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Lesson objective vs. learning outcome - who can settle this for me once and for all?!

Discussion in 'Assessment' started by anon874, Nov 15, 2009.

  1. Hi everyone,
    I'm a trainee and I'm being increasing confused by lesson objectives and learning outcomes.
    The head of department (MFL) insists that the <u>lesson objective</u> be differentiated, something like this:
    1. To recognise 10 words to do with XXXX.
    2. To use 10 words to do XXXX in your own sentences
    3. To use 10 words to do with XXXX in extended sentences.
    The pupils then chose an objective to work towards, get on with some tasks, then in the plenary they prove which one they've met by being able to answer questions/translate sentences.
    However, when I was visiting another school and talking to someone about AFL and lesson objectives, s/he gave me a lesson plan with one overall lesson objective (General Studies):
    To look at tensions with an emphasis on youth culture
    And the <u>learning outcome</u> was differentiated:
    ALL: To be able to talk about an area of conflict
    MOST: To be able to reach a balanced view regarding solutions
    SOME: To understand and recognise the wider implications for society in the future.
    Whilst it's hard to compare these since they are at different levels and for different subjects, my HoD says a <u>leaning outcome</u> is whatever the pupils produce using the approiate knowledge (eg. a diary entry, an essay, a poster).
    Is there a right or a wrong answer? Is it open to intpretation and varies school to school?
    Can anyone explain, in simple terms (with examples) what these terms actually mean and, (if possible) point me in the direction of something to read (website, book) which defines it.
    I sincerly appreciate any help or comment you can give me on this subject!

    Thanks in advance

  2. To me, this is not a learning objective. I consider a learning objective to be something that you want the children to be able to do at the end of the learning process. These, I would consider to be learning objectives:
    For me, the learning outcome is what you want the children to produce that will demonstrate this new learning. How can you and they know they have achieved their objectives? I often use 'I can' statements for my outcomes (working in primary) For example, to turn the three above into learning outcomes (or success criteria or any other such phrase):
    All: I can talk about/discuss an area of conflict
    Most: I can reach a balanced view regarding solutions (you would probably need to add something like 'considering the evidence' to this one)
    Some: I can recognise and understand the wider implictions for society in the future (again, considering the evidence)
  3. I've never seen a great deal of difference between learning objectives and learning outcomes - they just seem to be saying the same thing in a slightly different way. As an example, here is one lesson from the QCA SoW on Mountain Environments (KS2) - dated I know.

    Learning Objective:

    Learning Outcome:

    So, the outcomes are more about what the children do in order to achieve the objectives. Outcomes are therefore pretty much the same as success criteria. It's the activities between them that should be differentiated IMO.
    george1963 likes this.
  4. hello,
    1st. DO NOT THINK OF lesson objectives as versus learning outcomes!!!!!!!!!!!! They are not antagonist to each other - they are in a necessary complimentarity. You need BOTH: one with out the other will get the children in BIG POO.
    2ND . The replies to your query have not, to date, answered the analytical and practical query you asked!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!They have not distinguished between lesson and learning.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Lots of lessons occur with NO, repeat NO, learning occuring by children......often because the answer to the question you raised is unsatisfactory.
    3rd. Your question is a LESSON PLANNING question. It is what you do <u>before</u> you go into the classroom. It is NOT a concern of children.
    Moreoever, if you cannot frequently state and re-state the lesson objectives to every child during the the lesson, in language they appreciate, they will FAIL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! to achieve any learning in the learning outcome you have selected. You constantly need to know, during the lesson whether and how each child understands and is working towards the lesson objectives.......so they and you are continuously evaluating their progress in learning this particular 40-50minute learning episode of knowledge/skill/attitude content. This is called FORMATIVE assessment - ie. you and they are 'recording' how they are progressing to the lesson objective.
    5th. ONLY WRITE LESSON OBJECTIVES which are BEHAVIOURAL - eg. begin..."By the end of this lesson each child will be able to .......(insert an ACTION VERB).
    ....... .... i will tell you the rest when i come back from shopping !!
    all the best

  5. Pi39's reply it excellent - correct AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA+++++++++++++++++
    Sorry I misread you Pi39

