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Putting the learning outcome first

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Started by Nathaniel Louwrens 08 Aug 2016 1:37pm () Replies (2)

This EdSurge opinion piece on Why instructional design must focus on learning outcomes, not learning activities highlights some useful things to consider when designing and planning learning experiences for our students.

1. Sometimes in schools, we find ourselves competing with the devices our students use in their downtime. We don't need to compete with what students do in their downtime:

Recreation, entertainment, and downtime for students outside of the classroom are just that: recreation, entertainment, and downtime. Students expect to come to school to learn and to be challenged.

2. Students still want to enjoy learning and it needs to be relevant to them. They are able to complete more challenging scenarios in the games they play. They have modes of communication where they can share their thoughts and opinions through social media. They want to be engaged.

If we want such activities to produce genuine student growth, instructional design must focus on learning outcomes as opposed to the activity itself.

3. Use digital tools such as Kahoot! to simulate games but also ensure that students have the opportunity to think deeply and critically. Use social media platforms can be utilised to encourage conversation and discussion between peers. But make sure you always start with the learning outcome rather than focusing on the activity or the tool being used. 

However, to achieve engagement that exceeds the element of surprise or novelty, which is often necessary as an instructional “hooking” tool, it is imperative that we place the brunt of our instructional design efforts towards building thinking skills and cognitive growth within students.


  • When using digital technologies in your classroom, how do you ensure that the learning outcomes remain the focus rather than the technology?
  • What tips or strategies can you share in how you plan for learning using digital technologies?


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