What is the difference between a Learning Outcome, and aim, and an objective?

You may, or may not ;-p be wondering what the differences are between aims, learning outcomes and objectives. In a nutshell:

  • Learning Outcomes (LOs), aims and objectives are often used synonymously, but in fact refer mainly to intentions.
  • LOs are related to the achievements of the learner rather than what teacher hopes to achieve in a session or course.
  • Aims are focussed more on the teacher’s intentions, and individual sessions that they are facilitating.
  • LOs and objectives are more difficult to differentiate because objectives are frequently expressed in ways that are similar to LOs, and express statements about what a learner will gain from participating in a course or activity.

Click here to access a thorough guide to learning outcomes(UCE Birmingham)

Click here for a briefer overview of learning outcomes and questions to ask yourself while writing them.

Do you have other great sites or resources that either illustrate the differences, or are really helpful for developing LOs? Please share.


WWW. cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo by lumaxart: http://flickr.com/photos/lumaxart/2364727849/

Students learn from those who care. cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo by shareski: http://flickr.com/photos/shareski/2712355703/

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Creative Commons by Ethos Consultancy NZ is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

About ictenhancedlearningandteaching

I am a director and consultant at Ethos Consultancy NZ (http://www.ethosconsultancynz.com/). I have a keen interest in all aspects of ICT Enhanced Learning and Teaching (ICTELT) where the focus lies on ways of scaffolding and empowering learners. In particular, I am interested in the way that creative, blended approached to Academic Professional Development can create trust, rapport and encourage reflective practice. As such, ICTELT is approached from facilitation, design, evaluation and assessment as opposed to the tools and what they can offer. I am a strong advocate of the potential of Web 2.0 to empower learners from all walks of life and cultures, especially after my experiences working for 6 years in the Middle East. In particular, I am interested how ePortfolios can be used in the VET sector (especially where Literacy and Language challenges are faced), in Recognition of Prior Learning, and in authentic, applied assessment. I have been involved with designing and developing ICTELT approaches and programmes for ten years. Following research informed approaches and design, I apply a qualitative, iterative process to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, programmes and tools, encouraging learners' voices and input from all stakeholders.
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