Monday, November 24, 2008

Learning Outcomes - again

Recent Reflection: On less being more at Master's level: "... it does risk becoming formulaic, and also implying that there is a correct procedure for doing it. The more specific the directions, the more restricted the outcomes, and the less the scope for the exercise of individual initiative and creativity (if that is desirable in your discipline, of course!) Master's students are experts, or at least nearly there. They need to be given their heads rather than constrained."

Valuable comment on the trouble with learning outcomes in Higher Education by James Atherton. Yes, I agree. Yes, precision in specification does not mean that we can predict or truly direct outcomes. And while I'm at it... I actually think that in some circumstances they can lead to lazy and superficial learning. What do they really mean? Who dreamt them up? And how can it possibly work that (and I'm thinking of Open University courses in particular here) one party dreams up the learning outcomes, another is supposed to teach to them (even though their interpretation is never questioned) and another is supposed to learn to them. So many areas for potential misinterpretation or misplaced meaning. What point do they serve if "those who knew what they meant when they originally wrote them" are outside the learning loop between student and tutor? Bonkers.

Am thinking of getting myself a placard made up... :o)

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