Option 3: Faculty-Driven Program Learning Outcomes

Use this option if you:

  • Have the time to use a faculty driven process
  • Need to create or modify your program learning outcomes

Unlike in options 1 and 2, feedback from faculty involved in delivering the curriculum is sought throughout the process. The option described below most closely encapsulates the faculty-driven process we facilitate during face-to-face retreats. It is also more time intensive than options 1 and 2.

Note: If you are using these materials to support curriculum development or review, please let us know at curriculum@uwo.ca so our team can continue to track our impact.

Steps to writing program learning outcomes in a faculty-driven manner

Option 1 flow

You may wish to set up a Zoom meeting with us before you begin.

1. Faculty Members Brainstorm Essential Program Learning

Focus on a single module to begin (we suggest choosing your default program or the one with the highest enrolment, like Honors Specialization in [Your Department] or PhD in [Your Department]). Invite faculty members to provide their input on the top 5-10 knowledge, skills, and values that students should walk away with at the end of their program. We have developed a generic survey for you to send out to gather this information.

Download the survey file: Essential Program Learning for Program (QSF) and import the survey file into Qualtrics survey software. The survey requires very brief editing to identify the program or module of focus.

2. Theming Essential Program Learning

Alone or with the same curriculum committee, sort similar ideas into (ideally) 6 to 12 categories. After you have created categories, create headings reflecting the theme of each category. If you worked alone, check in with your curriculum committee on themes. These themes, plus the words below each, form the basis of writing new program learning outcomes.

Video: Writing Program Outcomes Online - Theming Knowledge, Skills, and Values [6 minutes]

3. Write Program Learning Outcomes for One Module

Divide up the themes among the members of your curriculum committee and ask them to write their assigned outcomes.

Use the brief tutorial below as well as the "Quick Guide to Writing Program Learning Outcomes" which includes guidelines, example outcomes, and lists of action verbs.

Video: Writing program learning outcomes online [9 minutes]

4. Review List of Program Learning Outcomes

The complete list of outcomes for the module should describe the essential learning in that program. Put another way, if students completing the program walked away with only the outcomes you have written, would that be enough?

Collect the draft outcomes and share the complete list around along with the "Questions for Reviewing Program Learning Outcomes" (included on page 2 of the Quick Guide to Writing Program Learning Outcomes, and below).

Questions for Reviewing Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Do they accurately describe what a graduate should know, value and be able to do? Are there any specific statements that should be added, consolidated or removed?
  2. Do the action verbs adequately convey an appropriate level of understanding for each learning outcome?
  3. Could multiple audiences (e.g. students, instructors, employers, administrators, across institutions) understand the learning outcomes?
  4. Would the discipline be clear if the statement were read in isolation?
  5. Could you appropriately assess each outcome?

5. Write Program Learning Outcomes for other modules

Once you have program learning outcomes written for the initial module, you will need to write outcomes for other modules in the program.

  • For undergraduate programs this includes Majors, Specializations, and Honours Specializations (but not Minors)
  • For graduate programs, this includes Master's and Doctoral programs, potentially for multiple program names.

6. Align Program Learning Outcomes with Western Degree Outcomes

Program outcomes from all of your undergraduate modules need to be aligned with Western Degree Outcomes. Watch our brief tutorial on how to align learning outcomes with Western Degree Outcomes. Ensure that each Western Degree Outcome is covered by at least one outcome in all of your department's modules.

Video: Aligning Program Learning Outcomes to Western Degree Outcomes [7 minutes]

7. Seek Feedback on Program Learning Outcomes

Send the updated program learning outcomes to the broader list of faculty members, instructors, and staff with a deadline for providing feedback. Some programs have also opted to seek feedback from volunteer students at this time. Provide the Guiding Questions for Reviewing Program Learning Outcomes within your email. You can either:

  • Share a OneDrive or Google Drive folder with each module,


8. Consolidate and incorporate edits

Incorporate edits received by the deadline into the program learning outcomes, alone or with your subcommittee.



If you would like to discuss this topic further, please contact a member of the CTL curriculum team.