  6. Frognsausage - continued..........
    6th A<u> learning</u> <u>outcome</u> is a more embracing statement than any lesson objective. The learning outcomes are described in the Curriculum documents for your country/state/territory/shire/or local authority area.
    Each Curriculum document for each school subject .. maths, literacy, science, etcetera contains the 'desired' learning outcomes - to which each t. teaches and which each child is expected/hoped to achieve. Curriculum outcomes are usually.often differentiated by year level:
    eg:In Maths/Measurement strand; sub-strand Estimate, the <u>learning outcome</u> for ALL students of ANY age is, "students make sensible direct and indirect estimates of quantities and are alert to the reasonableness of measurements and results" At different ages they develop their knowledge and skills to different degrees of sophistication and complexity: so that, when you are five years old you learn to "make non-numerical estimates involving everyday movements and actions." - while when you are 17years old you are taught and learn ways to "select and integrate mathematical ideas, relationships and information, in order to solve practical and analytic measurement problems." And any of this is occuring only within this part of learning Mathematics/Measurement.
    So, the teachers' planning work is to take the learning outcome statement from the relevant Curriculum document, and create lesson/learning activities which lead to achievement of the <u>lesson objectives</u>.
    These lesson objectives are what you, the t. creates so you are connecting the Curriculum or learning outcomes with the children's achievements as a result of the lesson activities.. The lesson objectives are the crucial/necessary bridge between the desired learning/curriculum outcomes and actual student achievement (as measured by the assessment methods you use to guage the level/s/degrees of child achievement in this lesson) E.G.the 5 year old can tell you or another child that a snail moves slower than a pig; is able to use the words 'nearly','almost', 'about ' as long as this (showing gap between her hands); that a house is very, very very small/ nearly bigger than....
    So, in this e.g. the lesson objective/s might be "student is able to correctly identify the difference between small and big; is able to use the words 'almost' 'nearly' and 'about'.in a meaningful way; is able to write the words almost/nearly/about.
    When the t has this info s/he can 'score' this ability - using an appropriate rubric.
    There are no books about the difference you describe, that I know of - because each country/intra-country curriculum area has its own ways of describing Curriculum documents.
    There is a variety of replies on this thread because each t. has her/his way/s of conceptualising these matters. I think your question is most important and value you asking it. I don't know what year of training you are upto. In my experience, developing these understandings takes time and needs to be under your belt by the final year of training. Keep asking your lecturers and fellow trainees.
    Finally, it is evident that Ts use different words to refer to the same thing !!!! It can become very confusing. In my view, your Hof D has done you a dis-service by his use of language and her/his apparent inability to distinguish or adequately explain to a trainee the difference between and complementality of learning outcome and lesson objective.
    Finally, finally, I retract my opinion that p1j39 provided you with an "excellent...correct" reply: s/he fails to distinquish 'learning' from 'lesson'.
    All the best in your endeavours
  7. T34

    T34 Established commenter

    OK, these are the "desired learning outcomes".
    But what are "learning outcomes"?
    If the "desired learning outcomes" are what it is hoped that the child achieves then "learning outcomes (with no adjective) are what the child actually achieves???
  8. p1j39

    p1j39 New commenter

    Owww! I thought I was doing well! (It's he by the way)
    I think this is where I fall foul of your definitions. I use the term 'learning outcomes' to give my students the sucess criteria for the lesson, i.e. how do they know that they have learnt something. What can they now do that they could do before?
    I assign levels/grades to these as I find that it motivates the students to aim as high as possible, especially at KS4. The students often find that they can do what is required at grades higher than their target.

    I think the way forward in your planning is clear:
    1. What does the curriculum tell you the students need to do/know/understand/etc?
    2. What does this mean for children at the age/ability you are teaching? - plan for progression here.
    3. What do you want them to achieve in the lesson? - this is informed byt 1 and 2
    4. What are the criteria that you and the children can use to assess progress formatively during the lesson?
    5. Once the lesson is finished, what are the next steps?
    6. Go back to 1!
  9. p1j39

    p1j39 New commenter

    I meant the OP!
  10. Hi T34,
    I think and plan with 3 levels of the curriculum in mind - considered in relation to the context in which they occur:
    NATIONAL/SOCIAL/EDUCATIONAL context - Intended curriculum: eg. what mathematics are students expected to learn?
    SCHOOL/TEACHER/CLASSROOM context - Implemented curriculum: eg. what mathematics is actually taught in the classroom.
    STUDENT OUTCOMES & CHARACTERISTICS context - Attained curriculum: eg. what mathematics is learned by students as demonstrated by their achievements.
    In planning, I go to the National curriculum documents to see what students are <u>expected to learn</u>; I then plan ways to <u>best implement learning towards what is expected;</u> I also gather together ways <u>to assess how and what they are learning.- their achievements.</u>
    So, in terms of the original question to this thread - the difference between lesson objectives and learning outcomes - I regard lesson objectives as short,concise. succinct statements for each student and myself to focus upon during the 40-50 minutes we are involved in learning maths.
    I regard learning outcomes as the National curriculum statements - what's intended for students to learn.
    Since the word ' outcome/s' is used so loosely by so many people AND is often used to refer to 'results', there is confusion !!!!!! But, not in my mind and I hope not in yours or in the mind/conversations of any teacher or trainee teacher.
    Trainee teacher ? Yes, the original question was asked by a trainee- teacher and I reckon the rest of us - especially in an ASSESSMENT Forum have an obligation to provide an excellent/clarifying answer.
    The 'level' of curriculum to which I refer are used in all TIMMS - Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study - reports.
    Readers of this thread may also be interested in
    "What is the nature of evidence that makes a difference"
    for a general outline of the major influences on what makes a difference to student achievement.
    And to Hattie, JAC. 2009 Visible Learning. Oxford: Routledge for a detailed account of ways become an excellent teacher, rather than an experienced or novice teacher
    with respect,
  11. Dear p1j39,
    Many thanks...YES, we appear to be on the same page....
    best wishes, and to sulla (another contributor to this thread).

