Organizing learning outcomes by more than cognitive complexity.
Often, instructors want students to do more than know content that is increasingly complex. Other goals may refer to students’ interaction within the larger program or within the world. Fink (2013) groups this larger learning focus into six groups, which he calls significant learning categories. Use these categories to analyze a course’s current learning outcomes to determine if there are categories that are either over or underrepresented.
Remembering and understandings information. Other kinds of learning will build off of this base of content knowledge.
Learning a new action, whether a new skill, way of thinking or how to manage projects.
Making connections between ideas, learning experiences or subject areas. These are often the deeper underlying rules or processes that connect what may at first appear to be disconnected phenomena.
Learning about yourself and others. This may mean how the material applies to students and those around them, how accomplishing a task or difficult project might reflect on the student (self-image), or what these accomplishments might mean for their future goals (self-ideal).
Developing interest or value for the topic within students. If you have chosen a topic to teach because it is important, often you will want students to develop a similar appreciation.
Improving students’ learning skills while simultaneously learning content. This means that students are not only becoming more efficient at learning but becoming self-directed to continue learning beyond the course.
A few things to note about these categories.
Fink (2013) recommends thinking about the impact you want to have on students after they have finished the course. Use the following table as a guide to think of learning outcomes and goals for each category.
|Significant Learning Category||Questions to Ask|
|Foundational Knowledge||What key information (facts, terms, formula, concepts, relationships…) is important for students to understand and remember in the future?|
What kinds of thinking are important for students to learn here:
What important skills do students need to learn?
What complex projects do students need to learn how to manage?
What connections (similarities and interactions) should students recognize and make…
|Human Dimension|| |
What can or should students learn about themselves?
What can or should students learn about interacting with people that they may actually encounter in the future?
What changes would you like to see in what students care about, that is, any changes in their…
|Learning How to Learn|| |
What should students know about learning…
To create a variety of appropriate learning outcomes for students: