Teaching is Designing: Outcomes

Designing and engineering is sometimes referred to as outcome oriented. That is, designers are working to solve a particular problem or create products with particular abilities. Given the proliferation of standards documents and value-added measures, clearly education is working to become outcome oriented. Yet, something is deeply flawed. Unfortunately, many of us feel as though we are designers-for-hire required to meet someone else’s goals and objectives (e.g. the common core, state standards, the textbook, etc). While designers do have to meet external standards, particularly when their design is part of a larger system, they often have loads of autonomy in their designs for added features and functions. Indeed, innovation often happens when designers add new outcomes or features to existing products.

While the state/curricular standards might be a non-negotiable (I’d argue even they are negotiable), what additional outcomes and features would we want as we design an education for our students? For me, beyond the external content standards, I want my students to demonstrate:

  • creativity
  • curiosity
  • compassion
  • critical thinking
  • autonomy
  • collaboration
  • respect
  • awareness
  • goal setting
  • reflection

If we take these outcomes seriously, the education we’re designing is going to look different than the one designed for us. Readings, lectures, worksheets, and multiple choice tests will not achieve these outcomes. Step-by-step labs and overly descriptive rubrics are designed, but lead to very different outcomes.

What are the outcomes (features?) you want to include in the education you’re designing for your students? Once we’ve figure out where we want to go, we can start applying other principles of design to achieve the outcomes.

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This entry was posted in Design, Goals for Students, Nature of technology and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Teaching is Designing: Outcomes

  1. peps says:

    Learning design is indeed outcomes-oriented, but as you hint at later in this piece, the focus of our design is on creating the (learning) experiences that lead to those outcomes. I suggest that we (learning designers) have a lot to learn from the UX community. Also, have you seen this before: http://www.larnacadeclaration.org/


    • jerridkruse says:

      I had not seen that. Thanks! I like the idea of a notation for education, but am not sure words are not enough to convey educational ideas over time. I can definitely see how words fail for music though.

      I’m glad you suggest we have much to learn from UX designers, that is what I am trying to convey in this series. This is only the second post. ;-)


  2. Pingback: Teaching is Design: End User | Teaching as Dynamic

  3. Pingback: Teaching is Design: Material Constraints | Teaching as Dynamic

  4. Pingback: Teaching is Design: Cultural Constraints | Teaching as Dynamic

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