The Learning Outcome family

What are learning outcomes for

Learning Outcomes set goals for learners and teachers.

Constructive Alignment V1

John Biggs introduced the idea of constructive alignment to describe the positive effect on student learning of a consistent message from goals (learning outcomes), experience (learning activities) and assessment (measuring achievement).  Biggs drew the logical conclusion that students are more likely to work consistently towards the outcomes intended if all elements of the curriculum reinforce the same goal, and students construct their own learning from the aligned combination. Similar ideas are also seen in other curriculum models such as backwards design  developed by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe. Outcomes-based educational design is a core idea for the course design and graduate certificate/diplomas in higher education.

The Learning Outcomes family

Course learning outcomes specify what a graduate should know and be able to do. Course learning outcomes are informed by:

Lo Family

Design and Benchmarking

Consensus learning outcomes statements are used in two ways: to drive course design and to set common standards for disciplines.

Los Design Benchmarking

The Science TLOs guide development of course objectives for science and mathematical science degrees.

The Science TLOs also create a common understanding of objectives that underpins shared standards  and calibration of standards for benchmarking.


John Biggs and Catherine Tang (2011) Teaching for Quality Learning at University, Open University Press.

Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe (2005) Understanding by Design 2nd edition, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, Merrill/Prentice Hall/Pearson.