EDUCATION TAXONOMIES 

There are several Education Taxonomies that are suitable for post-secondary curriculum development, but Bloom's seems to be the most popular and user-friendly model. Below are Bloom's related resources to assist you with the design and development of your curriculum. You will also find one reference to the Fink's model. These resources can help you to develop measurable learning outcome statements that reflect what learners are expected to know; be able to do and; develop as dispositions.

Overview of Learning Outcomes

Outcomes clearly define performance expectations and identify what the learner is expected to know and do by the
end of the course. Course outcomes should be aligned and connected to skills, knowledge, and performances that are
required in the ‘working world.'

A learning outcomes approached to curriculum design focuses on application and integration of knowledge, abilities,
and attitudes. Outcome-based learning and teaching necessitates an integrated process where the transfer of learning
transitions from one situation to another.

Integral to the creation of learning outcomes is determining how the outcomes will be assessed – there should be an
alignment between course outcomes and the criteria used to assess learning. The outcomes approach focuses on
outputs, which often requires the curriculum developer/designer to work backwards in the development process.
The emphasis on outcome based learning / teaching moves from content driven curriculum (what faculty teach) to
outcome driven curriculum (what a learner must be able to do). Learning outcome statements reflect what learners
are expected to know; be able to do and; develop as dispositions.

Learning outcomes should reflect a combination of knowledge, abilities and dispositions found in the workplace and
world in general. Outcomes should express performance expectations that are specific and measurable, and signify
integrated learning. Expected standards of performance should be clearly specified in the wording of the learning
outcome.

Designing Learning Outcomes

Learning outcomes should:

  • Be written in simple, concise language; be clear and understanding to the learner, colleagues, employers and the general public
  • Focus on the results of the learning
  • Be statements reflecting integrated knowledge, abilities and attitudes required for the field of work (they should not be discrete skills or competencies)
  • Be measurable, realistic and achievable within a reasonable time frame
  • Clearly indicate the scope, depth and breadth of the curriculum and level of learning required to successfully complete the course
  • Reflect common and/or agreed upon standards (from the Ministry if program standards exist; from accreditation standards if the program requires such; and from industry)
  • Represent learning that can be transferred to a variety of circumstances
  • Accurately reflect and align to learning and assessment activities in the course
  • Connect, integrate and naturally align between other courses within the program of study.

Each learning outcome statement should encompass three components:

Action verb

  • Identifies the performance to be demonstrate

Context

  • Specifies the knowledge, concept or skill that the learner will be expected to acquire

Standard

  • The criterion for acceptable performance

Aligning Assessments with Outcomes

Constructive feed back on the learner’s progress should be built into all assessment activities, whether they are
formal or informal methods of assessment. Assessment should be ongoing throughout course delivery as a way to
provide continuous feedback between faculty and student, and to evaluate progress and performance when recalling
prior knowledge and/or applying new knowledge. Thus, alignment between the learning outcome statement and the
method used to assess or evaluate performance is critical.

There are multiple ways to assess learning and the mastery of learning outcomes. To ensure that most learning
styles are met, it is best to utilize a variety of assessment tools when evaluating newly learned and/or accumulated
skills and knowledge.

Formative

  • to assess ongoing projects during their construction to implement improvements

Summative

  • the assessment of the learning and summarizes the development of learners at a particular time