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Written on 21/12/2012, 16:46 by webmaster
12-10-2012-former-senator-pryor-to-speak-at-ceremonyFormer U.S. Sen. David Pryor will be the commencement speaker at 7 p.m. on Thursday at South Arkansas Community College's Fall Commencement at the El...
Written on 21/12/2012, 16:45 by webmaster
11-29-2012-louisiana-history-at-southarkLouisiana History will be offered at South Arkansas Community College for the first time when spring classes start in January, according to Dr. Ken...
Written on 21/12/2012, 16:44 by webmaster
11-28-2012-free-holiday-concertThe South Arkansas Community College Choral Society's Holiday Festival Concert, free and open to the public, is at 7 p.m. on Dec. 10 at the El Dorado...
Written on 21/12/2012, 16:44 by webmaster
11-27-2012-ged-graduation-ceremony-dec-6A South Arkansas Community College general educational development graduation ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. on Dec. 6 in Room 121 of the Center for...
Written on 21/12/2012, 16:43 by webmaster
11-27-2012-barnhart-accepts-scholarshipTracey Barnhart, an early-childhood education major at South Arkansas Community College, has accepted a Mabel Stratton Powell Scholarship to attend the...

Objectives, Outcomes and Singing Dogs

So what is the difference between a learning objective and a learning outcome?

Learning Objectives
Learning Outcomes

describe specific, discrete units of knowledge

Example: The learner should be able to change the font of a document in a word processor.

describe broad aspects of behavior which demonstrate a wide range of knowledge

Example: The learner should be able to format a document in a word processor.

describe activities as specific tasks to be completed

Example: The learner should be able to insert an IV needle in an elderly patient.

involve broader skill sets which are transferable to a wide range of work settings

Example: The learner should be able to administer IV drugs to any patient.

can be accomplished within a short time

Example: The learner should be able to sketch an inanimate object sitting on a table.

accomplished over time in several learning experiences

Example: The learner should be able to sketch any visible inanimate object.

do not necessarily suggest that the behavior has been demonstrated

Example: The learner should know how to use a digital multimeter.

refer to demonstrations or performance

Example: The learner should be able to use a digital multimeter to measure voltage, resistance, and current on an AC circuit.


Singing Dogs: Some good and not so good examples of learner outcomes

My favorite assessment joke (yes there are assessment jokes):

Jack: Jill, come here! I've taught my dog to sing!

Jill: Ok, show me.

Jack: Fido, sing.

Meanwhile the dog looks confused and does nothing….

Jill: I thought you said he could sing?

Jack: I said that I taught him to sing, I didn't say he learned it.

Oddly enough, something similar happened to me in real life. My husband sent me a text message saying that he had taught Margot (our dog) how to sing Ave Maria. Needless to say, I didn't believe him but as I look back this activity seems like a perfect scenario to write learner outcomes.

Let us begin with the easy but not very clear option:

The learner (Dog) should know how to sing.

One of the most important parts of learner outcome is that they are measurable. Measuring what someone knows is difficult at best. When writing outcomes, consider using action verbs associated with Bloom's taxonomy. In this case, the action verb is obvious: to sing. If we rewrite our learner outcome using this verb, we get a better statement.

The learner (Dog) should be able to sing.

The next question to answer is when the learner should be able to meet the outcome. Will the dog sing after an hour's worth of demonstrations or at the completion of a term long canine vocal training? In this case, we suggest that it should only take one hour.

Following an hour long instructor demonstration, the learner (dog) should be able to sing.

Adding a time frame is quite an improvement and in many cases would be considered an adequate learner outcome. To truly explain to fellow faculty and to the students what the anticipated outcome is, further detail on the type of demonstration. For example, if the final is the same for all of the students, it can be noted in the learner outcome. This demonstration may be a writing assignment, lab experiment, or in this case the performance of "Ave Maria".

Following an hour long instructor demonstration, the learner (dog) should be able to sing "Ave Maria" in the original Latin.

The above is an example of a good learner expectation. I know that there may be some confusion because I've stated before that learner outcomes should be broad and in this case we are adding more detail. If we look back to our second version of the outcome the goal is for them to sing not to hit a middle C. The activity of singing involves a number of smaller learned concepts which have to put together to be successful. The learner outcome specificity comes not in the activity but in the measure. We can clarify even more by stating the criteria used to determine proficiency.

Following an hour long instructor demonstration, the learner (dog) should be able to sing as demonstrated by videotaped performance of "Ave Maria" in the original Latin which will be critiqued by a panel of expert judges.

Now you can determine whether Margot met my singing dog learner outcome!