We cannot assume that when we have taught something to students they have learned it, and yet, this is the outcome we expect. Often, curriculum design begins at the content (subject matter) of a program or course with learning outcomes as an afterthought. In addition, assessments and learning activities are focussed on the content rather than the learning outcomes.
Constructive alignment is a process that begins at the learning outcomes, aligning these to the assessments, learning activities and finally the content/subject matter. Biggs (1999) explained constructive alignment as ‘aligning curriculum objectives, teaching/learning activities (TLAs), and assessment tasks’ (p.65).
In higher education, learning outcomes are allocated at two levels: the whole program level and the individual course level. Also, all programs at RMIT need to demonstrate generic graduate attributes identified by the university (RMIT University n.d.). Therefore, program learning outcomes (PLOs) and subsequently, course learning outcomes (CLOs) must include skills relevant to the graduate attributes. Figure 1 depicts the relationship between PLOs and graduate attributes and shows the order in which constructive alignment occurs at both the program and course levels.
Figure 1: Program and Course Alignment (Adapted from Rundle & Gurney 2017)
The following steps describe the Program Level Template found in Appendix A.
The following steps describe the Program Level Template found in Appendix B.