Another dot in the blogosphere?

SIO and LO

Posted on: October 30, 2021

The tweeted video clip was an allegory for intended design versus negotiated use. But since I don an educator’s lens, it reminded me of the differences and the overlaps of Specific Instructional Objectives (SIOs) and Learning Outcomes (LOs).

SIOs are what teachers plan to do. They prepare resources and activities for their students to use and participate in. They can see how they intend to teach in their mind’s eye.

But as any good teacher will admit, things do not always go according to plan, especially when the content and experiences are more open or subjective.

LOs are what students actually learn. These are typically measurable or otherwise observable student performances that provide evidence of learning. 

I like to summarise the differences between objectives and outcomes as what the teacher wants to do and what the students end up doing. The SIOs and LOs are represented by the video clip: The SIOs are the slides; the LOs are the kids not using the slides to slide.

The overlap of SIO and LO is that they can align. What a teacher plans should ideally be what the students learn. In the video, the students slide even without the slides. Objective meets outcome.

Progressive educators now focus on LOs because it cuts the SIO formality out. If educators plan for learners and learning, they do so with foresight and empathy. They are then more likely to design and facilitate experiences that achieve stated LOs.

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