Guide to OBE
Developing a Programme Learning Outcomes Assessment Plan

(1) Programme Mission and Goals
(3) Learning Outcomes Assessment Methods and Measures
A Step-by-Step Guide to Developing Your Programme LOAP
Programme Intended Learning Outcomes

What is expected or required?

  • Articulate clearly the major intended learning outcomes (ILOs) of your programme in terms of the desirable qualities of graduates that you aspire to produce. This means what your graduates are expected to be able to do or demonstrate on completing the programme.
  • If you would like to see an example of this, please refer to Note 2 in Appendix 3.
  • Doing this ensures that the goals you value for your programme are addressed adequately, and guarantees that the important knowledge, skills and attitudes are appropriately introduced, reinforced, and assessed through the curricular and co-curricular activities of your programme.
  • A clear description of what your students should be able to do or demonstrate on exit will also enable you to select appropriate measures and methods to assess the extent to which your students have achieved each of the outcomes, and to evaluate the effectiveness of your programme in achieving its stated outcomes.
Useful References
  • In the 2005 Curriculum Revision Exercise all programmes have articulated ILOs, so it can be as simple as copying directly. However, to ensure that the outcomes assessment exercise will not create excessive workload on staff, you may wish to concentrate on a smaller number of key programme outcomes that are of greatest interest/concern to the programme team or other stakeholders, or those that are more likely to sustain under the new 4-year undergraduate degree structure.
  • Again, it may be useful to use this opportunity to review and further refine these. In this case, the following three points might be useful for you to consider:
    • Check whether the stated ILOs cover both profession-specific and generic outcomes.
    • Don't try to include too many programme learning outcomes. About 12 is a good number to give you a comprehensive overview of your programme without making the exercise unwieldy.
    • Keep them realistic: if you are too ambitious in setting learning outcomes that might be difficult for undergraduate students to attain, you will then be accountable and need to explain why they might not have been achieved. On the other hand, if you set outcomes that are too easily attainable you will not be offering your students the opportunity to extend themselves.
  • Nichols & Nichols (2000), pp.21-23: How high should intended educational (student) outcomes be set? (See Appendix 4)
  • Note that, although you are not required to do so in this LOAP exercise, for the purpose of accreditation or accountability audit, your programme might be expected to demonstrate:
    • How these ILOs actually align with your programme missions and goals, and
    • How these ILOs will be realized through your curricular and co-curricular activities.

Curriculum maps that show the relationship between programme goals and programme ILOs, and between programme ILOs and where in the programme each ILO is to be introduced, reinforced and assessed is a useful tool to accomplish this.

  • The example from California State University, Fresco on curriculum mapping may be useful in deciding where in the programme each objective is to be met:
    Programme purposes
    Curricuum map