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Course Planning Tip Sheet
Learning Outcome vs. Learning Objective
A learning outcome describes the overall purpose or goal from participation in an
educational activity. Courses should be planned with a measurable learning outcome
in mind. Objectives are used to organize specific topics or individual learning activities
to achieve the overall learning outcome. The learning outcome is identified from the gap
analysis. The learning outcome is a reflection of the desired state.
Current
State
What is
currently
happening?
Desired
State
What
should be
happening?
Identified
Gap
Gap due to
knowledge,
skill and/or
practice
Difference
between
what is and
what
should be.
Why do you
think the
current state
exists? What
is the
underlying or
root cause?
Methods used
to Identify
Professional
Practice Gap
Learning
Outcome
Method of
Evaluation
What evidence
do you have to
validate the
gap exists?
What do you
want
learners to
be able to do
as a result of
participating
in this
activity?
How are you
going to
measure
that
change?
*See page 3 for examples of gap analyses with corresponding learning outcomes and evaluation methods.
Objective: Statements that define the expected goal(s) of an educational activity.
Learning objectives can be used to structure the content of an educational activity.
Objectives may include tasks such as “list”, “discuss” or “state.”
Outcome: A written statement that reflects what the learner will be able to do as a result
of participating in the educational activity. The outcome addresses the educational
needs (knowledge, skills, and/or practices) that contribute to the professional practice
gap and achieving the learning outcome results in narrowing or closing that gap. The
learning outcome can assess the overall impact of multiple objectives.
Learning Outcomes
•
Are measurable and capable of being
assessed
•
Must be based on the desired outcome of
the educational activity
•
Are an outcomes-based approach
•
•
Are Learner-centric
Frame the context for objectives (why is it
important to “list”, “discuss” or “state”
information?)
•
Are explicit descriptions of what a learner
should know, be able to apply and/or be able
to do as a result of participating in the
educational activity
•
Provide measurable evidence of progress in
closing the practice gap
Revised 5/2016
Page 1 of 5
Course Planning Tip Sheet
Learning outcomes connect the identified practice gap with the related
educational need, while objectives are written as tasks:
Learning
Outcome
Learning
Objective
Knowledge: Demonstrate knowledge of evidencebased treatment for hypertensive patients by
passing post-test with score of ≥ 80%.
List 5 side effects of anti-hypertensive agents.
Competence/Skill: Correctly identify required
actions to manage patients in hypertensive crisis by
analyzing a case study.
Discuss risks associated with untreated
hypertension.
Performance: Utilize an evidence-based protocol.
State normal range for blood pressure.
The learning outcome demonstrates the behavior the learner will exhibit at the
conclusion of the educational activity:
Learning
Outcome
Learning
Objective
Knowledge: At conclusion of the educational
activity, participants will self-report knowledge gain
of effective communication styles using a 5 point
Likert scale.
Describe characteristics of effective communication
styles.
Competence/Skill: At conclusion of the educational
activity, participants will self-report an intent to
change practice by applying evidence-based
communication strategies.
List 5 methods of creating a safe environment for
holding a confidential conversation.
Performance: At 6 month post-program evaluation,
participants will self-report using SBAR for safe
patient hand-off communication.
Define the components of the SBAR patient handoff tool.
Revised 5/2016
Page 2 of 5
Course Planning Tip Sheet
Gap Analysis with corresponding Learning Outcome and Evaluation Method
Example 1
Current State
Desired State
Identified Gap
New monitors have
been purchased for
the ICU.
Nurses know how
to set up and use
the monitors
accurately and
safely.
Nurses currently do
not know how to
use the new
monitors.
Gap due to
knowledge, skill
and/or practice
Knowledge- have
not had exposure to
new monitor; do not
know basic features
of monitor system
Skill- don’t know
how to use the new
monitor
Methods used to
Identify
Professional
Practice Gap
The majority of
nurses in the ICU
have no experience
with the new
monitors; new
technology
Learning
Outcome
Method of
Evaluation
Nurses will
successfully
demonstrate
knowledge
related to use
of new
monitoring
system.
Nurses will
pass post-test
with a score of
90% or greater
with content
focused on
safe use of
new
monitoring
system.
