Learning outcomes have become an integral part of teaching and learning in today's education system. Creating and implementing outcomes as a teacher can help give structure and direction to the courses you create. Equally important, learners will have a good idea of the knowledge and capabilities they will be expected to have through the completion of the course or activity. Learning outcomes will also provide students with an understanding of why they are completing the course or activity.
A little known feature of Moodle is the ability to utilise Outcomes as an alternative grading method. Using this feature, outcome statements are graded against a scale.
The objective of this article is to provide an overview of how Outcomes work in Moodle, so that you have the information necessary to make a decision on whether or not this functionality would be useful for your course(s). As well, this article will also provide the steps necessary to create and use outcomes.
Sections/Summary of the Steps
Before getting into the details of the Outcomes feature, please note the following sections/steps.
- Section 1: An overview of Outcomes
- Section 2: Enabling Outcomes
- Section 3: Creating Outcomes
- Section 4: Using Outcomes in graded activities
Section 1: An overview of Outcomes
The Outcomes feature in Moodle is an optional way to grade a student’s progress and work.
Outcomes can be made at the site level (available to be used in all courses) or at the course level (can only be viewed and used within that course).
When creating an activity that supports outcomes, you can select from a list of outcomes available in the course to add to the activity.
During the grading process, teachers then choose a value, from the scale associated with the outcome, that represents the level of the student’s achievement.
The results of the outcomes are included in the gradebook.
Section 2: Enabling Outcomes
Before Outcomes can be used, an administrator must enable the feature. By default, outcomes are disabled in Moodle.
Navigate to Administration block > Site administration > Advanced features
On the page that loads, click the tick box beside the ‘Enable outcomes’ field.
Section 3: Creating and Adding Outcomes
Creating new Outcomes
You can not create Outcomes at the activity level; they have to be added at site or course level in order to be used.
To create outcomes which may be used in any course (site-wide outcomes) navigate to Administration block > Site administration > Grades > Outcomes. On the page that loads click ‘Add a new outcome’.
To create outcomes which can only be used within the course they are created in, enter the course and navigate to Administration block > Course administration > Outcomes. On the page that loads click ‘Edit Outcomes’, and then ‘Add a new outcome’.
You will then configure the settings for the outcome.
Full name: Enter the outcome statement here.
Short name: Provide a unique identifier for the outcome
Standard outcome: When the box for this field is ticked, the outcome is available to be used in all courses across the site.
Scale: Choose from a previously created scale, or create a new one by clicking ‘Add a new scale’ beside the drop down menu. Note: When creating a new scale, be sure to order the values from worst to best.
Description: This field is optional, and is not necessary to fill in except for your own reference.
Adding Outcomes to be used in course activities
If you created custom outcomes (course specific), these will be automatically included in the list of outcomes to be used in compatible activities. However, if you wish to use site wide outcomes in your course’s activities, these must be manually added.
Enter your course and navigate to Administration block > Course administration > Outcomes
On the page that loads, select the outcomes from the ‘Available standard outcomes’ you want to be included in the outcomes list and click the ‘Add’ button.
Section 4: Using Outcomes in graded activities
Outcomes can be incorporated into the grading process for supported activities, such as the Assignment activity.
When on the settings page for the activity, (navigate to the Activity > Administration block > Activity administration > Edit settings) find the ‘Outcomes’ section. Click the tickbox beside each of the outcomes you would like to include for the activity. Click save when done.
Note: If you want your students to be able to see what outcomes are associated with the activity, make sure you include them in the activity’s description (and show this on the main course page or activity page).
Outcomes in the grading process
If some of the outcomes have been associated with the activity, when the teacher is grading they are presented with the outcomes that were included in the activity, each with a drop down menu containing the scale assigned to the outcome. The teacher can then select the value that correlates with the work and competency of the student.
The results of the outcomes are also included in the gradebook.
It is also possible to view a report of the outcomes graded in the course.
This can be accessed by entering the course and navigating to Administration block > Course administration > Grades > Outcomes report