Learning Outcomes Assessment Matrix (LOAM): A Software-Supported Process for Identifying and Scaffolding Complex Learning Outcomes

By Joanna Szurmak and Andrew Petersen.

Published by Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

First-year computer science (CS1) requires students to simultaneously acquire a technical vocabulary and to develop an array of technical and communication skills. As a result, fewer than two-thirds of students typically complete the course. To improve the course success rate, this faculty-librarian collaboration developed the Learning Outcomes Assessment Matrix (LOAM). LOAM is a process that helps instructors to understand the relationships between multiple perspectives on their course: the instructional settings, learning outcomes, and the cognitive skill levels at which students engage with the material. Using LOAM, the authors explored the information literacy and communication skills necessary to demonstrate CS1 outcomes and discovered opportunities to support required non-technical skills within the course.
LOAM is a practical and flexible process that supports teaching practice in any domain. In areas which require quick progression along the cognitive hierarchy or which feature complex structural relationships, LOAM can help instructors identify where the course’s instructional settings do no adequately support student development. Although LOAM seeks to relate course learning outcomes to instructional settings and, if needed, to standards, it does not promote the standardization of learning outcomes, unlike related projects. Instead, LOAM facilitates the development of fertile instructional settings by helping instructors analyze the content and cognitive skills required to achieve course learning outcomes.

Keywords: Learning Outcomes, Learning Objectives, Information Literacy, Teaching, CS1, Computer Science, Scaffolding, Curriculum, Taxonomies

Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp.111-128. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.800MB).

Joanna Szurmak

Science Liaison Librarian, University of Toronto Mississauga, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

Andrew Petersen

Lecturer, University of Toronto Mississauga, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada