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🎯 How can you ensure positive student outcomes for your CBC?


Two Words: 'Learner Outcomes'


Learner Outcomes is a set of statements that unambiguously articulates what a student will achieve by the end of a course.

It helps CBC creator structure the course into a step by step process that a student goes through to progressively achieve the learner outcomes.

The more thoughtful the Learner Outcome of your Cohort Based Courses, the better your CBC will be.

Impact of Good Learner Outcomes on your Cohort Based Course 👩🏽‍🎓

Course Marketing

A well crafted Learner Outcome statement acts as a north star for writing clear and effective marketing copy on the course landing page. Learner Outcomes act as the promise to the student of what they will be able to demonstrate upon completing the course.

Course Design

Clearly Stated Learner Outcomes focuses the Course Design process. Working backwards from the Learner Outcomes to plan assessment and lesson plans makes for a well-structured and coherent course. Through a process called Backward Design, you can create a curriculum that makes steady progress toward the promised outcomes.

Student Expectation and Course Experience

Specific learner outcomes provide clear goals for students to focus on as they progress through their course. Having clearly defined outcomes can help reorient students towards their larger goals. Their experience of the course is improved by the learner outcomes stated at the outset.

Student Testimonials

Learner Outcomes set measurable expectations for students to evaluate their journey in the course. Well crafted Learner Outcomes will also make it easy for alumni to communicate the value of the course effectively to refer future students from their own network.

What are the guidelines to craft a good Learner Outcome?

  • Be specific A learner outcome must enumerate the exact skills and tasks a student should demonstrate.
  • Be clear The actionables in a learner outcome must be intelligible, and not vague, incoherent or incomplete.
  • Be atomic A good learner outcome should be small, yet meaningful enough.
  • Be measurable "Have I achieved this learner outcome?" must be a simple binary question that the student can answer easily. Optionally, the student may also be able to assess the degree of their performance.
  • Be achievable The outcome must be realistically achievable within the timeframe it is allotted with average effort.

One simple trick to writing good learner outcomes is to use action words. Verbs describe specific actions that the student will be able to complete by the end of the course. Refer to Bloom's taxonomy for advanced tips on crafting good learner outcomes.

Examples of Learner Outcomes

Poor example of ‘Learner Outcomes’

Course: Introduction to Python Programming

Learner Outcomes: Learners will learn the fundamentals of Python programming.

This learner outcome is vague because it does now state what constitutes the fundamentals of Python programming. It does not specify the set of actionable skills a student obtains by completing the course, thus making the results and success of the course hard to measure. An improved set of learner outcomes for the same course is given below.

Improved Examples of ‘Learner Outcomes’

Course: Introduction to Python Programming

Improved Learner Outcomes:

By the end of this course, the learner will have

  • set up Python and developed a simple application,
  • declared and performed operations on data types including strings, numbers, dates, lists, sets and dictionaries,
  • written conditional statements,
  • executed loops.

These outcomes now provide a clear checklist for the student to take stock of at the end of the course. They can now easily answer the question - Have I achieved the learner outcomes for this course?

Creation of a safe space for students

Learning something new is a challenging process both cognitively and emotionally. Emotions like being overwhelmed, peer-pressured, nervous breakdowns are not uncommon in intense learning environments. Most students struggle with focussing and prioritizing.

Effective Learning also tends to be fast paced. This can make the full process feel very chaotic. Well defined learner outcomes, if communicated well and communicated often, will help students prioritize their time and energy well.

This leads to the creation of a very focussed learning environment.

Learner Outcomes at howtocbc

At howtocbc, we run a week long Cohort Based Course on how to create a Cohort Based Course. Very meta, we know.

We have defined the Learner Outcome for our CBC as the following:

Students will design, create and demo their CBC ready micro lesson.

Notice how the course doesn’t make a tall claim that all students who join the week long CBC powered by howtocbc will all make and launch their Cohort Based Course by the end of it.

How did we arrive at this Learner Outcome at [@howtocbc](?

The Cohort Based Course format is new for most of our students. If a student is new to the CBC format, it’s impractical to expect them to design and launch a full Cohort Based Course with just a week long course.

Hence, we put thought into what a specific, clear, atomic, measurable and achievable outcome that we can aim for would be. We narrowed it down to designing, creating and demoing their CBC ready micro lesson to their peers as the Learner Outcome.

The part we had to compromise on was to include a new and loaded term called ‘micro-lesson’ which, we agree, is not intuitive enough for a novice reader. Thus, we used considerable space in our landing page copy to throw light on what we meant by a micro-lesson.

If you are keen on learning more about Cohort Based Courses, we conduct a free 1 hour workshop. You can register for the free workshop here.