Topic aims are a broad statement of what you want to achieve in your topic. This can be quite general and should give students an indication of the scope of your topic, why it is important and its relationship to the course or discipline.
For example, Business computing
Business computer systems are the key to the effective functioning of today's business activities. This topic introduces students to the complexities that underlie important business information systems, the systems development process and modern electronic communications. In addition, students will be introduced to a range of internet tools and computer applications software including relational database, spreadsheet and presentation software. All business students will undertake this fundamental topic in their first semester as a basis for subsequent studies in IT.
Learning outcomes are used to provide a picture of what learners should be able to do when they have completed a topic.
In most learning, students acquire new knowledge, skills and attitudes.
- Which new terms, definitions, procedures do your learners need to remember?
- In what new ways are your learners expected to explain, interpret or predict their world?
Suitable verbs: explain, summarise, contrast, interpret, recognise, identify, define, describe, give examples, illustrate, paraphrase, recall, reflect.
- What do you expect students to be able to do with this new knowledge?
suitable verbs: solve, use, operate, develop, compute, classify, design, assess, apply, communicate.
- in what ways do you expect to see a shift in your learners' beliefs, values or concerns
Suitable verbs: challenge, join, offer, question, support, decide, argue, criticise, defend.
You cannot look into a learner's mind to measure what they know. You can only get an estimate by observing what they say or do.Thus learning outcomes should be a specific statement of the observable behaviours that demonstrate understanding.
The following learning outcome is not helpful:
The student will be able to understand information systems
It would be more useful in this form:
The student will be able to distinguish between three different types of information systems: Management Information Systems, Expert Systems and Transaction Processing Systems.
Avoid verbs that are open to many interpretations, for example,
to fully appreciate
t o believe
to grasp the significance of
Include verbs that describe behaviours that can be observed, for example,
to explain in their own words
Learning outcomes should not restrict your teaching. They set a minimum for what you can do. Once you know where you are going, you can be as creative as you like in getting there.