Student learning outcomes are specific statements that describe the knowledge, skills, and values students are expected to learn upon completion of a course. Clear articulation of learning outcomes serves as the foundation to evaluating the effectiveness of the teaching and learning process.
A student learning outcome consists of three elements:
- An opening phrase to indicate who will demonstrate the learning. Typical opening phrases include “students will” or “graduates of the program will.”
- An action word that clearly describes the behavior to be observed. The action must be observable, measurable and/or able to be demonstrated. The action word indicates whether the student is expected to know, do, or value something.
- A learning statement that specifies the learning that will be demonstrated. This statement indicates what the student should know, be able to do, or value.
A well-written student learning outcome should:
- Use clear language. Your outcomes will be read by a number of audiences, including current students, prospective students, parents, and potential employers of your graduates. Write your outcomes in language that will allow your audience to understand what students in your program learn.
- Contain only one learning statement. Assessment will be more effective and manageable if each student learning outcome focuses on one element of learning.
- Be appropriate, realistic, and attainable. Students should realistically be able to achieve the learning outcome by completing your program. In addition, the type of learning expressed in the outcome should be appropriate to the student’s level (undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral student).
NLU Shared Student Learning Outcomes
The NLU Office of Assessment list six campus-wide shared student learning outcomes that fit within the conceptual framework and mission of National Louis University. They are:
- Students acquire content and conceptual knowledge.
- Students integrate content and conceptual knowledge into practice.
- Students communicate effectively to others.
- Students assess logically and critically to construct new knowledge.
- Students discern and enact social awareness, self-awareness and respect for human diversity.
- Students work collaboratively.
Assessing Learning Outcomes
For more information on how to assess your learning outcomes, see the Office of Teaching and Learning Assessment page
- Link to the OTL Assessment page