The function of an ILO


So, now let’s talk about the functions of an intended learning outcome. An outcome always sits within a course or within a programme. And in this course, we’re gonna focus on the course or module level, and the implications of well-structured outcomes. We need to recognize that each individual discipline each individual professional context, each institution, and each national quality assurance agency may choose to interpret the way outcomes are structured slightly differently, but I think what I’m going to talk about are fairly universal principles.

So, we need to recognize that there is a degree of calibration required for any outcome to be meaningful.

We’ve already said that outcomes essentially have to be intelligible to the student at the beginning of their course of study has to be written without jargon has to be written in meaningful and accessible language. And it needs to describe what the student will be able to do once they’ve completed their particular course of study, not what they will be learning as they study. So, that’s the first point. The second point is we need to make sure that they use the outcomes, students use the outcomes, to interpret their learner journey. They’re gonna know what the learning is going to lead them towards. So having an alignment between course outcomes or module outcomes and broader program outcomes is also important. And we’ll cover that later as well.

It also serves to clarify the level of study. And I’ll come back to that in a moment.

And finally, it’s about providing a degree of sector-wide comparison between individual courses. So the reality is of course that students don’t see outcomes, the same way that faculty see them. So we have to acknowledge that first of all, students are going to think about it in terms of what they will be learning from a particular course, and what they’ll be able to do.

And they’ll be interested in knowing how it applies to their broader learning. Faculty of course will look at things slightly differently. They will want to differentiate between a course they’re teaching at, say, the first level of undergraduate and a final year of undergraduate, or postgraduate, level of study.

So they’re gonna use possibly some of the same wording in those outcomes, but they’d want to be able to differentiate according to levels. And we’ll look into this in some detail as we go through the course. And finally, I think academics recognize that as an institution, we need to be able to measure and compare our own programmes, with other courses taught by similar institutions and internationally. This is important for recognizing accredited prior learning, for example, and any number of institutional mechanisms for accountability to quality assurance agencies on a national or regional level.

So all of those constitute meaningful functions of an ILO.

Handout: Functions of ILO

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