  12. T34

    T34 Established commenter

    Thanks, cjwainwr, for the clarification.
    I tend to think that the word "outcomes" for what a child is intended to learn is perhaps a poor choice. I have sympathy with people who intepret "outcomes" as what actually happens rather than what "should" have happened.
    I think in everyday speech an outcome is what actually occurred, which, given Murphy's law and the contrariness of the World in general, may not necessarily be what you intended to occur!
  13. Nead2604

    Nead2604 New commenter

    I always thought the objective was the key skill for the lesson and the outcome was the task you set to prove/work on that skill. Is it not that simple?
    objective: learn to identify figurative language in a poem.
    describe how figurative language creates atmosphere in the poem. outcome:Write a PEE paragraph describing they ways figuartive language creates atmosphere in the poem.
  14. Hello Nead2604,
    In the framework I am using and suggesting, you have 'mashed together' the 'objective/s' and the 'outcome/s' of a lesson. Perhaps a re-read of all the posts on this thread may assist you.
    The over-whelmingly accepted - universal/pretty much world-wide view of the matter is that a teacher in a classroom:-
    has intended outcomes/objectives ------ what we are aiming to learn in this lesson (derived from the curriculum documents)
    what we do during the lesson to achieve this (derived from the teacher experiences/capabilities/training,etc.)
    what we have learned as a result of the lesson experience.....all/some/none of the intended objectives/outcomes.
    This process is - by and large - sequential...
    1. we want to learn how to identify figurative language in a poem
    2 we engage in activities/experiences to do this
    3. we do some more activities/experiences to see if we have accomplished what we set out to do.
    If you reckon this is the process/procedure you use then, I suppose, it is that simple.
    all the best,

  15. T34

    T34 Established commenter

    Would it be more correct to say that the task you set during the lesson is to find out whether you have achieved the outcome, rather than being the outcome itself?
    And an <u>objective</u> for the lesson might be to achieve a certain (NC) outcome, or at least get one step further on the way towards achieving a certain NC outcome?
  16. Dear T34,
    My intention/purpose is merely to present how I think about these matters.
    And to base these thoughts upon a reasoned understanding of the relationship between the curriculum, lesson objectives, lesson outcomes and assessment, to answer the questions


    This reflects the issues each child needs to participate in during a lesson:

    "What do you want me to learn in this lesson?
    How do you want me to do it/ how am I going?
    How well have I learned/achieved? - what's next?"

    This formulation suits me well, and has been acceptable to all supervisors, mentors, qualified teachers who observe and evaluate what I do in each lesson.
    So, this is my formulation... and this is all I have contributed to this thread.....if it interests, clarifies or confuses any readers.........who know!!!!! I certainly am not interested in any shape or form in being 'correct'.
    with respect,
  17. As a latecomer to TES forums after 15 years in the job, it's threads like this that make me so annoyed that I didn't look in several years ago. It's just hilarious and almost a self-parody. I wonder how many such discussions have been had / or time wasted about the difference between outcomes and objectives (differentiated, aspirational or otherwise) and you can guarantee that in several schools all over the nation it will be happening again tomorrow.
  18. I would guess something that most should grasp is er a 'most' And your 'most' is presumably something that er 'some' of them grasp"

    And if not every student accomplishes the 'aspirational' intimating that the majority do, then isn't that actually also more of a 'most'?

    regarding objectives and outcomes, I always think of Churchill: "never has so little of worth been written by so many about something so irrelevant".
  19. jlishman2158

    jlishman2158 New commenter

    I use the Lesson objectives to show what I want the pupils to learn and the Lesson outcomes to show what we will actually do (often written as tasks). Then I have must, should and could - the tasks are broken down for pupils
    LObj - To use equipment safely and accurately
    LOutcome - Practice using the sewing machine to form straight, curved and zig zag lines
    It seems to work as pupils know what they are learning and how they are going to do it. At the plenary we generally look at their outcomes and decide if they have achieved the LObj. Some subjects I know use green, yellow and red pens for pupils to self-assess if they have achieved the LObj
  20. Hi Cj
    I would like your opinion on the following points:
    <ol>[*]The purpose of including all, most and some within a lesson plan, the relationship each has with each other and what would you write within the lesson plan to show progression through each (examples)[*]How all, most and some relate to the objectives and learning outcomes[*]Can you recommend how you differentiate between learning objectives and learning outcomes, then show this on a lesson plan.</ol>I would welcome any comments.
    Kind Regards

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