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July 13, 2010 / helenfli

Outcomes vs Objectives

I’ve been reading qute a lot about outcomes and objectives lately.  The two terms are often used interchangeably = confusion!   I’m going to suggest that here at Lincoln we use the two terms in a consistent way as follows:

Objectives are measurable.  They are the things that are measured in a piece of assessment.  They are couched in terms of verbs such as explain, apply, describe, evaluate, etc, etc,etc.  Are we all OK with that?

Objectives are discrete chunks of learning.  They should be described at Course,  Module and topic levels.

To me – outcomes are as a result of doing something, in this case achieving the objectives.  In achieveing the objectives, a student aquires knowledge, skills,  a change in attitude, transition in behaviour’ etc, that are not descibed in objective terms and thus, not assessable as such, but are necessary developments within the student in order to achieve a pass in the assessments. 

Outcomes are big, overarching changes in behaviour and thus, are only described at course level.  The attributes in the Lincoln Graduate Profile would be achieved as a series of course outcomes.

How does that sit with others?

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One Comment

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  1. Renard / Jul 23 2010 10:31 pm

    A useful summary of these two concepts. Here’s an interesting take in the discussion too:
    http://www.learningandteaching.info/teaching/objectives.htm

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