Diploma course.
  • The MA in Teaching and Learning at Higher
    Education has been completed by 20 staff members.
  • Has provided a great resource throughout the
    university seminars based in individual

1. Identify aims and objectives of module
Bottom up approach for existing modules
2. Write learning outcomes using standard
3. Develop a teaching and learning strategy to
enable students to achieve learning outcomes
4. Design assessment to check if learning
outcomes have been achieved
5. Check for Constructive Alignment. If necessary
modify module content, Teaching and Learning
Strategies and Assessment in light of findings
1. Identify Programme Learning Outcomes
Top Down Approach for designing new programmes
2. Design modules so that all Programme Learning
Outcomes are reflected in the module Learning
3. Assign ECTS credits to each module (1 year
60 ECTS credits)
4. Design Teaching, Learning and Assesment
strategies for each module (module descriptions).
5. Check that Constructive Alignment exists
between module LOs, Teaching and Learning
Activities and Assessment
Issues raised when introducing Learning Outcomes
  • Opposition to Bloom's Taxonomy. This should not
    present a problem to the writing of Learning
    Outcomes AS mentioned already, Bloom's Taxonomy
    is simply a very useful toolkit to assist us in
    writing learning outcomes. If staff members do
    not wish to use Blooms Taxonomy, they can use
    other taxonomies or use their own system to write
    learning outcomes. As long as staff members write
    learning outcomes that are correctly written,
    that is all that is important.
  • Preference to write competences. It is not a
    problem if people like to describe their courses
    in terms of competences. However, the Bologna
    Agreement specifies that modules and programmes
    must be written in Learning Outcomes. If staff
    members wish to write competences as well as
    Learning Outcomes, that is not a problem.
    Learning outcomes bring clarity to competences.

Concluding Points
  • Momentum generated by
  • European University Association project.
  • International Bologna conferences.
  • Setting up of Teaching and Learning Centre (Ionad
  • Postgraduate Cert/Diploma and MA in Teaching and
    Learning in Higher Education
  • Lunchtime seminars for staff.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Provide support to staff.
  • Staff training is the key.
  • Setting up of expertise within each Department
    Postgraduate Cert/Diploma course.
  • The UCC Quality Promotion Unit - the driving
  • A team effort.

Writing Learning Outcomes is a Process not an