Programme aims and learning outcomes
All taught programmes should have aims and learning outcomes. The two are closely linked:
- Programme aims are written from the perspective of the tutor. They set out the broad intention or purpose of the programme.
- Learning outcomes are written from the perspective of the learner. These are high level statements of the knowledge, skills and attributes that a student is expected to acquire by the end of a module, level of study, and overall programme.
Why set aims and learning outcomes?
Having a clear set of programme aims and learning outcomes is critical to the design of your programme and will inform decisions on:
When to set aims and learning outcomes
Departments should define or review their programme aims and outcomes whenever developing or reviewing a programme.
Setting aims and outcomes
- All aims and outcomes should be clear, concise and written in plain English.
- You will also need to set learning outcomes for any new modules, and be able to show how these contribute to the programme learning outcomes
- It’s best practice to also set learning outcomes for each level of study. These show how students progress and transition through each level of study.
A useful formula to follow is: 'By the end of this [module or programme] students will be able to [action word] in [context]'
Your choice of action word will depend on your subject matter and the knowledge or skills that students will acquire. Bloom's Taxonomy can help you to describe the appropriate level of learning. Examples:
Note: Beware of 'know,' 'understand' and 'be aware of.' These are difficult to measure.
|Programme and module aims||
On the Part B programme approval form you will be asked to provide 3-7 programme aims which set out the broad intention of the programme.
The same guidance applies to setting module learning outcomes, which you will need to provide when completing a module approbal (E-1) form.
|Programme learning outcomes||
On the Part B programme approval form you will need to provide 7-10 programme learning outcomes, and also indicate the programme aims these relate to. These are split into knowledge (K) and skills (S). Example below:
|Level Learning Outcomes||
Level learning outcomes describe the skills students are expected to develop over the course of each 'level' of study.
Departments should set level learning outcomes to:
While these aren't explicitly asked for currently on the Part B programme approval form, it's best practice to write these out in the same way you would for module and programme level outcomes.
Learning outcomes for different levels should include details of:
Note: it is possible that some PLOs are not covered at every level.