Practice- have not
used the new
monitor in patient
care
Revised 5/2016
Page 3 of 5
Course Planning Tip Sheet
Example 2
Current State
Desired State
Identified Gap
Pediatric patients in
respiratory distress
are placed on a
non-rebreather
facemask within 5
minutes of
presentation to the
Emergency
Department 100%
of the time, but
frequently the
facemask is not
applied correctly.
Pediatric patients in
respiratory distress
are placed on a
non-rebreather
facemask applied
correctly within 5
minutes of
presentation to the
Emergency
Department 100%
of the time.
Frequent
inappropriate nonrebreather
facemask
application for
pediatric patients in
respiratory distress.
Gap due to
knowledge, skill
and/or practice
Lack of skill in
correctly applying
facemask to
pediatric patients in
respiratory distress.
Methods used to
Identify
Professional
Practice Gap
Learning
Outcome
Method of
Evaluation
Registered
Nurses in the
Emergency
Department
will apply a
nonrebreather
facemask
correctly to all
pediatric
patients in
respiratory
distress.
Successful
return
demonstration
of application
of a nonrebreather
facemask for
pediatric
patients in
respiratory
distress.
Learning
Outcome
Method of
Evaluation
Registered
nurses will
demonstrate they
know the updated
vaccine
recommendations
for all patients 65
and older
Complete
post-test with
passing rate
of 80% or
greater
Direct observation by
Clinical Nurse
Specialist;
comments from
respiratory therapist
in ED; comments
from ED medical
staff
Example 3
Current State
Desired State
Identified Gap
40% of patients 65
and older in our
community health
clinic are receiving
the pneumococcal
vaccine consistent
with national
guidelines.
100% of patients 65
and older in our
community health
clinic receive the
pneumococcal
vaccine consistent
with national
guidelines.
60% of patients 65
and older in our
community health
clinic are not
receiving the
pneumococcal
vaccine consistent
with national
guidelines.
Revised 5/2016
Gap due to
knowledge, skill
and/or practice
Knowledge –
unaware of
updated
guidelines.
Methods used to
Identify
Professional
Practice Gap
Chart audit; 75% of
nurses report they
are not familiar with
updated national
guidelines and
therefore were not
providing
information about
the vaccine
Page 4 of 5
Course Planning Tip Sheet
Example 4
Current State
Desired State
Identified Gap
Nurses are
unfamiliar with the
process of
scholarly
publication.
Nurses are aware
with the process of
scholarly
publication.
Nurses have not
been educated
about the steps for
manuscript
development and
submission.
Gap due to
knowledge, skill
and/or practice
Knowledge- nurses
do not know the
steps for manuscript
development and
submission.
Skill- nurses do not
know how to submit
a manuscript to a
journal for
publication.
Methods used to
Identify
Professional
Practice Gap
Learning
Outcome
Method of
Evaluation
Needs assessment
showed that 70% of
nurses reported low
levels of knowledge
and confidence with
writing and
publication process;
Number of nursing
publications are
below organizational
target.
Nurses have
increased
knowledge
and
confidence of
the publication
process and
submit
manuscripts
for
publication.
Nurses will
self-report
increased
knowledge
and
confidence of
the publication
process on
post course
evaluation.
References:
1.
2.
3.
2015 ANCC Primary Accreditation Provider Application Manual.
California Board of Registered Nursing, Title 16.
Keating, S. (2011). Curriculum development and evaluation in nursing. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.
Revised 5/2016
Page 5 of 5
Guidelines for Goals and Objectives (10%)
Please use the learning outcomes and objectives folder as a guide for this assignment.
You just received your nursing license, and you are offered your first new graduate position in a
hospital acute care setting. (You may choose any area/unit of interest). The nurse preceptor who
will be working with you asked you to put together goals and objectives that will help her guide
you to be successful as you prepare to transition from a novice nurse to a more independent
registered nurse on the unit.
Assess your own learning needs (weaknesses and strengths) and contribution to a successful
transitioning (20pts)
Develop at least 5 goals and objectives for this new position (20pts)
Each objective must be realistic and measurable (Ex- 10 successful injections in 4 weeks) with
supportive references and plan to accomplish each (20pts)
Demonstrate professional growth in the ability to care for multiple complex care patients (20pts)
Combine nursing theory and research to base your learning process to facilitate, to strategize and
design your own learning experience through planning, implementation, and evaluation. (20pts)

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