Volume 8 Issue 3 (2019)

Learning Outcomes – A Good Idea, Yet with Problems and Lost Opportunities

pp. 159-169  |  Published Online: September 2019  |  DOI: 10.22521/edupij.2019.83.1

Andrew G Holmes


Learning outcomes are used throughout assessment processes in higher education. In many countries their use is mandatory, with a frequent assumption that they bring many positive benefits to educational processes. Yet, there are tensions associated with them and their current mode of use has far less flexibility than they should provide. This paper considers from a conceptual basis some of the tensions associated with the use of prescribed pre-articulated learning outcomes and the question of whether learning outcomes, as currently operationalized, provide the benefits they were meant to deliver. This is of significance to educators throughout higher education.

Keywords: Learning outcomes, assessment, adult education, teaching and learning, lifelong learning, constructivist pedagogy


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