All FutureLearn courses have learning outcomes. They are submitted at course proposal stage and some of these are made explicit to learners through course description pages and/or the course itself.
Why learning outcomes?
Learning outcomes have a host of benefits for everyone by providing:
- learners with easily understandable and relatable terms to describe the learning outcomes they can expect from the course.
- learners with meaningful descriptions of outcomes that match the vernacular and style expected in academic and employment settings.
- partners with the flexibility to accurately express the outcomes of their courses across the full spectrum of domains.
- partners with descriptive terms for the outcomes of a course, that promote good practice in learning design.
- FutureLearn with the means to easily understand, differentiate and communicate the outcomes of courses.
How they are implemented
The most widely accepted and implemented framework for learning outcomes is derived from Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives (Bloom, 1956).
This presents a tiered/staged & progressive taxonomy moving through Knowledge; Comprehension; Application; Analysis; Synthesis & Evaluation. A series of verbs are aligned with each of these levels, through which outcome statements are created. While the exact structure is often varied across institution, the core verb-construct form is fairly universal:
“[As a learner/Upon completion of this course/module/programme of study]
you will be able to/you will be able to demonstrate you can
To simplify both authoring and presentation, FutureLearn presents a fixed list of verbs.
In addition to utilising Bloom’s categories, it is important to consider the actual activities learners can engage in, specifically on the FutureLearn platform. Drawing on the work of Adelman (2015), we have introduced small numbers of verbs from a broader number of meta-categories than Bloom’s six:
- Verbs describing student acquisition and preparation of tools, materials, and texts of various types (including digital and archival): collect
- Verbs indicating what students do to certify information, materials, texts, etc.: record
- Verbs indicating the modes of student characterization of the objects of knowledge or materials of production, performance, exhibit: classify, describe, identify,
- Verbs describing what students do in processing data and allied information: calculate, solve
- Verbs describing what students do in explaining a position, creation, set of observations, or a text: explain, interpret
- Verbs falling under the cognitive activities we group under “analyse”: compare
- Verbs describing what students do when they “inquire”: experiment, explore, investigate, model
- Verbs describing what students do when they combine ideas, materials, observations: synthesise, summarise
- Verbs that describe what students do in various forms of “making”: design, develop
- Verbs that describe the various ways in which students utilize the materials of learning: apply, demonstrate, perform, produce
- Verbs that describe various executive functions students perform: engage, lead
- Verbs that describe forms of deliberative activity in which students engage: debate, justify
- Verbs that indicate how students evaluate objects, experiences, texts, productions, etc.: assess, evaluate
- Verbs that reference the types of communication in which we ask students to engage: report
- Verbs, related to modes of communication, that indicate what students do in groups: collaborate, contribute, discuss
- Verbs that describe what students do in rethinking or reconstructing – improve, modify, reflect
How to add learning outcomes
Learning outcomes are accessible at a course level on the 'Details' tab by Authors or Organisation Admins:
Once there, you can add your course learning outcomes, leading with one of our pre-defined verbs and using the same verb in the outcome text description. We recommend adding 3-10 outcomes for each run.