The use of learning outcomes in post-secondary institutions as a way to describe student development of skills, knowledge, and values has many benefits:
For students: When curriculum is properly aligned, learning outcomes provide clarity to students about what skills, knowledge, and attitudes they should acquire through a lesson, course, program, or credential. Learning outcomes signal to students how they’ll be assessed as they progress through their educational careers. They also signal what an institution, program, or course values. Learning outcomes also help students articulate what they have learned and what they can do.
For faculty: When they’re well-crafted, learning outcomes are invaluable tools for faculty in guiding program design, course design, and teaching practices. They also provide clarity for students and faculty about what skills, knowledge, and values are most important in a course or program, and they guide assessment of student learning.
For post-secondary institutions: Learning outcomes aid institutions in achieving accreditation or ministry approval. They may also aid in determining transfer credit for students and transfer agreements for other institutions (Kennepohl). They allow institutions to convey what they value to students, prospective students, their families, the community, and employers.
For employers: Learning outcomes can provide potential employers with insight into graduate skills and knowledge. They enable employers to recruit graduates from specific programs and institutions.
For government and accrediting bodies: Learning outcomes provide “evidence of quality assurance processes” (Hunt & Harris, 2015).